The most famous quote by a mountaineer, which still echoes in the minds of aspiring Britain minds, is undoubtedly the one by George Mallory:
“Because it’s there”
His words came out in response to the question- why do you want to climb the Everest? Who could ever wondered that a man who turned back shortly on his first climb to Mount Velan in the Alps due to altitude sickness would soon ascend the Pillar Rock in Lake district with no assistance , by “Mallory Route”. This route still counts in one of the hardest routes in Britain. It has always been his pet plan to climb gasless.
His first expedition was a failure, second was a tragedy as many porters died. But an extraordinary love of Everest tied him down, steeled his determination for the third final attempt. His third attempt was unfortunately fatal. His body was lost in the arms of Everest for 75 years. His bold and fearless approach has inspired many mountaineers inside and outside UK.
The face of modern British adventure is a look alike of Leo Houlding. A famous alpinist, world class climber and adventurer, he is renowned for his free climbing skills. At the age of 18 , he became the first Briton to free climb EI capitan in Yosemite Valley. He began rock climbing at the age of ten and from that moment itself there was no turning back. Joining the Altitude Everest Expedition in 2007, he retraced the last footsteps of Mallory.
Joe Simpson is best known for his book, “Touching The Void”. His climbing career is overwritten by one life changing experience. Joe Simpson climbed Siula Grande in 1985 with Yates, via the hitherto unclimbed west face. On the descent, Simpson fell through a cornice, breaking his right leg and heel. His mountaineering career was halted and he was advised to retire from this profession. But he retreated back to the mountains after two years.
Simpson’s fellow mate in the most tragic of his climbs, Simon Yates is yet another name in the book of famous UK mountaineers. Taking the criticism for the injury of Simpson, he carried expeditions to Laila Peak and Nemeka in Pakistan and several expeditions to the Cordillera Darwin in Chile. A young fellow, who initially did rope access to support himself financially, went on to climb some of the most difficult peaks of the world.
There is another well known mountaineer who was voted as the Mountaineer’s Mountaineer in a poll in “The Observer”. He with Paul Ramsden won the 2002 Piolet d’Or and Golden Piton award for their ascent of 6,250- meter Mount Siguniang in China. He is Mick Fowler, who also won the King Albert award for his outstanding contribution to mountaineering. He is widely acknowledged for the use of ice-climbing techniques on the soft chalk cliffs of England’s southeast coast.
He is all over the news recently for his yet another first Himalayan ascent. His spirit is undeterred by any existing factor. Seems like there are a lot more paths to be trotted upon by him and lot more stories still waiting to be written in his name.