/ British Pensioner climbs Everest
"It's amazing where you can get with a bus pass these days."
Great line that! ;-)
>>He is the first man to cross both the planet's poles and climb 8,850 metres (29,035ft) to the world's highest peak.<<
A typically cleverly worded piece of PR from the master of them all.
>>He also travelled to the North Pole unaided, along with Dr Mike Stroud<<
And that is simply false.
You've got to hand it to him. He is one determined character.
There is no such work as 'can't' in his vocabularly.
Well done him.
Yeah fair play to the man. I'm sure he aint finished questing yet though!
"Coming back to this country with no expedition on the horizon is a dreadful state of affair". Made me smile and I fully agree.
Another happy client for Kenton as wel.l
Well done to him I say. What an amazing life he's had and hopefully will continue to have.
Be interesting to see how many 'Bitchy, green eyed envy' ( no matter how cleverly disguised ) posts we see regarding his success
You mean like Damiaow?
"A typically cleverly worded piece of PR from the master of them all"
Or bald statement of fact?
I wonder what Fiennes ever did to Damo to make him so upset.
Has too much money probably!
Good on him for coming back after the heart bypass I reckon.
Get over it. The mans a legend
I've don't know of the man at all, but isn't there a contradiction in this sentence? Or did Dr Sroud do the trip unaided on a separate occasion?
> I've don't know of the man at all, but isn't there a contradiction in this sentence?
Eh? The sentence makes sense to me.
> I've don't know of the man at all, but isn't there a contradiction in this sentence? Or did Dr Sroud do the trip unaided on a separate occasion?
I believe he got to the North Pole on the transglobe expedition, which was not unaided as they used skidoos. However, he's never mis-represented his achievements, and if you read the accounts of getting skidoos to the north pole it's pretty epic in itself - cutting miles of track through pressure ridges with axes for a start.
Anyway, top effort from a man who's scared of heights and has a bus pass. Make him Chief Scout, not that big girl Bear Grylls.
Doesn't unaided just mean the expedition was self-sufficient?
Well if he was with someone else he wasn't "unaided", unless they ignored each other for the whole trip and slept, ate, walked apart, then there would have still been a degree of psychological support.
On the OP, the term "adventurer" says it all really. It might be hard work be taken up Everest on an organised trip, but it is hardly an adventure.
Also he didn't do it with Mike Stroud. He and Mike Stroud just crossed the Antartic continent unsupported.
I suppose that must be it, but if so it is misleading to use the term... but reports on professional "adventurers" usually are.
Makes sense to me. I.e. the party of two travelled to the north pole without outside aid. Unaided doesn't mean solo. I don't know much about their trip so not interested in commenting on the accuracy of the claim.
not Replying to Bruce beyond here:
amazing how people will come onto these threades to simply to slate someone for doing soming pretty impressive! I doubt most of the people on these forums could make it up everest guided or not!
Well dont that man!! I wish I had the drive and determination to try the things he has!
Isn't it more a question of money? I just don't see it as an achievement myself these days, that's all. He got away with it, others of his age have tried and died on the mountain, causing inconvenience and leaving body parts for others to deal with... not to mention upsetting their families. What does going round the world backwards with a leek up your bum or any of the other pranks they get up to to attract attention achieve anyway?
I think this is a fantastic achievement and I desperately hope that I'm even a quarter as fit and adventurous by the time I reach 65 (if indeed I do).
On the whole "unsupported" thing, I don't think he actually went to the North Pole with Stroud, though I'm open to correction on that one. The two of them did however trek for 97 days across Antarctica unsupported.
In polar travel unsupported means that they don't have food parcels dropped every fifty miles or so. They didn't have vehicles following alongside carrying all their kit, or into which they could retreat for a bacon butty and a custard slice. It was the two of them, alone, pulling in the region of 400lb sledges for 97 relentless days. Fiennes wrote "Mind over matter" about it on their return, and it's a corker.
I think the plan was to walk across the whole continent unsupported, but if I remember right they didn't make it due to some rather unpleasant injuries. Stroud got frostbite on the end of his tadger for example... They DID make it to the Pole unsupoorted and I think that made them either the first or the fastest, or maybe even both.
Going to find a comfortable toilet seat somewhere and read it again...
> Well if he was with someone else he wasn't "unaided", unless they ignored each other for the whole trip and slept, ate, walked apart, then there would have still been a degree of psychological support.
No in the context of the report I interpret "unaided" to mean that the two of them did it without any support other than their own manpower Eg Food drops, pre-set provision dumps, skidoos, dogs etc
What are you suggesting? Seems to me you think pensioners should sit at home, out of the way, waiting for the end! You are a miserable git.
> Isn't it more a question of money? I just don't see it as an achievement myself these days, that's all.
Geez Bruce get over yourself! If Dave Mac drove to the Lakes and repeated some Birkett test pieces you could say it was a question of money because he needed the time off via his sponsorship and the money to buy gas. Surely some money is involved in RF getting there then it's up to him to summit....you make it sound like he was carried up.
You could debate whether or not it is a cutting edge or a world class achievement but it is still an achievement nonetheless. Your poor choice of words makes you come across as a miserly git......anyway what have you done lately?
> Another happy client for Kenton as wel.l
If I had any criticism of the news stories (only read the Times and BBC so far) i would say it is the lack of reference about the support he has received. Just a sentance about any sherpas and guides involved would provide a bit more context. The uninformed reader might get the impression he climbed it alone.
You forget also his huge achievement in raising over £13 million for the Marie Curie Cancer fund with his various exploits. He is hoping to raise over £3 million for this Everest ascent, and raised £5.6m with his ascent of the Eigerwand with Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell in 2007 - another enormous achievement that no one has mentioned so far on this thread.
> What does going round the world backwards with a leek up your bum or any of the other pranks they get up to to attract attention achieve anyway?
A sh*t load of money for a deserving charity?
The un-nuanced nature of online dialogue means that 'tone' can often be misunderstood - but you come over as a very sour person.
Am just reading his autobiography at the moment - he definitely hasn't made it to the north pole unsupported yet and I get the impression doesn't!
Just read about the Transglobe - awesome!
> If I had any criticism of the news stories (only read the Times and BBC so far) i would say it is the lack of reference about the support he has received. Just a sentance about any sherpas and guides involved would provide a bit more context. The uninformed reader might get the impression he climbed it alone.
