In his much-renowned book, “Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination”, Robert Macfarlane wrote:
“Those who travel to mountain tops are half in love with themselves and a half in love with oblivion.”
And indeed, it is the case with most remarkable mountaineers on earth. There is this deep connection with the denser, deeper peace and silence.
One prominent name in the quilt of mountaineering is of Kenton Cool. Being one of Britain’s leading alpine climbers, he has successfully climbed Mount Everest eleven times, including leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes‘ 2008 and 2009 Expeditions. Completing 21 successful expeditions in the Greater Ranges is one rare milestone in any mountaineer’s life. In 2013, he and his climbing partner became the first people to traverse Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single expedition without returning to base camp which in itself is an extraordinary achievement.
Jon Bracey, the Alpine ambassador is yet another name in the list of top five mountaineers. Raised on a cattle farm amidst cold and early morning starts, this man was tended by birth for his upcoming curiosity in mountains. Alaska, Greenland, Scotland… there’s nothing major, yet to be unleashed by him left. Climbing traded paths has never seemed likely to him. He is known for making and establishing several new routes in the above-mentioned regions.
With this art of “clean climbing”, another name that strikes my retinal chords is that of Matt Helliker. As lively as this name seem… There is and always more life in large within a mountaineers name. He was the first ascent of Death or Glory on Huantsan Sur North East Buttress, Peru, Matt was also awarded as the “Second ascent of Babylon (VII/8), Ben Nevis, Scotland” (with a new direct start). Described as “the James Hunt and Niki Lauda of the climbing world”, Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey’s arduous attempt to scale one of Alaska’s most remote peaks has been a subject of
Sometimes difficulty drives hope out of people. Also, some definitions don’t fit everyone. Andy Kirkpatrick has defied all meanings of this term called “Impossible”. This man fondly known as Big Andy is best known for Wall-climbing. Big wall climbing and winter expeditions are his forte. Andy has scaled Yosemite’s El Capitan – one of the hardest walls in America – over twenty-four times, including three solo ascents and a one-day ascent (18h), as well as climbing it with a paraplegic climber, his thirteen-year-old daughter and a blind friend.
Will Sim, 22 is probably the most experienced alpinist of his age. Climbing is always hard, so what makes him different, many might ask. The difference lies in the speed with which he carries himself. Taking a particular interest in big North Faces, he has climbed over 20 Grandes Courses including hard test pieces such as No Siesta on the Grandes Jorasses.
These were few current leads in the mountaineering world, a world where slumber sprawls over the hills and silence screeches aloud amidst few hoppers clinging hard to the surface of rocks as well as to their roots within.