I Chose to Climb
Sir Chris Bonington
Wednesday, 28 June 2006
2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm The Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong is delighted to welcome Sir Chris Bonington, one of our most popular speakers, to Hong Kong again, on this occasion to lecture on his many of his earlier first ascents and famous expeditions, illustrated as always by his superb photography. Sir Chris started climbing at the age of sixteen, and reached a high standard of rock climbing while in his teens. Sir Chris became an instructor at the Army Outward Bound School and it was during this period that he started climbing in the Alps, making the first British ascent of the South West Pillar of the Drus. He then made the first ascent of the Central Pillar of Freney, Mont Blanc, even now the great classic climb of the Mont Blanc Region. He then made the first British ascent of the notorious North Wall of the Eiger. In the Himalayas, he made the first ascent of Annapurna II (7937m) followed by the first ascent of Nuptse (7879m), the third peak of Everest. This was followed by the amazing first ascents of the Central Tower of Paine, Patagonia and the great rock pillar of the Old Man of Hoy. He had other adventures on assignment with the Daily Telegraph Magazine as an adventure journalist and photographer, including climbing the highest active volcano in the world, Sangay in Ecuador, caribou hunting with Eskimos in Baffin island and the famous descent of the Blue Nile led by Colonel John BlashfordSnell. He decided, however, to return to the mountains and he was leader of the famous, Annapurna South Face Expedition, succeeding in this extraordinary new route. In this era, no major Himalayan wall had been climbed and tackling this huge 12,000 ft wall was a step into the unknown as it involved climbing almost vertical rock and ice at some 25,000 ft. He then made the first ascent of Brammah (6411m) in Kashmir. He was leader of the British South West Face of Everest Expedition, one of his many Everest expeditions. He subsequently made the first ascent of the notorious Ogre (7284m), with Doug Scott. On this famous expedition, on their descent Doug Scott broke both legs and had to crawl for six days assisted by Sir Chris, who had broken his ribs, only to arrive at base camp without any food to find that that the rest of the expedition had left. He then led the British K2 Expedition to the West Face of K2 and then the British Mount Kongur Expedition, making first ascent of Mount Kongur (7700m). Sir Chris Bonington has climbed widely from Greenland to Antarctica since he was sixteen. One of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, he has made many celebrated first ascents, including the Central Pillar of Freney in the Alps, Annapurna II and Nuptse in the Himalayas, The Ogre in the Karakoram, only ever climbed once again despite some 20 attempts, Kongur in Sinkiang and the Central Tower of the Paine in Patagonia. He has made some 26 expeditions to the peaks of central Asia, including twelve first ascents of peaks over 6,000 metres. He is also a highly successful author and broadcaster and has published 15 books, many of them best sellers. He holds innumerable awards and has been President of the Alpine Club and holds numerous other public positions. He has been awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members, HK$150 for Members' guests and HK$200 for others.