The R4 Today piece (the reporter headed up to Camp 2 to sample some of the experience) this morning talked about the Sherpas re-equipping the Khumbu Icefall each year, and there may have even been some words from Kenton Cool in there, or at least a reference to his role.
I don't get it. The bloke has achieved something pretty fantastic by anyone's standards, but even the more so given his age and heart history, yet all some people can do is nit pick about the quality of the initial press report. So to some of you, lighten up and give him credit for climbing Everest, and for his past achievents not to mention the fantastic amount he is raising for charity.
As has been said some of the comments which have been made sound like sour grapes.
He's kept going despite considerable odds. Younger people perhaps don't appreciate that not merely raging against the dying of the light but managing to halt it is quite a big deal. Respect.
Whatever one might think of commercial Everest expeditions, the fact is that Fiennes has absolutely nothing to prove. Just read his book about crossing Antarctica unsupported - makes all the people who bail out in a totally contrived manner at the South Pole look pathetic in comparison....
The man is a God. Would anyome criticise Reinhold Messner is he decided to indulge in an Antactic cruise in his old age?
The comparison with Bear Grylls is irresistible - his "career" has been built on climbing Everest as young man on a commercial trip. He is a joke.
exactly, you've got this right. Of course no one would. Well done Ran.
> What does going round the world backwards with a leek up your bum or any of the other pranks they get up to to attract attention achieve anyway?
you mean apart from the absolutely enormous sums of money he has raised for charity you mean?
He seems like a decent man to me, and hes accomplished some amazing things frankly, especially for his age, including running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents just 3 months (i think) after major heart surgery, again for charity.
Fantastic effort and perseverance, I read his autobiography recently, He's an absolute crazy legend.
Quote Wibble:- "Make him Chief Scout, not that big girl Bear Grylls."
I second that.
The problem with inferring anything from this kind of information is that we have no control data. How do we know that those charitable donations wouldn't have been made anyway? Or similarly, how do we know that money that flowed to Marie Curie hasn't been otherwise diverted from some equally worthy cause? The media attention people like Sir Ran have attained has spawned the ludicrous situation we have now where no-one seems to be able to travel anywhere without spamming their mates with a justgiving.com link. Personally I am looking forward hopefully to the day that someone asks me to sponsor them for staying at home and cancelling their self-indulgent ramble to"Kili"/ Everest Base Camp/ the end of the street.
I gave money to his site this morning on a whim, as will a lot of others. I might have gone through the day not donating, so they're up on the deal.
All sorts of people are out there doing a little bit to help and enjoying it in the process, achieving a personal target and deserve any support we care to give them
> The problem with inferring anything from this kind of information is that we have no control data. How do we know that those charitable donations wouldn't have been made anyway?
well, for one thing, Marie Curie seem pretty grateful, and keen to be involved as the recipients.
That would suggest that the money wouldnt otherwise have been received, would it not?
I agree with your other comment about being spammed by everyone going anywhere with a just giving link, however I hardly think this is the same thing.
Leaving aside the charity thing, the achievement here is remarkable in its own right.
Different ends of the same spectrum. The Sir Ran's dignify the rest.
Even if you take away the hype, the fact that he was guided , he used O2 etc. etc. - it is still a f*cking amazing achievement in book.
> What are you suggesting? Seems to me you think pensioners should sit at home, out of the way, waiting for the end! You are a miserable git.
I am nearly a "pensioner" myself.... although one without a pension, I don't think people should sit at home unless they want to, I certainly don't, but does that imply that absolutely anything is "worthwhile" or "admirable". The same goes for a lot of these "adventures", there was even a Scottish comic, whose name escapes me, who was filmed while dossing around in Greenland, surrounded by cameramen and such like... is this an adventure too?
If he wants to pay his money to be dragged up (or walk up with guides, it's much the same) a mountain whose principal merit is it's height and the number of dead bodies frozen into it then that's his affair, but I don't see as if it's much to crow about.
> Isn't it more a question of money?
Yes, and he is quite open about that, he sees "adventuring" as a job. Its also a jobs that happens to raise large amounts for charity so very worthwhile in that sense.
and if his motivation for raising some of that money is the loss of his mother, wife and sister within that short timeframe then even more kudos to him - I can't imagine clawing my way back to functioning after a loss like that; his determination to raise so much money to help others is an inspiration.
You are a grinch.
Didn't he specifically keep it low key this time because he didn't want the media circus involved.
> As has been said some of the comments which have been made sound like sour grapes.
Sour grapes would imply that I have, or have ever had, any interest in doing things like climbing Everest... I haven't. The circus-like performance required to do this sort of peak never appealed to me, nor my friends; what we were interested in was alpine style climbing, small groups on modest budgets just doing things for the pleasure and assuming the risk... The "climbing" industry didn't exist then, and the world was better for it.
The charity aspect is always brought in but that is a different issue, people here are admiring a climbing "achievement", as are the general public, raising money for charity is a different issue.
The whole notion of "first this or first that", or Guinness book of records performances strikes me as being one of the least attractive aspects of modern life.... No one has to agree, of course, if you think it is all massively important to be the first to go round the world North South, then doing it twice, then with an arm tied behind your back that's your affair - you can then add NW to SE, or NNW to SSW, and the youngest, oldest, fattest, thinnest, best boobs etc. the scope is as endless as it is futile.
Caught this on the news this morning, figured it'd crop up on here somewhere. A few comments:
I'm reminded of the interest generated when RF was guided up the '38 route on the Eiger by Cool and Parnell - many threads on here but probably best illustrated by this one http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=232074&v=1#x3426271 of over 500 posts. Numerous posters whom I had previously held in high regard lost a lot of respect from me (not that they care) following their comments. I fear this occasion will be similar; so far the level of vitriol is much lower than last time and I'm hopeful it will stay that way.
