/ George Band RIP
Sad news, cracking bloke. Had a good life, RIP
My condolences to his lovely wife Susan and his family.
Lovely bloke I met him on a few occasions. He will be missed
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!
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.
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.
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"!
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.
What a great life a shame it took till 2009 to get honoured for his outstanding achievements
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.
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.
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 ...
> ... 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.
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.
Of course, thanks.
I imagine a lot of people on here do not know who he was.
> 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.
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. :-)
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?"
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.
I must confess to being a bit star struck whenever I met him at the AC.
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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