The Alpine Club panel will take questions from the audience on a wide range of matters, and discuss and debate hot topics from the world of climbing. In addition, Bonington and Fowler will be taking to the stage either side of the Alpine Club session, to entertain audiences with stories from their long careers. Keswick Mountain Festival will run from 16 to 20 May, with its biggest ever programme of outdoor activities, celebrity speakers and sporting events. The festival is sponsored by outdoor brand Dare 2b.
The following issues are examples of topics that could be discussed on the night:
The Removal of the Cerro Torre bolts
In 1970, Italian mountaineer Cesare Maestri used a compressor to forge a route up the south east ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia. This controversial route was subsequently named The Compressor and debate regarding whether the bolts should be removed has raged ever since.
In January this year, the first 'fair means' ascent of the route was achieved without using any of Maestri's bolts, by Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk. On their way down, they removed over one hundred bolts. This caused local uproar, but many notable climbers have spoken up in support of the removal of the bolts. The debate continues with vigour and will be addressed during the evening.
The pros and cons of commercial climbing
In the early days of The Alpine Club it was usual for British mountaineers to engage local guides when climbing in the European Alps, but over the years unguided ascents have become the norm. In contrast, there is an increasing number of commercial companies offering guided ascents of some of the world's most famous mountains, in particular Everest. The panel will discuss the ways in which this has this changed the sport of mountaineering, and the public's perception of it.
This is the first year that The Alpine Club has been formally involved in Keswick Mountain Festival, and both Fowler and Bonington are also speaking in separate sessions at the Rawnsley Centre on 19 May. Tickets are still available for all three events – at £16.50 for Sir Chris Bonington, £13 for Mick Fowler and £10 for An Evening with The Alpine Club, with some special offers when people purchase tickets for more than one of the sessions.
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