Alan Hinkes is still the only Brit to have climbed all the world's 8000m peaks. Terry Abraham's new biopic of this larger-than-life high altitude mountaineer is out now, and Ash Routen was keen to take a look.
And one of the few climbers to have slipped a disc in a chapati based accident at altitude! I remember going to a great lecture in the 90s and being quite inspired by it. I had a signed k2 poster on my wall for years.
In reply to planetmarshall: Depends what you accept as 'official' but officially he's only got 13, as I don't think the Himalayan Database accepts his Cho Oyu summit. He himself has long maintained to not give a stuff what they think...
Not long ago I would have said he was in the wrong, the HDB was justified in their judgement, and if he wants it complete he should go back like so many others have done on Shishapangma, Lhotse, Broad Peak etc.
However, in light of recent developments and new research, it's now clear that dozens, probably hundreds, of people have not summited 8000ers to the very top of the true summit, as they have claimed - mistakenly or otherwise.
Annapurna is a real mess, as there are actually two, maybe three, places that are equal highest, but there are about five or six places that people have stopped. Some of the people who have stopped short are *quite* famous, which makes it even more difficult for everyone involved. In recent times a few (Sherpa led) groups have stopped WELL short of the highest point, and this is even evident in their 'summit' photos, but they insist they were on the top, despite all evidence.
Dhaulagiri is now also a bit of a mess. It was already known that if going up the normal route, one had to actually traverse a LONG way along the summit ridge to reach the true highest point. Some didn't do this, some returned to the mountain to make good, some didn't. Now most take a variant traversing up snow slopes on the northern side of the summit ridge then cut up to the top - but people have been going to one of two tops, an eastern and western top, or the col in between. Usually it's clear from their photos, whether they care or not.
And of course Manaslu has been a clusterf#@k in recent years as most have not been to the true highest point. In one year (2016?) the HDB has disqualified nearly everyone who claimed a summit, as they clearly stopped short - ostensibly due to a rope-fixing mistake, about which Russell Brice was very vocal.
Almost nobody goes to Shishapangma anymore, regardless of the Chinese access issues, as it is quite hard (south side) to get to the summit or a bit dangerous (north side) to traverse and up.
When Denis Urubko and his mate did their totally insane amazing new route up the south face of Cho Oyu a decade or so ago, they summited in the dark and wandered around in poor weather. Their photos are inconclusive and Denis admits they were not sure if they were right on the correct bump or not. Basically everyone accepts their summit, it seems churlish not to after such an amazing climb, so as much as it pains the pedant within me to admit it, Hinkes has probably been treated a bit unfairly - not in principle, but in context.
As for injuring yourself on chapatti flour, I can sympathise, sort of. I sat up in my bag at C2, 6300m, on G1 some years ago and was bent over coughing, just a normal altitude cough. I heard a loud pop noise and felt a little twinge in my ribs. Within a minute or two I was in agony and could only lie flat in the tent to breathe normally. Apparently this happens quite a bit. I was alright after several hours rest, but have been forever wary of a repeat.
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