Re. RF's previous achievements. Others have posted references to detailed disseminated information about what he did and did not do, what records were broken, whether it was a 'first' etc. All the information is in the public domain and open to scrutiny. As far as I am aware RF has never lied or attempted to mislead over his exploits. In my opinion people should make up their own minds what RF's exploits constitute, indeed this is exactly what people are doing. It is unfortunate that there appears to be hesitation/inability/unwillingness to question what appears to me to be shoddy journalism - the BBC report that RF 'travelled to the North Pole unaided, along with Dr Mike Stroud, as well as a 97-day trek across Antarctica.' which is incorrect. RF attempted to reach the North Pole with Stroud on several separate expeditions in the late '80s, and again, solo, in 2000. All these attempts failed, for various reasons. He did, however, cross the Antarctic land mass unsupported with Stroud in 1992/93 (though failed to reach the edge of the ice shelf - they stopped when they ran out of food). I interpret 'unaided' to mean no external support, no pre-arranged supply dumps or resupply, and no support teams (this last point is especially important when one considers the claims of the Norwegian Erhling Kagge, RF's principal competition on many an escapade - I don't know all the details but I understand there is certainly room for debate, at least over semantics). I take 'unaided' to roughly correlate to what we as climbers understand to be meant by 'alpine style', in contrast to a siege ascent. One can therefore undertake an 'unaided' endeavor with a partner, or solo, as RF did in Antarctica in 1996 or the Arctic in 2000 (both of which expeditions failed due to kidney stones and an accident leading to frostbite, respectively.)
The sloppy journalism is as I say unfortunate however it pales into insignificance when contrasted with the BBC's and other media coverage of the 2008 OMM. Relative to the furore surrounding that event there is little to quibble over.
Final point. RF may be an explorer; a perpetual adventurer; a self publicist; a promoter of age related issues; a recipient of titles, wealth, and private education; a cad; a bounder; a golfer - or even worse, a top-roper. He may be all these things and more, or none. I don't know, I've never met him. I find his exploits interesting and his photos are nice to look at, his books a good read and his lectures informative, interesting and inspiring, therefore I'll keep attending and buying his books. I don't believe any of it to be the work of fiction (apart from the actual fiction he's written...), so I don't begrudge the way he chooses to earn a living. All of the above is, however totally irrelevant when one considers he's raised over ten million quid for a very worthy charity. I don't care whether he's done it by doing 'pointless' things like crossing continents or playing tiddlywinks and more importantly nor, I suspect, do the recipients of the progress made by the likes of Marie Curie Cancer and the BHF. While I accpet that it is important to have a yardstick to compare RF's 'contributions' to, the claim that the money would have been pledged anyway sounds a lot like an attempt to denigrate an impressive achievement, and for what?
That's a long post, back to work for me...
What has he ever explored? I mean what areas unknown to man has he travelled in for the first time, bringing back information hitherto unknown?
He has, apparently, exposed himself to hardship and danger even, voluntarily and for motives which may be worthwhile, and might even be a "nice bloke" on a personal level but is that the same as being an explorer, like Livingstone, Speke, or Watkins even.
Last point, for the person who compared him to Messner, there's absolutely no similarity between the climbing achievements of the two men... Messner broke new ground on a scale that makes him probably unique, even his fans can't say that of Fiennes.
Fiennes' achievements in the polar regions are easily the equal of Messner's in the mountains.
Stop being such a green-eyed tool.
Bruce - Messner's crossing of the Antarctic was supported with resupply and Fiennes was unsupported. Clearly the reverse (and more) is true of their climbing exploits. Fiennes has never claimed to the a 'climber' and I think the comparison of the two operating in their own sphere is a valid one.
> Fiennes' achievements in the polar regions are easily the equal of Messner's in the mountains.
Sorry, I can't agree here.
> Stop being such a green-eyed tool
Why would I be envious of him? Are you? I'm not envious of people who are more capable than me... and even less so concerning people who seem more interested in self glorification than anything else.
The question posed was whether we should admire this as an achievement, my reply is that perhaps for him it is a personal achievement because he has tried Everest before but I don't think it is admirable in absolute terms.
I didn't write that. I just wrote that we don't know. There is no data, as far as I know. But it is a perfectly rational hypothesis that there's a stable flow of money to charity each year and that one person's effort to divert it to "their" cause simply offsets the flow somewhere else. In an ideal world we would perhaps all sit down for a day or so at the beginning of the year and consider whether we have money that we will be able to to give away over the year and where best we think it could it be used (Marie Curie vs Cancer Research perhaps). Then implement that as the year proceeds. Instead people give arbitrarily in response to a famous old man going on holiday to Nepal. It doesn't make much sense.
As to "impressive achievement", could I recommend reading "Chomolungma Sings the Blues" to anyone who really thinks this worn-out mountain needs any more publicity.
A mate of mine was involved in a near fatal car accident and ended up in a spinal injuries unit about 150miles away from his home, for best part of a year. The days before his accident he was finishing off reading one of Mr Fiennes’s books.
I enquired about getting a book signing for my mate as a way to cheer him up...
Anyway, next thing I know my mate texts me out of the blue from hospital to say he’s received a signed book from him. RF also left a small personal inspirational message in the book (with reference to learning to walk again), rather than a simple “get well soon”.
Never mind any of his achievements either in the adventure world or with his charity work, the man is a top bloke in my book.
Awesome, go on the man - as for people whinging about the publicity and wording of his conquests, all the great explorers that we speak of today publicised their adventures (and probably elaborated a bit) today which inspired people to go off and do even greater things.
I doubt all the people who paid to climb Everest and failed would agree. Even on guided expeditions you've still got to get your b*tt up there and many people fail despite all the helpthey pay for. He hasn't claimed to have put up a new route, just achieved something that most people never will, and raised a lot of maney for charity in the process.
Well done that man, is what I say.
and at 65 years old, all the stuff he's done in his life he's lucky to be alive
His courage in re-attempting any 8,000+ metre peak at 65, given his recent cardiovascular history, and the fact that his last heart attack happened at altitude is remarkable. He should be signed up as some kind of cardiac rehab poster-child at the very least.
And would I be right in thinking he's minus some of his digits these days? He's certainly had a life!
When he was on top gear, he came across as one of the most genuine, self effacing people on the planet. unlike Mr hooker who just comes across as a jealous tosser.
> What has he ever explored? I mean what areas unknown to man has he travelled in for the first time, bringing back information hitherto unknown?
In 1970 he made the first descent of a glacier in Norway - I forget the correct name/spelling but if memory serves it was the Briksdalsbre? (others may correct me), partly as an expedition in its own right but also to conduct survey work for the Norwegian Hydrological Survey. I don't know for definate if it was hitherto completely untrodden (although I suspect it was), but it was the first descent and had yet to be surveyed at the time.
