/ George Band RIP

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a lakeland climber on 26 Aug 2011
Just seen this on the BMC site: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=4433

ALC
Denni on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Sad news, cracking bloke. Had a good life, RIP
Sean Kelly - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: Well worth reading 'A Quiet Triumph' by Ed Douglas about the Kanchenjunga climb in '55. Link on the BMC article.
'Hilda' - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: I had the pleasure of knowing George Band and his wife Susan. When I first met George I had no idea who he was as he was Mr Band and one of our customers. I was about to go on my first expedition to Greenland and I'd been talking about how excited I was at going. He mentioned that he'd climbed 'a bit' but I didn't twig who he was. It wasn't until Edmund Hillary died and he was interviewed on the BBC that I realised who he was!!!! He was a charming man - and 'I've climbed at bit' was a massive understatement.

My condolences to his lovely wife Susan and his family.
Guy - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: I met him at Kanchenjunga base camp during their reunion, was a delightful and charming man. I will cherish the photo I have with him.
Duncan Bourne - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:
Lovely bloke I met him on a few occasions. He will be missed
poeticshambles - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to 'Hilda': Aw, how humble, very few climbers show such reticence today, well, very few professional athletes of any sport do. How charming! Inspirational.
Robert Durran - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:
I had the privilege of doing a couple of routes with him at Gogarth in 1987. A real gentleman and a pretty handy rock climber too!
Ricky Martin - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: Thats is weird I only thought about him yeasterday thinking he must be that last of the 53 exped left(he wasn't the last). Sad News
Tom Last - on 26 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Sorry to hear that. I met him a couple of times when working on Everest '53 pix at the RGS - it was quite intimidating really, no excuse to get anything wrong on the picture captions!

Nice fella, RIP.
a lakeland climber on 27 Aug 2011
In reply to poeticshambles:

I never knowingly met him. I did however once meet Andre Roch (Swiss mountaineer) and he was similarly both charming and reticent. Perhaps people in general were less brash and self-promoting then.

ALC
Al Evans on 27 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: Very sad, a great guy. He came on the first Lundy CC meet (that I organised) and we had a quiz, he represented the 'old farts', they drew with the 'young hot shots' and a tie break was brought into the equation. The question was " which CC members paced Roger Banister to his first ever four minute mile.
The kids got it and the old farts lost the quiz, after the result George said " Bloody hell, I climbed and ran with them all"!
Mark F - on 27 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I saw him on the summit of Tryfan a couple of years ago - he was sitting on top of one of the big boulders (Adam & Eve), looking very happy and contented. Amazing bloke, and what an interesting life he had. I hope I can make it to the top of Tryfan at that age.
Doug on 29 Aug 2011
In reply to Mark F: Obituary by Ed Douglas in the Guardian today
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/aug/28/george-band-obituary
Postmanpat on 29 Aug 2011
Warmingham - on 30 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

What a great life a shame it took till 2009 to get honoured for his outstanding achievements
Offwidth - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Warmingham:

Sad news. We met him last at the BMC AGM when he unwell but still made it. Bit depressing this has had so few posts.
chris_s - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I met him when I interviewed him in 2003 on the Everest 50th anniversary. In fact the picture the BMC have used is the one I took then (they've actually used it without permission, but that's another matter....)

A lovely man, we talked for hours even after I'd finished the interview. I think Mike Westmacott is the only one left from the 53 expedition, though I could be wrong.

Another member of the team I interviewed in 2003 was Charles Wylie, who was 84 then. Think he died in 2007. He was an absolute gent.
Damo on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to chris_s:

Jan Morris is still alive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Morris
Bob Aitken - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:
I met George Band briefly at the Hornli in about 1968, when he was very affable, but with hindsight I regret that I was too young and too much in awe of this quasi-legendary Everest climber to make anything more of the meeting.

Ten years later in New Zealand I met Norman Hardie, who was pleased when I recognised him as one of the unsung heroes of the quietly successful Kangchenjunga expedition. I think Norman rather felt that none of them had had the recognition they deserved for that sterling effort, especially by comparison with the 'Coronation Everest' team, but they all obviously shared a strong 'band of brothers' bond. In his 2006 autobiography 'On my own two feet', Norman comments that George had done an excellent job in organising the expedition food a tribute very rarely seen in that context ...
Damo on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Bob Aitken:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
> ... Norman comments that George had done an excellent job in organising the expedition food a tribute very rarely seen in that context ...

