Cliff Hanging Stories from Renowned Mountaineer
To many people in the world of mountaineering and climbing Simon Yates is known as 'the one who cut the rope'. Simon earned this title after making the agonising decision to cut his climbing partner Joe Simpson free on their 1985 challenge to make the first ascent of extreme peak 'Siula Grande' located in the Peruvian Andes.
When Simon recently visited Lakes College to kick start their series of Mountain Lectures it was clear that the infamous incident almost 30 years ago has not deterred him from climbing and mountaineering.
The British mountaineer and now author has been travelling the world to climb and triumph some of the world’s most remote and arduous peaks. His most recent book 'The Wild Within' is the base of his current tour.
The captive audience at Lakes College listened as he told tales about a very interesting decade of his life. He told exhilarating stories about his most recent expeditions to places such as Tierra del Fuego located at the southernmost tip of South America in the Cordillera Darwin mountain range and pioneering three first ascents in Eastern Greenland. He also recounted his exciting tale of his trip to the Wrangell St Elias ranges in Alaska where his pilot narrowly missed crashing the ski plane.
"We had completed our climb and were just waiting for the pilot to come and collect us in the ski plane, of course we were not ready and he had to wait whilst we packed our gear. The pilot was not a happy man and we soon realised why. The weather started to worsen and flying conditions were more than difficult but that was not the challenge. The first thing we had to do was get airborne but the plane just did not seem to build up speed. Me and fellow climber both knew we were heading for a very sharp drop that seemed to be getting very close very fast and the plane was making all kinds of worrying noises. It was a very nerve-wracking few seconds but thankfully the pilot decided to turn the plane and started the run again, thankfully we made it this time. Once were up in the air and fairly safe into our journey I plucked up the courage to ask the pilot what was the alarm for that subsequently stopped once we were at a safe height, he replied "That would be alarm that tells me the plane is about to stall!"
Simon has also become a family man and this has made him face dilemmas about his career choice. He explained how he juggles his two passions - his family and the pull of the wild unknown. "People often ask me about the most significant point of my life, I can say without a doubt it was the birth of my daughter followed by my son. Having children has changed everything for me, I am deeply conscious of my family when I am away whereas beforehand the risks of mountaineering only affected me. That is not to say that I am stopping I am just more cautious, I have even taken them on treks with me."
Steve Scales of Little Broughton attended the talk with family and friends. He commented, "It has been a very interesting evening, Simon’s tales from his adventures around the world were fascinating. It is unimaginable but admirable when you think about some of the dangers he has faced."
Simon’s lecture was the first of six to take place at Lakes College over the summer months. The next speaker will be acclaimed mountaineer John Porter with special guest Doug Scott CBE. The college is also giving guests the option to attend a 3 course Nepalese themed dinner prior to this lecture.
£5 from each ticket sold for the meal and lecture will be donated to Community Action Nepal (CAN) a UK based charity whose aim is to help the mountain people of Nepal. An auction will also be hosted by Doug Scott and all proceeds from will be donated to the charity.
Tickets for the Meal and Lecture will cost £25.00 or £12.50 for just the lecture.
To book online or find out further details about the meal and other upcoming lectures visit www.lcwc.ac.uk/mountainseries or call 01946 839300.