Again, if memory serves he's made it to the south pole twice, once as part of Transglobe and once unsupported with Stroud. On at least one of these occasions (and possibly on both, can't remember off the top of my head), part of the journey was through unchartered territory where no one had been before. There may be others but these are the main ones which spring to mind.
Re. bringing back information hitherto unknown, many of his expeditions incorporated scientific research. See above re Norwegian Hydrological Survey. The Benjamin Bowring (the Transglobe ship) was involved in marine research during the expedition. His wife Ginny was involved in telecommunications research in her role as (amongst other things) radio operator during his travels. Discovering Ubar, the 'Atlantis of the Sands' was an archaelogically (sp?) important find.
You're not the first person to question the scientific importance of his expeditions. He took Private Eye to court for doing just that in the mid nineties, and won. During the hearing Stroud gave evidence as to the importance of the physiological work conducted during their unsupported crossing of Antarctica.
I accept that he may not be able to claim the same podium level as those mentioned above (had he lived in a different era with more unexplored areas to explore he may, but he's lived in the late twentieth century/early twenty first so this is a moot point). He did not choose the title of 'world's greatest living explorer', it was awarded to him by the Guinness Book of Records. It does not seem unfair to me to use the words 'explorer' and 'adventurer' to describe him. He's done things which were firsts, which people said could not be done, and played a role in advancing not only geographical knowledge but also scientific understanding.
I point well made
A point well made (pardon the typo)
As an example, meet Carlos Soria. Ever heard of him? No, i thought so.
Well, this humble guy have just done the first ascent of Dome Kang (7000m+) via a route he compares to the north face of the Matterhorn in difficulty, without sherpas 'because they couldn't afford them', after getting back down is now heading to G1.
And what's special of this? He's 70 years old.
He climbed Makalu last year without 02, K2 at 65, Cho-oyu, Everest, G2, Manaslu, and a long list of routes he climbed over 60 years. Only ever used 02 on Everst and K2!
Impressive? Well if you google his name you hardly get any hits.
Very admirable and definately someone to be inspired by.
but all that PR Helped to raise nearly £10m for charity.
That is very admirable as well, but i can't help thinking that all the money spent in the 3 attempts he had could be better spent by the charities themselves.
Ah but he's not the only one creating an image, big companies have to advertise and what better way than supporting a charity and sponsoring a Great British institution/icon and raising the profile of both at the same time. mutually beneficial.
I do agree but the amount raised probably vastly outweighed the actual cost, but, i can't see how it is profitable for smaller events that charities to run some of the everest base camp walks/great wall of china walks
I used to think that way about charity type challenges and events, but thinking about the subject for a while I came to the following conclusion:
No big event or challenge = nothing to publicise = no interest from the public = next to no money raised.
I’d be certain RF raised more for charity in this little jolly up that easy hill Everest, than you or me will in our entire lives...
if you want to criticise how much or how little he’s raised for charity, would you care to say how much charity work you do?
What has this to do with the person in question?
I'd be happy to be taken up Everest or any other mountain all-expenses paid in the name of charity. Any takers?
Mr Anonymous, I'm going to Alaska on Tuesday. Can you give me £1000 to cover the costs plus another £1000 for charity? Send me an e-mail and i'll give you my bank account details.
Thank you very much indeed for your offer.
P.s. I give change to junkies and buskers, plus the odd cigarette. Does it count as charity?
Amazing effort. He is a complete hero, and the amount of money he raises for charity is even better.
Im not going to re-repeat all the previous arguments especialy the very well made points by ic.
Why do you take issue with this?
Why always this sort of comparison? Why would anyone in their right mind want to climb Everest in the present conditions anyway? It's not a question of courage, fitness or ability, which may be lacking if that makes you feel better to think it, it's a simple matter of choice. Why do you all assume that there everybody can see interest in doing this vertical rubbish dump, or spend weeks trudging through the snow at the poles? With a skidoo in reserve and a telephone if this ever became required.
Everyone has to earn their crust, and his choice is no worse than many others, but why do we all have to follow the tabloids? There are still real adventures to be had, for those who feel the need, but they are not necessarily this sort of record breaking. A better example, for those who need heroes, would be someone like Hillary... he knew when to stop climbing and do his bit to help the people who made all this transporting of "adventurers" up the Himalayas possible.
An asides from the 'great debate' about ethics he's one more positive icon that kids have looked upto, can look upto and hopefully his legacy will inspire people for years to come rather than the majority of the feckless idiots that parade as role models today. it might make someone up the anty and achieve greater things to come.
Hillary was RF hero, you should read Mad, Bad and Dangerous.
By your definition I am an explorer too for going to places and walking up and down glaciers and mountains where no one had been before! But I'm not, I'm just someone who had a bit of fun climbing. He's a showman, a good one if you like that sort of thing, it's his living. Good luck to him but when he's compared to people like Messner, or called the world's greatest explorer it's bullshit.
Each to his own view of such things though, he's not the first and won't be the last.
Earlier in the thread you asked: 'What has he ever explored? I mean what areas unknown to man has he travelled in for the first time, bringing back information hitherto unknown?', a question to which I replied with specific examples by way of an answer. Forgive me if I misinterpreted you, but it would appear by the way you worded the question that your definition of 'explorer' and mine are not so different. As I said before, it is questionable to put RF up there with the likes of Livingstone, Magellan etc, but in my opinion the description is still valid.
We appear to be getting bogged down in semantics here but if you have a significantly different definition of 'explorer' could you please explain it? Cambridge says this: 'explorer: noun [C]
someone who travels to places where no one has ever been in order to find out what is there' http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=27122&dict=CALD
This seems adequate to describe the exploits of both RF and yourself; the difference lies in degree not in type. I see no conflict in regarding both with respect.
If you want to look up to this man who has done nothing that can really be likened to exploration, even by your definition, then that's up to you... but I remind you that the subect of this thread his "achievement" is being guided up Everest by the ordinary route on the third attempt! As far as I can make out the principle "merit" is that he has a weak heart, and this is supposed to be something to applaud? Thousands of other people in the world have done far more than him in terms of "exploits", which is all they are, and pretty artificial ones at that, but he is a professional writer, lecturer and makes his living by exaggeration and blowing his own trumpet.