That's funny - Norman organised the food for the 1966 American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition that went via Christchuch. I found a cache of their food in Antarctica and sent Norman a photo of 'his' chocolate biscuits a few years back.

George Band was a great example of a generation of climber - Ed Hillary, Nick Clinch etc - who achieved a great thing in their climbing life then went on to not only lead a regular life of family and work but also a lifetime of helping others however he could, such as being Chairman of the Himalayan Trust and worked to build schools in the Khumbu, in addition to other projects in Nepal. I'd like to think our younger generations of climbers can eventually lead such full lives.
Mick Ward - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I always thought that the decision not to set foot on the summit of Kanchengunga showed a rare sensitivity for the times. Presumably, with Brown on the first ascent, nobody was going to have the temerity to carp, "But you didn't actually do it."

Seemingly a highly capable gentleman who achieved much of lasting worth in his lifetime. RIP.

Mick
chris_s - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Damo:

Of course, thanks.
Denni on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Warmingham)
>
Bit depressing this has had so few posts.


I imagine a lot of people on here do not know who he was.
rowen root - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: Met once what a gentleman.
NickK123 - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: I got to know George in recent years and he was a great help to me when we were putting together the British Services' expedition to Makalu in 2008. His experience, common sense approach and humour were much appreciated. After the expedition I got to see his passion for The Himalayan Trust and the outstanding activities it sponsors; his contribution to the charity was not insignificant and he will be missed by all concerned. This is a very sad loss to the mountaineering community.
The New NickB - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
> Bit depressing this has had so few posts.
>
>
> I imagine a lot of people on here do not know who he was.

I would hope that anyone with any interest in mountaineering would. The relative quietness of the thread is perhaps appropriate for a man who didn't particularly promote his own acheivements.
petestack - on 31 Aug 2011
In reply to Denni:
> I imagine a lot of people on here do not know who he was.

Perhaps they do but just don't have anything to add?

Have to say I like the description of Styx Buttress in the 1970 Schwartz/Wright Polldubh guide, which says:
'The crag was originally explored by George Band in 1947 or 1950, but no route is recorded. On this occasion he was also seen to place the first piton at Polldubh!'

So perhaps some might frown at that now, but read it again and you've got a great historical tidbit with a bold young man exploring new ground (a predominantly VS+ crag) in keeping with the style of the day. :-)
Co1in H - on 01 Sep 2011
In reply to The New NickB: Point well made, but also many of our young climbers do not read the literature prior to TTV.

The history of mountaineering is is exceedingly rich and full of "characters". One of Georges' books, Summit, covers much of this and is an easy and worthwile read for those who would like to become more informed.

Sadly we still hear such questions as "How to I deal with moving from a wall to trad?"

It's climbing!

I met GB on many occasions and he signed all my books for me and was patient and attentive. He was obviously ill the last few times I saw him, but he carried on regardless. I remember him signing at the London Everest event last November.
He signed dozens of books and cards, if not hundreds and never a word of complaint.
I think there are only three left now from the 53 expedition.
He once told me that the Kanch expedition was the one he most enjoyed.
Sterling chap.

Colin H
MJH - on 01 Sep 2011
In reply to The New NickB: I have kept quiet as I am not sure that I can really add anything except RIP.

I must confess to being a bit star struck whenever I met him at the AC.
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The Ivanator - on 01 Sep 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber: A legend. Part of a golden generation of exploration and groundbreaking climbing. Condolences to all that knew George.
zurby - on 10 Sep 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Several years ago my wife and I visited George at his home in Hartley Wintney. He very kindly signed for me a pile of old mountaineering books on Kanchenjunga and Rakaposhi, and I gave him a book on K2. We sat and discussed Heinrich Harrer's new biography which he was currently reading. It transpired that he knew Harrer very well and was certainly enthralled by Harrer's book.
George had long been one of my climbing heros. UK climbing will never be the same again without him. It is a fact that his first ascent of Kanchenjunga with Joe Brown narked the Germans, as they had always regarded Kanch as one of their mountains, along with Nanga Parbat. One of the books George signed for me was Himalayan Campaign- The German Attack on Kanchenjunga by Paul Bauer. I thought it amusing that it is now signed by the British climber who first climbed it!

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