wilderness LECTURES

Bonington: Mountaineer.

Chris Bonington CVO, CBE, DL on 20/02/2019 19:30

Adv: £16.00; Door: £17.00; Conc: £15.00

Chemistry Theatre, University of Bristol
Sir Chris Bonington (c) Robert Wilson

Chris, the mountaineer, writer, photographer and lecturer, started climbing at the age of 16 in 1951. It has been his passion ever since. He made the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger and led the expedition that made the first ascent of The South Face of Annapurna, the biggest and most difficult climb in the Himalaya at the time. He went on to lead the successful expedition making the first ascent of the South West Face of Everest in 1975 and then reached the summit of Everest himself in 1985 with a Norwegian expedition. He is still active in the mountains climbing with the same enthusiasm as he had at the beginning. He has written 17 books, fronted numerous television programmes and has lectured to the public and corporate audiences all over the world. He received a knighthood in 1996 for services to mountaineering, was president of the Council for National Parks for 8 years and is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Berghaus.


Chris Bonington approaching the summit of Shivliing in 1983. (c) Jim Fotheringham

This will be an evening with a difference. Sir Chris will introduce Keith Partridge's film Bonington: Mountaineer and then offer himself up to questions from the audience. The film looks retrospectively from Chris' rock climbing days in the UK through to visionary ascents on the high peaks of the Himalaya and shares the remarkable and poignant life of one of the world’s best-known mountaineers. Stories of friendship, love, risk and devastating loss run deep through this intimate journey of one man’s dream. The drive for exploration is echoed in the first British ascent of the north wall of the Eiger, new routes on Mont Blanc, the ascent
of͚ The Old Man of Hoy and then to the greater ranges where he is the first to stand on the virgin summits of Annapurna 2, Nuptse and the Central Tower of Paine, followed by landmark expedition success on the South Face of Annapurna and Everest South West face. In the film he stares toward the Old Man of Hoy, that iconic stack of Orkney sandstone, towering high above the pounding North Atlantic surf, proud yet defiant. To climb it at the age of 80 is an almost crushing prospect and a time to reflect on a lifetime of epic expeditions and first ascents on some of the world’s most challenging mountains. Rain, driven by a relentless wind, hits his face concealing tears of grief and recent events overwhelm him. He remembers being the first to set foot on the top of this pillar of rock, 50 long years ago when he had youth on his side. As both pioneer and adventurer it beckons him again. In
search of catharsis once more, he ponders if he has the strength to stand upon the Old Man just one more time...

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