I suppose society has the "heroes" it merits, and he is every bit a a "hero of today's world"... If he'd had another heart attack near the top he would now be just another silly old fool who didn't know when to stop, and if someone had been killed getting his body down he would be in the pillory. Not long ago there was someone who was building himself up to be the youngest to climb Everest, IIRC, a while later he was killed in an climbing accident... What sense there is on all this "seeking out challenges" I really don't see, but if you do then that's fine by me.
I think even Messner would be impressed with RF's cv, wouldn't he?
PS. I just had a look at his biography and this confirms what I said before... here's your Norway glacier expedition... It's a national park BTW. To quote the web site:
"Jostedalsbreen has long been regarded as an attractive area for walkers and hikers. Skiing the length of the glacier has become popular in recent years. Without specialist knowledge and proper equipment, however, walking or skiing on the glacier is highly dangerous."
And on most of his polar trips it seems he has had to be rescued... a man of our times, I suppose.
His biography on wikipedia can be found here:
Last post of the day, I'm going climbing.
I disagree he has 'done nothing that can be likened to exploration' for the reasons I have already posted above, I'm not going to repeat myself. You are correct, the subject of this thread is RF's guided ascent of Everest, although we diverted to closer scrutiny of RF's character, motivations and prior activity. The principle "merit" is not that he is 65, has a weak heart or it was his third attempt, noteworthy as these points are (as a slight aside, ascents of 8a sport routes by British teenagers regularly make the headlines on here and are rightly applauded, despite being nothing new on an international stage - they are newsworthy on a British level, so why not RF being the oldest Brit to summit Everest? But I digress). The merit is the fact he's raised millions for charity.
Again you are correct that there are many others who have performed significant exploits (although I think there are few - some, but not 'thousands' - who may claim to be on a par with RF), but fewer still who have done so and raised the kind of money for charity that RF has. You are correct, the exploits alone have little intrinsic value (save for the scientific research, again outlined in previous posts), certainly no more than doing a new boulder problem or playing a round of golf, so where's the problem in generating a bob or two along the way for a good cause?
There is little 'sense in seeking out challenges' yet we all do it - this is a climbing website after all - so surely as climbers we can appreciate the attraction of a challenge (if not the specific challenge of Everest, contentious as it is, then at least a generic 'challenge')?
I disagree with the challenge notion... I think it is a poor way of looking at life. As for British teenagers being in the headlines then that is another aspect of the same bullshit culture.
Have you read his bio? The reality looks more like someone being born with a silver spoon in his mouth who tries to liven his life up, and make a career out of it. Most expeditions tag a "scientific objective" to their blurb, but it's usually just an excuse to get a bit of financial support. As the glacier that you were impressed by is a popular national park on a line between Bergen and Oslo it seems rather unlikely that the area, and it's scientific interest, was totally unknown to the Norwegian and Swedish governments, or the tourist companies that organise hiking trip in the park.
I have heard lots of stories which indicate that he is bloody fit for any age and incredibly determined so fair play to him but it's not some kind of milestone in climbing.
It's a fine achievement for an old git like him and an example to anyone who feels 65 is time for pipe and slippers. I hope I can still get up Ben Nevis when I'm 65 never mind Chomolunga !
I can't resist saying though. The man is a raving reactionary and something of an upper class relic of bygone days.
I can't see Ranulph Twistelton-Wyckham Fiennes having the opportunities he's had if his Dad had been a Bin man. Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth has always opened doors.
A lot of Brits like toffs, it's inbred.
Safe oot, safe hame Oscar:)
> A lot of Brits like toffs, it's inbred.>>
Well there's a lot of hat doffing on here !
Actually Fiennes is a member of that strange bunch of right wing loons 'The Freedom Assoc' Chair Norris McWhirter...nuff said !
can't see Ranulph Twistelton-Wyckham Fiennes having the opportunities he's had if his Dad had been a Bin man. Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth has always opened doors.
Did he amputate his own digits before or after those doors were opened? Was that why he had to hold the spoon in his mouth?
> Did he amputate his own digits before or after those doors were opened? Was that why he had to hold the spoon in his mouth?>>>
Not sure what your point is ? Bravery and pain tolerance is not a class issue. Opportunity is.
Well done Sir!
Well well, this post certainly grew!
My initial comments in the third post were not much more than a chuckle at The Fiennes Show and noting some typically poor reporting by the mainstream press (of which Fiennes really should have better management after all these years, but ...)
Good on Fiennes for climbing Everest at 65. Hope I'd still be up to it then.
Fantastic that he raises so much money for charity. If all that is quoted about that is true, the amounts etc that they actually receive, then that is truly awesome. Most 'charity' climbs are far from this admirable, but this is an exception and is to be admired and applauded.
Fiennes Transglobe exped was a truly impressive feat of logistics and very adventurous, in any terms. Technically they probably didn't 'explore' any new ground, but so what? For its time, an incredible trip. It is this trip that Fiennes uses in the OP initial claim of 'cross both poles'. Unfortunately such claims now will be compared by the mainstream media to those of others, who have done such trips on foot, perhaps with little outside support (Gjeldnes etc). Of course these are much harder and Fiennes has not done one, he used snowmobiles for his success at the Poles.
Before Fiennes and Stroud set off to 'cross Antarctica' in 1992 they made a BIG deal about starting from the outisde of Berkner Island, not the inside, and not the inside of the ice shelves. The ice shelves have traditionally (until about 10 years ago) been considered part of the continent, so to cross the continent you have to cross them. F&S accepted this, as did most polar adventurers of that time (Ousland etc). F&S took kites that they had practiced with wore ridiculous Koflach plastic boots that are horrible to walk in even for a day, let alone 100. These were bad decisions, recognised as such at the time by others but F&S persisted, much as Scott did years before. This actually says a lot about Fiennes approach to polar trips, most of it laughably bad. In the years just before F&S trip the Mordre brothers had crossed Antarctica using dogs on the first bit and kites on the second, with their home-made boots. All very efficient. Then Messner and Fuchs went a step further (in the Mordre's boots) and hauled and kited a similar crossing, but with a closer start and a food dump at the Pole - actually a very impressive trip for the time.
When F&S reached the bottom of the Beardmore they were still many hundreds of km from the end - 'their' stylistic end, the US/NZ base, and any kind of logistical end. But they were knackered, understandably, dead on their feet. They couldn't go on and needed to be rescued. You really think this is 'unsupported'? Their radio calls are legend at Scott Base, crying into the phone etc. But what really galled most people is their claims of success when they got back. An absurdly shameful shifting of the goalposts from their original 'ethics' to one that now suited their obvious failure. This is not admirable, this is rubbish. So their claims to have 'crossed the Antarctic continent' are weasel words to say they crossed the land bits, knowing full well they failed to actually 'cross Antarctica'. Hence my comment at the start about carefully worded press releases.
