/ Joe Brown Lecture on the "Kanchenjunga Day" at the RGS

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Jim Walton on 18 Nov 2012
Who was lucky enough to go and sea Joe Brown lecture at the RGS in London Last Wednesday?


I haven't got time at the moment to write a full review but all I'll say is that the day was superbly organised by Doug Scott and his team.

Lectures ranging from the cultural aspects, geology (which was great) and art on Kanchenjunga through to climbing lectures by first routers

Doug Scott
Naoe Sakashita - Gave a lecture with no slides but was very funny and held the crowd
Vasily Elagin - My god the Russians were a tough tough bunch!
Marko Prezelj - Funny, understated brilliant climbing

Tony Streather - Understated "wasn't really a climber, got asked to join the Alpine club, before I knew it I was their President - which was nice"

and finally Joe Brown - I can't remember how long he spoke for, 1hr maybe 1.5hrs, but he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. A true legend - if he doesn't like giving lectures then he didn't show it. Lot's of people (me included) will treasure the evening they saw Mr Brown talk.

The day was all held together by Jim Curran in a good light hearted experience manner.

Simon4 - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Jim Walton: Yes, it was very good, but possibly not very well publicised - I only heard about it the day before from a poster at a climbing wall, and even then didn't realise that it was an all-day affair, being only informed about the evening session.

Which was however the one with Tony Streather and Joe Brown, also Doug Scott. What a moment - like seeing characters from the Lord of the Rings moving about and speaking, so venerable are these great figures from British climbing. Joe was fascinating, and, as one might expect, totally down-to-earth, while Tony Streather was as self-effacing as you say.

I did get to shake Tony Streather's hand, also to ask Doug Scott just how steep that snow on the Hillary step was ("quite steep when Dougal did it, pretty sugary and dangerous, especially at that height").

Still a pity about missing the earlier part of the day.

Perhaps Doug Scott can arrange to have Edward Whymper and Mallory to give the keynote lectures next time. Also VJE Ryan, I have always been fascinated by this mysterious figure who seemed to rampage around the Alps in 1906 doing an incredible series of hard serious routes, way ahead of their time, but apparently never heard of before or since. Can you get Doug to ask him?
Jim Walton on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Simon4: Yes, you had to know where to look to get to know about it. But enough people did as the hall was full. I did try to get the word out a bit myself http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=514156&v=1#x6958817

Doug has organised two similar style days before, one about K2 and one about Everest.

I don't know what mountain he'll pick next year, I'd quite like it to be Nanga Parbat. Perhaps Doug could get Kurt Diemberger, Reinhold Messner and Steve House to speak...
Co1in H - on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to Jim Walton: A superb day and as you say well organised by Doug's team. Kendal could learn a lot from this more laid back style.
I principle next year should be Lhotse, but I think that first ascent speakers will be difficult to find.
Joe Brown was excellent. He spoke well and kept the attention of the audience. He was my climbing inspiration 45 years ago so there was no question of not making the trip from up north.
Streather is a true gentleman and happily signed a couple of my books.
As for publicity, the events have been on the forum here for a while. I suppose if you do not normally attend lectures then you do not go looking for them. The Alpine Club has advertised them on their pages and Doug has a permanent page on the Community Action Nepal site. The information is out there if you go looking.
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Jim Walton on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to Co1in H: I've only been to Kendal a couple of times so can't really comment on how that is run but the RGS do was certainly well organised. The analogy of a Swimming swan springs to mind.

On the book signing front, I think there are now many of us with some cherished signed books (I'm lucky enough to have Whillans's book signed by both Don and Joe!), one lad had two suitcases full! Fair play to him though, he only took 3 up at a time and then went to the back of the queue.

I suppose Lhotse is next on the list but as you say 1st ascent speakers will be hard to find.

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