RIP Hamish MacInnes

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 subtle 23 Nov 2020

Sad news today, Hamish MacInnes has passed away

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-55044054

Post edited at 13:52
 DaveHK 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

That is sad and the end of an era in some ways but it would be hard to imagine a life more fully lived.

Post edited at 13:56
 Sean Kelly 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Sad news indeed. Now he really was a legend! RIP Hamish.

 Lankyman 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Very sad news indeed. He was definitely an icon of a particular era that's pretty much long gone now including the likes of Tom Patey. I had no idea he was a Doctor - does anyone know what of?

 abr1966 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

A big loss....in many aspects!

Will miss seeing him around Glencoe and his legacy is immense! 

A climber of the generation that I looked up to and was inspired by.

RIP Hamish...

In reply to subtle:

A life well lived. I'd only just watched the Final Ascent film recently, talking about his life and failing memory. On iPlayer for another week: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hp3m/final-ascent-the-legend-of-hamish-macinnes

 Doug 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

Very sad news, if I remember correctly he had a couple of hononary doctorates, including one from Heriott-Watt.

 Chopper 23 Nov 2020

Climb high Hamish

In reply to subtle:

A very great man, who made an enormous contribution to mountain rescue. I was fortunate enough to go on one of his winter climbing courses in Glencoe in March 1969. The weather wasn't very good but we went out each day. On the last day the course split into three teams, each with an instructor (they were Ian Clough, Allen Fyffe, and Jim McArtney) climbing three parallel gullies. The way Hamish, overseeing the operation, moved across the very exposed icy buttresses between them in his crampons, unroped and completely at ease, was awesome. He was a tall man and had a kind of aura about him, a real 'presence'. One came to regard him as Mr. Glencoe. 

 65 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

RIP to one of the biggest of the true giants. It is difficult to think of anyone who has contributed so much to mountaineering in general.  

 d508934 23 Nov 2020
In reply to steveriley:

That was one of the best bits of telly I’ve seen recently. Jaw dropping at the end where it states his first ascent of (I think) the outside of Fort William hospital at 80 odd years old. 
 

What a legend. RIP Hamish. 

In reply to subtle:

Not trite to say: a legend in his own lifetime. 

'Call Out' was one of the first climbing related books I read - and yet I managed to carry on! 

In reply to d508934:

Another great climbing icon from the post war years has left us.

A man who changed the way we climbed in winter and helped save lives in the mountains world wide with his Mountain Rescue work and equipment developments.

I met him once and said to him ' I'm really pleased to meet you' his reply 'Aye, I'm pleased to meet you too'. I couldn't really reply with 'No I'm REALLY pleased to meet you'.

RIP.

 Iamgregp 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

That's very sad news, seemed like quite a character and was one hell of a climber.

 Tony Buckley 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Very sad.  An inspirational guy.

His Scottish climbs guidebooks, with his own grading system, were bonkers mind.  Even more so when reduced to a single volume.

Otherwise, a life lived on his own terms.  Another actor leaves the stage.

T.

In reply to subtle:

Very sad news but a life well lived. 

In reply to d508934:

Yes, terrific closing slide. 'Belford Hospital, VS 4a, first ascent solo: H McInnes, 2014'

 65 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Doug:

> Very sad news, if I remember correctly he had a couple of hononary doctorates, including one from Heriott-Watt.

Yes, I think he also had honorary doctorates from the universities of Stirling and Aberdeen, plus a couple of others, maybe four or five in total.

In reply to Tony Buckley:

I thought the guide(s) were bl**dy useless, and maybe even deliberately obscure ... But they WERE inspirational. I've still got mine.

 Timmd 23 Nov 2020
In reply to steveriley:

> Yes, terrific closing slide. 'Belford Hospital, VS 4a, first ascent solo: H McInnes, 2014'

That's fantastic.

RIP Hamish, numerous lifetimes of living squeezed into one.

Post edited at 19:44
 Trangia 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Very sad news. 

 Welsh Kate 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Very sad to hear this earlier, a man who's made such a huge contribution to saving lives. RIP Hamish.

 Wainers44 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> A very great man, who made an enormous contribution to mountain rescue. I was fortunate enough to go on one of his winter climbing courses in Glencoe in March 1969. The weather wasn't very good but we went out each day. On the last day the course split into three teams, each with an instructor (they were Ian Clough, Allen Fyffe, and Jim McArtney) climbing three parallel gullies. The way Hamish, overseeing the operation, moved across the very exposed icy buttresses between them in his crampons, unroped and completely at ease, was awesome. He was a tall man and had a kind of aura about him, a real 'presence'. One came to regard him as Mr. Glencoe. 