Since then every polar trip of Fiennes has been a failure. He did not reach the SPole on a solo attempt, needed rescue. He failed to reach the NPole with Stroud, needed rescue. We all fail, particularly when we try hard things. But we don't all try to pass them off as success and accept public plaudits for achievement when we have so clearly failed so much. Dozens of people have completed the trips that Fiennes failed to do, with relatively little fanfare.
The Emperor Has No Clothes.
Fiennes is a legend - of media and PR, inspiring a generation of 'adventurers' that we see now.
Fiennes as an explorer, as a competent and successful polar traveller who has done great things - is a sham. He's not fit to pack Rune Gjeldnes' sled.
And he had an assistant do a lot of the work on his dubious 'Scott' book, though Messner doesn't write his own books either, so make of that what you will. To compare Fiennes polar 'achievements' with Messner's mountain achievements is hilarious (thanks for that one :-)
Some people seem to think that my initial comment was the 'wrong' type of comment and that only praise should be offered. This is the internet. Fiennes puts himself out there deliberately with publicity. People who want to control what is said by other adults on an essentially public forum so that only nice comments they agree with are posted need to grow up and share. It is not for them to dictate the opinions of others. Particularly if they cannot refute points with fact rather than empty platitudes.
I'm glad you took time to elaborate on your original post Damo. As always a very informative read, Thanks.
> No big event or challenge = nothing to publicise = no interest from the public = next to no money raised.
That's your theory and most other people's assumption too. But is it true? Serious lump-sum donations to charity come from many sources, many of which are not spontaneous and event-driven: bequests in people's wills at death, structured corporate giving, philanthropy programs from wealthy family foundations, etc Meanwhile as someone else said in this thread, event-driven charity raising involves plenty of "frictional" costs: trucking Fiennes and Kenton and their entourage around, the inevitable film crews, etc.
I think Ran Fiennes is probably "one of us", if not actually a climber, and deserves respect for living an interesting life without surrendering to office-enslavement or the like. But I respect someone like Kenton or any other committed lifer climber, who are not in the public eye, for the same sort of reasons.
A self-employed friend of mine once said “you often need to spend money to make money”.
I’m pretty sure if a charity has to pay some of the cost of a expedition, they’d do so in a shot if they realistically thought they’d be getting a few million quid in return.
If you can generate a few million pounds for charity (or have a track record doing so), there will be charities queuing up to pay your 2 grand. Even if you want to scale it down a bit to something more realistic, say £20k?, then you’d probably still get some charity interested.
I changed my job in order to pay for nice expensive trips away, no-one benefits from my trip way other than me.
RF and others like him also have their expensive self-indulgent trips away, but unlike you or me, they give a nice fat cheque to a charity as well – what exactly is the problem with that?
Cheers for that Damo. Best post I've read on here in a while. As usual, you talk perfect sense.
Jealousy. pure and simple.
I'd be interested in your opinion of Chris Bonington.
> If you can generate a few million pounds for charity (or have a track record doing so), there will be charities queuing up to pay your 2 grand. Even if you want to scale it down a bit to something more realistic, say £20k?, then you’d probably still get some charity interested.
Exactly, this is no different to the free place to Kili if you raise X amount, the free place & gift in the X Marathon, free flight to run the new york marathon. Charity is a business and a well paid full time occupation for many. You just need to sort out those that don't waste the money on admin before you donate.
At the end of the day, he has gained something personally out of it, in terms of personal achievement and the charity has more money. Win win. Not to mention the money that was paid to the entourage (guides, crew, local sherpas, porters .....)
> Jealousy. pure and simple.
Did you bother reading Damo`s post above ? If so, any comment ?
I think it's noticeable that the most fawning of the Fiennes cult are UKC's usual suspects. It's boy scout element.
My point is,hats off to Fiennes for keeping on trucking at 65 and setting a positive example...'Do not go gentle into that good night ' and all that jazz.
Jealous ? Probably. Not all of us have had the opportunities afforded to the likes of Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham Fiennes, 3rd Baronet.
At least he's not screwing us for floating duck houses or moat dredging !
Some detail you missed off your description of the "cross Antarctica" 1992 trip.
During the 1992 Pentland South pole Expedition Fiennes & Stroud pulled all their food and equipment for the longest distance (1350 miles) ever achieved in a polar region and raised £3m for charity - clearly a total failure. If they had walked the extra 100 miles to the edge of the ice shelf they would have probably died that was the reason they asked to be picked up early. Note that I say picked up early. That you think this makes the 1350 miles that they walked on their own aided is ridiculous. What would have been accessible to you for them to have maintained the unsupported description if had they had made it to the edge of the ice shelf ? Should they swim to Australia or would you have let them be picked up by plain ?
> Jealousy. pure and simple.
Once again, why on earth would any one be jealous of him? Have you read his bio on wikipedia? The reality is not exactly inspiring, and certainly none of what he has done would have appealed to me when younger, nor now.
Interesting you're not inspired by somebody who at 65 is still climbing stuff that people half that age would struggle with. May be Everest doesn't float your boat but it is still an indication of what we can aspire to in our retirement.
No, I 'missed' no detail. I deliberately ignored irrelevancies.
100 miles? Try 600km. But don't let the facts get in the way, eh?
They did not complete they journey they said they were going to do. They stopped part of the way along that journey and needed a rescue. That is 'support' however you define it. Their journey was supported - in the technical expedition sense - because they needed assistance before the end. Had they reached the end of their planned journey they would not have been in any danger, would not have needed rescue and could have departed the continent in any one of three ways - ship, ANI or US/NZ.
After clearly failing to do what they said they were going to do (after much hubristic posturing about the alleged superiority of their route's start/finish, in the process denigrating the feats of others) they then claimed to have been successful by the very parameters that they had so recently derided. To build a 'career' on such shameless hypocrisy and spin is pathetic.
Money raised for charity is great, if in fact that amount, or close to it, is profit for the charity. But that is irrelevant to the logistical / technical merit, or lack thereof, of the expedition and its members. I clearly stated above that I admire whatever he brings to charities. I do not admire his incompetence and blatant lack of integrity in the field in which so many seem to think he is supreme, due to nothing more than ignorance and media hype. It is unfortunate for you that you are unable, or unwilling, to understand that distinction.
yes I have
>The reality is not exactly inspiring,
on the contrary, the fact that he picks himself up and has another go is a mindset I find very inspiring. i assume you tend to give up on something if you fail the first time round.
The point I am making is tell ALL the facts not just the ones that support your spin on the discussion and let others decide for themselves on the merit. I personally think that although they failed in their stated aim they still achieved something fairly extraordinary both in terms of the distance they covered before they were picked up and the amount of money raised for charity. It is common knowledge that they did not get to the edge of the ice shelf so people are free to judge for themselves if the expedition was a success. They obviously think that the expedition was a success. If I had done what they had done I would probably have the same opinion.
Bah, I'm angry now. I'm going back to work and dreaming about living my life as an explorer rather than some damn fool office worker. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a damn better person than I'll ever be, I know that much.
> I think even Messner would be impressed with RF's cv, wouldn't he?
Well done for the dumbest comment on a climbing thread made today.
> Well done for the dumbest comment on a climbing thread made today.
It was made yesterday. Now who's dumb?
Sometimes Bruce I think you deserve the benefit of the doubt. That you are a genuinely nice guy and that you only adopt this persona behind your computer screen. Other times I think you just need putting out of your misery. Jealousy or just simply the need to denigrate other peoples achievements. Which is it this time?
his eiger climb blew me away,
everest wise I've been close enough to understand misgivings my particular one is how many sherpas die doing a job suffienciently dangerous in the western world that is would be almost un insurable
Does an an overblown media monster need denigrating?
The man is a complete fraud, a professional non-explorer a bit like Nicolas Hulot... at least he hasn't had a go at politics. By presenting his efforts as genuine achievements he is cutting the finance from so many other more legitimate expeditions... Just making yourself suffer has little real merit.
Can't you see that? There is a good post just above by someone who seems to know the person better than I do (Damo), or just read his bio on wiki... it stands out a mile that he's a poser... Being daft enough to cut his own fingers off with a saw (not in the wild, at home) is presented by some as a sign of a hero! I can't believ you can really fall for such nonsense.
You really are very bitter Bruce. Is there NO joy in your life? As for grants, personally I don't see why ANYONE should have their holidays paid for, I've always paid for mine, but that's another issue. And 'stupid' enough to cut his fingers off? -Tommy Caldwell did the same thing. I don't think he's particularly stupid, but then you probably don't know who he is as you've no idea... oh I really can't be bothered.
Bloody hell, turn my back on UKC for three whole days and... plus ca change!
Why do you assume that people who don't agree with you are bitter? I'm not at all bitter, I can't afford to be at present, but a pillock is a pillock, and this bloke is clearly one... just a series of organised "adventures" and daft records... Tell me what possible merit is there in going around the world North/South, except as an excuse to drum up money by flogging it to the naive? He is clearly fit for his age and has imposed a fair bit of suffering on his body, but does that make him a hero?
There are many real heroes, most of whom we never hear about. They go about their life doing their duty and that is enough reward for them... unlike this modern day "Custer of the Antarctic", who is not even very honest about his exploits... presenting his trip on a popular glacier in Norway as something special, for example.
I suppose it's a bit like people who bolt the mountains really, it looks like mountaineering from afar but isn't when you get in close.... The world be live in; MacDonalds, plastic heroes, Disneyland (plenty of syrupy smiling there, little bitterness) and Central Parks, and the highest mountain on the planet converted into a rubbish dump by the commerce of modern "mountaineers".
Each to his own but I prefer my world.
Tell me what possible merit is there in going around the world North/South
Christ. I've just realised - climbing? What's the point?
> Christ. I've just realised - climbing? What's the point?
There is absolutely none, it's just a hobby done for pleasure, that's the point.
I think he has more in common with many of us than some realise. A love of the outdoors, adventure and pushing your limits. Completing 6 or 7 marathons in consecutive days after having had a heart attack is impressive whoever you are. He has a tenacity to admire and he has also raised millions for charity. We each have our own opinions, that does not mean we are right or wrong. Myself, I admire him, he has got balls, tenacity in our society where most people can't be arsed. Life is an adventure and he has had a good time.
Didn't think it would take long for you to bring up bolts. Did he bolt Everest? Did he use chalk on the Eiger? Have I missed something?
> Didn't think it would take long for you to bring up bolts. Did he bolt Everest? Did he use chalk on the Eiger? Have I missed something?
No, he used a guide, ooops.
A very good one at that, like most of the otheres on Everest. Hats off to him, I couldn't do it.
In all honesty, what's not to admire?
When I lived with my parents and some "celebrity" would come on the telly, one of those media created people who make a living out of chat shows or whatever and sometimes get involved in a scandal, my mother would often say "They're so rotten to criticize so and so, she may have been a bit naughty here but she's done a wonderful amount of work for charity!"
I didn't agree with her then either. The two aspects can be separated.
The "bling bling" culture, false people, false events, false challenges, false world.
As I sit here at the keyboard the Everest season draws to a close. All I can say is thank God I managed to avoid debasing myself on that circus of fools and gadabouts for another year. Another year of glory on polished shit and obscure rocks the size of a Fiesta awaits. I am pure in myself.
> When I lived with my parents and some "celebrity" would come on the telly, one of those media created people who make a living out of chat shows or whatever and sometimes get involved in a scandal,
Name names, Bruce... This is far more interesting than listening to your rants!
None of us can chose our backgrounds. For your argument to be worth considering, you'd have to show us that given his, Fiennes has in some way acted badly. It seems to me that, all things considered, he has acted rather well in life, despite (the shame!) failing to cross the Ross Ice Shelf when half dead.
This is the true meaning of of inverse snobbery. It would be terrible to suggest that someone who climbed Everest was rubbish BECAUSE he came from a deprived background. So why be so bitter - yes, it's the only word that describes what you've been saying - about Fiennes?
> As I sit here at the keyboard the Everest season draws to a close. All I can say is thank God I managed to avoid debasing myself on that circus of fools and gadabouts for another year. Another year of glory on polished shit and obscure rocks the size of a Fiesta awaits. I am pure in myself.>>
Ahh yes...The classic Norwegian Ironic deprecation strategy developed by Dr Karl Winkler in 1933. Clever riposte !