Lovely story Gordon.  That was some line up!

 Tony Buckley 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

So have I, though much of the combined guide I have, such as lines marked on photographs that weren't then referred to in the text, only made sense once I saw that the same photos had been reproduced exactly as they were in the two-volume original were everything made complete sense.

Well, except the grading system.  That was, and remains, nuts.

T.

 oscaig 23 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Feels like the passing of the last links to that golden generation of British climbing and mountaineering.  What a life though and what a legacy to leave behind in so many fields, not least in some amazing ascents. Just the thought of him and Jimmy Cunningham walking into Everest with a  rifle with big ambitions makes me smile. So long Hamish.      

 profitofdoom 24 Nov 2020
In reply to oscaig:

> ...............Just the thought of him and Jimmy Cunningham walking into Everest............ So long Hamish

Here (below) is a link to the Creagh Dhu Himalayan expedition of 1953, great reading IMO. They had just found out that Hunt's team had just climbed Everest. Some excerpts:

"After only one night in the capital, we hired a Sherpa .... the first day we were carrying 190 lb. each. The Sherpa, Nima, followed behind with his small pack.... at Namche [we] dispensed with the Sherpa who, on leaving, offered to give us his knife, fork and mug..... we managed to purchase a sheep and a sack of potatoes and were all prepared for an assault on Pumori.... we pitched our small tent with 80 lb. of equipment on a rock promontory at an altitude of 20,500 ft.... with 60 lb. packs hanging from our headbands we once more ascended the powder-covered rock ridge to reach the tent... my sleeping bag, which was a thirty-shilling boy scout model, was even colder than I had expected.... there was an awful avalanche roar from the general direction of the slopes above, and John murmured, 'No wonder; it's like Aberdeen on a flag day'.... When we left Namche on the 16th of the month we had only eight rupees left as climbing expenses without spending our travel money. With this small sum we hoped to attempt a peak lying seven miles to the south of Namche.... With our eight rupees invested in supplies we set off; our tent, tattered beyond repair, was given to a Sherpa. From now on we should have to bivouac under stones....".

https://www.alpinejournal.org.uk/Contents/Contents_1955_files/AJ60%201955%2058-61%20MacInnes%20Creagh%20Dhu.pdf

 drunken monkey 24 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

RIP Hamish. A true pioneer that many within the UK and Worldwide owe their lives to.

Mountaineering and Mountain Rescue has lost a true great.

As an aside, surely UKC should have his article front and centre of the news page? For all the man gave towards climbing and rescuing climbers. Disappointing IMO.

 Sean Kelly 24 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Link here to an article about his life from Summit Magazine, reproduced on the BMC site

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/hamish-macinnes-legendary-mountaineer

 Thunderbird7 25 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

A legend. I'm staggered at the lack of acknowlegement on here. His contribution to the development of modern techniques and equipment  was huge. Maybe age makes people irrelevant but not to me. All the guys of that generation were game changers for the scene that followed. Slainte.

And as a further comment, the world seems to be falling all over itself that Maradonna has died. The guy was a tosser - cheating bastard who spent the rest of his life addled on drugs. Far sadder that Jack Charlton passed, Bobby has been diagnosed with alzheimers and Nobby Stiles is gone. What a celebrity obsessed, media driven world we live in.

Post edited at 22:09
In reply to Wainers44:

> Lovely story Gordon.  That was some line up!

Yes, a very treasured memory. On (or in!) the first scary gully Allen Fyffe was my instructor, and he gave me enormous confidence. On another day, we were all learning how to climb hard ice on short 50' icewall in the Lost Valley. I remember it was Ian Clough who scuttled across and showed me exactly the best way to cut steps ... this was before the days of front point crampons. Or rather, they were just coming in, but Hamish and team wanted still to teach you the old ways, in case you lost a crampon, etc. etc.

In reply to Thunderbird7:

> A legend. I'm staggered at the lack of acknowlegement on here.

Having read the thread, I'm not sure why you think there is a lack of acknowledgement. MacInnes, along with others of that generation, was one of my childhood heroes whose climbs and books inspired me in my early days in the mountains.

> And as a further comment, the world seems to be falling all over itself that Maradonna has died. The guy was a tosser - cheating bastard who spent the rest of his life addled on drugs. Far sadder that Jack Charlton passed, Bobby has been diagnosed with alzheimers and Nobby Stiles is gone. What a celebrity obsessed, media driven world we live in.

Nothing to do with mere celebrity. Maradona was, despite his demons and the hand of God thing, arguably the greatest footballer of all time. For a counterpart in mountaineering you would have to look to someone of the stature of Bonatti or Messner. No disrespect at all to Nobby Stiles or MacInnes, but these people were in a different league.