It wasn't this at all, it started by my saying he wasn't my idea of a hero, then Damo gave us the low down on him, I checked out his biography and the reality of it all and realised what a plastic hero he was... It's not really because of his origins for me. I'd never heard of him until this thread.
I'm not criticising him for climbing Everest, although I would say that the whole commercial expedition circus is a nauseous commercial sham that panders to profit and the vanity of those who treat mountains as a consumer product, but in taking part in it he is no worse than the others. From what I have read, and the fan mail posts here, he represents all that I dislike in modern climbing/adventuring... along with bolts, chalk and climbing walls, of course :-)
No Bruce, I think you've been in France too long and adopted the "Off with their heads" policy that started the French Revolution, the same revolution that they are still living today.
You've no idea what Fiennes is like and although I've not met him personally, I have meet others who've spent some time with him and feel they've gained from the experience.
If you have a wiki page Bruce can perform a 10minute "fame or failure" audit for you
I just Googled Bruce Hooker and out of 1 970 000 hits, our own Brucie came up first. Wow.
(hands on face,open mouthed) OMG LOL
I did that but there all links to UKC
Yeah, I was thinking the same – referring to someone as “an overblown media monster”, then later claiming they’ve never heard of them before this thread.
How long does it take to read his bio? Then check out what he has done? Then read all the posts about how he sawed his fingers off and went running (with good press coverage) after a heart attack as proof of his hero status to make an opinion of the dishonest plonker?
Just read damo's post, I think he knows him better than I do, do you groupies all claim that he's got it wrong? Or check out the truth of the Norwegian glacier trip (a popular outing for locals it turns out!) Do you really take tabloid heroes at face value? Or are you all into the commercial climbing/guiding/course scene and feel I'm attacking you?
PS. He's not in the news abroad and when I'm in GB I don't read the Sun or the Mirror.
Mail or the Express?
> Mail or the Express?
No, I'm on holiday, I don't bother with papers.
why do you post on here if your on holiday, you should be out getting the sun and having an ice cream
I'm not on holiday at present, I'm at home in France.
so your on a perminant holiday
> Well done for the dumbest comment on a climbing thread made today.
Note my comment was a question, not a statement declaring Messner WOULD be impressed by RF (however, I'll admit the wording would lead you to think I believed that would be the case, so well done you for reacting so predictably). I don't imagine he would be staggered by RF's cv to be honest, but I believe there may be a chance he would nod his head in appreciation of his charitable achievements, whilst you seem to think that would be dumb.
Are you only impressed with people who do things you can't or haven't been able to do yet? Or can you be impressed with others' achievements relative to themselves and/or others? For example, one of my friends completed a 1 mile run for charity recently. As they have never run that far before (yes, it's true!) and managed to motivate themselves, I was impressed.
You sir, are an unimpressed scrooge.
You don’t get it at all, do you?
Even the biggest ‘fan’ of RF probably doesn’t aspire to pulling a 500kg sled to the South Pole, but they do have huge respect for him because they appreciate the fitness, determination and balls it requires to do this.
The man has fitness, determination and balls; ‘failure’ or not, guided or not, media spin or not, dodgy ethics or not - he’s demonstrated this time and time again.
As a mountaineer, I look up to anyone prepared to get off their backside and show this level of fitness, determination and balls, mountaineering or otherwise. You might not view these qualities as admirable, but I do.
I’ve met and had dealings with RF on two occasions (different business), my opinion of him is based on that and other people who’ve known him personally, not a few days of searching the internet for stories that will back up a preconceived opinion he’s a “complete fraud”.
When I’m 65, I’d far rather be out there climbing the North face of the Eiger and 8000m peaks, than being some bitter old fool sat at home posting on UKC!
I went to one of RF's lectures in London and it was the best £6 i ever spent, that guy can talk and i was on the edge of my seat for an hour and a half. He offered great inspiration and advice to anyone who wants to get out there. Also stayed behind at the end to sign books and other bits for free unlike other speakers i have heard of. all in all he came across as a nice guy, doing good for charity.
most neutral bio
- repeats the 'crossed Antarctica' phurphy
- "Their journey of 97 days is the longest in south Polar history" - not for over a decade has this been true
- " the extraordinary feat of completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents", which it then goes on to show he did not actually do. Bizarre.
- "...the Polar Medal - he is the only person ever to receive a bar to this award,.." is absolute rubbish, with John Rymill and Wally Herbert just off the top of my head. Shamefully stupid.
Those four points are enough to cast doubt on the veracity of the rest of that 'biography' - from the famously rigorous halls of Wikipedia, no less. Though the original Wikipedia page actually mentions stopping short on the ice shelf, and interestingly, also states that Fiennes admits cheating on his SAS endurance test. A taste of things to come, it would seem, but not 'neutral' enough for you dickie?
But there I go again, letting the facts get in the way of a good story ...
I thought he blagged it through using guile (much respected in such circles!), felt guilty afterwards and did it as a serving member of the SAS (i.e. when he had everything to lose and nothing - save his pride - to gain.)
If true, this casts the man in a somewhat different light.
People often say this! Why are you so obsessed by testicles? Can you really be so macho?
Let's just say we don't have the same values... and like a lot of old fools I don't spend that much time sitting at home. As for bitterness, maybe it's to do with my lack of "balls". Funny how the RF groupies all seem to have similar attitudes.... maybe he enables them to get their kicks by proxy??
No, a guy of 65 who's done some pretty gruelling stuff at the poles, had two heart attacks, one of them high on Everest, who would be the first to admit he's not really a climber, but who's just managed to get up the highest mountain on the planet.
Yes, he had help and O2. But so do the hundreds of much younger people with excellent cardiac histories who fail every year.
Puh-leeze can we stop stewing in sourness and say, ok Ranulph, good effort!
Why not, I already said much the same when I first replied, but it's not quite the same as "What a legend", is it?
The greatest achievements are surely those that do something for others. That's why most climbers and mountaineers are major under achievers. within that context, and given the money it's raised for charity, I'd say Everest was Fiennes' greatest lifetime achievement.
Kenton, on the other hand, is a selfish mountain rapist :-)
Hempleman-Adams? Adventurer? Hero?
Sorry, couldn't resist
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