 Mike-W-99 25 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Sir Chris posted some photos from a September visit to Hamish. Link should work even for those without a facebook account. 

https://www.facebook.com/sirchrisbonington/ (scroll down a bit)

 The Lemming 26 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Hamish is one of the very few of who's books I have ever read.

That may not sound like much at all. But to me, a dyslexic, this is a big deal.

Never met the man but a group of us booked one of his cottages in Glen Coe to knock off all the full-on winter Munro's opposite the ridge, many moons ago.

Again, not much of a claim, but it's a tenuous link that I will cherish. 

 The Lemming 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> On another day, we were all learning how to climb hard ice on short 50' icewall in the Lost Valley. 

This was where I did my first decent in snow, from the Col to the valley below.

My mate faced me, said that's the way, and walked backwards down the hard snow front pointing all the way.

One of life's squeeky bum moments.

 Lankyman 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> Sir Chris posted some photos from a September visit to Hamish. Link should work even for those without a facebook account. 


I was wondering where Hamish's house is - it looks like it's right on the edge of Loch Leven.

 65 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

It's on the old road between the Clachaig and the village, nearer the village. He had it built c.1992.

In reply to subtle:

Sad news - an absolute legend

Does anyone know if the story about him emerging out of a cornice tunnel on the Ben, beard full of ice, and shouting to a young guy "Hey laddie, what year is it?" is true or not?

 Fergal 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Carless:

The story of Macinnes arriving at the CIC hut late one night armed with the "message" his fabled ice hammer to usurp John Cunningham and Noon who he had heard were about to attempt the first winter ascent of Zero gully is classic, roping in Patey and Nichol he bagged  the first ascent in excellent conditions, the fox of Glencoe alright. 

 Grahame N 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Fergal:

> The story of Macinnes arriving at the CIC hut late one night armed with the "message" his fabled ice hammer to usurp John Cunningham and Noon who he had heard were about to attempt the first winter ascent of Zero gully is classic, roping in Patey and Nichol he bagged  the first ascent in excellent conditions, the fox of Glencoe alright. 

Yes, a classic indeed -  "Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when the door crashed open and the self-appointed guardian of Zero Gully [Hamish MacInnes] stood before us in a state of wild disorder. ..........  It was impossible to remain indifferent towards such a man: his appearance alone invited controversy. A great rent extending the whole length of one trouser leg had been repaired unsuccessfully with string. In his hand was the famous all-steel hammer-pick, named affectionately 'The Message'."

From The Zero Gully Affair, Tom Patey 1958.

In reply to subtle:

I met Hamish at his home a couple of times. He was a very clever man not only in climbing but as an engineer. He could turn his hand to anything. He made everything in his house he even tiled his own bathrooms. A great photographer and film producer too. He was very welcoming to me and signed many books for me to sell. Showed me all around his house and was most proud of his workshop. He was happy with my fruit cakes too! I was hoping to see him again in December- very sad to lose him - another great gone. Gwen Moffatt told me she took him climbing at 17 when he first got interested  she’s 96 now, he had reached 90 this year  

His funeral will go through Glen Coe on his last journey and there will be two of his ice axes on top of his coffin. 

Post edited at 21:45

 chris skipton 27 Nov 2020
In reply to subtle:

Although I only saw Hamish in the old Kingshouse and never met him, his presence in Glencoe, his books and his development of equipment was an inspiration to me as a young climber in the late 1960's, early 1970's.

For a while I used a "terror" on our winter climbing trips to Glencoe and although you often ended up with bruised knuckles, the pick stuck into ice better than anything else I had at that time.

I am so glad that Hamish managed to regain so much of his memory between coming out of hospital and his death.

You will be missed big man.

Chris

 Cornish boy 27 Nov 2020
In reply to chris skipton:

Sad news indeed. He was a true legend.

Very few people accomplish so much in their lifetime and leave such  a legacy. 

They don’t make ‘em like him anymore!

RIP Hamish 

In reply to Cornish boy:

Apparently he just needed 4 hours sleep every night.

That would at least partly account for how he was able to achieve so much.

There probably aren't many people around who can say they knew Hamish MacInness's father, but I am one of them!  As a child in Greenock I was introduced to Duncan McInnes by my father, the minister of the Old West Kirk, and informed that his son was a famous mountaineer.  This must have been around 1965.

In reply to subtle:

I think sufficient time has now elapsed so that we can talk about MacInnes' greatest achievement - getting off with Hollywood star Betsy Brantley.

Fox of Glencoe indeed!


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