Tony Howard Interview

Adventurer Leon McCarron interviews Tony Howard about his life and his new book, Quest into the Unknown. Tony rose to fame in 1965 as one of a group of young climbers who made the first British ascent of Norway’s Troll Wall; a climb described by Joe Brown as, ‘One of the greatest ever achievements by British rock climbers’. Tony and his wife, Di Taylor, have explored all over North Africa and the Middle East, surviving in many of these countries by living with the enigmatic Bedouin tribes.

In this interview Tony talks about developing climbing and adventure tourism in Jordan and climbing and exploring in Iran, Sudan, Arctic Canada, Morocco and Algeria. He also discusses the development of modern climbing equipment with which he was greatly involved as well as exploring the Sinai Trail and the relationship between climbing and travel.

For more about Quest into the Unknown, click here:

4 Jun, 2019

Well that was a refreshing and inspiring interview. Thanks for that. I've just finished Tony's book and it is a great read.


6 Jun, 2019

...and the interview echoes his unassuming accounts of his exploratory climbing - "its all about going climbing somewhere interesting with some good friends" or words to that effect.

6 Jun, 2019

Great interview. The only reason he’s not a household name in Britain as a great adventurer is because of his unassuming nature.

When I visited Wadi Rum in 2012 I had a chat with Sabah, an older Bedouin guide, who'd been one of the first guides to start up when Tony Howard was there in the 1980s. Sabah's Route on Jebel Rum was his and is named after him in Tony Howard's guide. He said he'd travelled round the UK and had stayed with TH.

Another Bedouin I spoke to said that TH is respected by all in the village, and is welcome in every home. Not surprising in view of what he must have done to boost the local economy.

Things in 2012 were very different from how they must have been in the 1980s. Tony says in the interview that there were only about 6 houses in the village and they lived by hunting. The taxi driver who took me to what was now a big village in 2012 said many of the Bedouin now had Internet and TV. All the Bedouin we met in the desert had mobiles. It was strange to hear the ubiquitous Nokia ringtone out in the desert.

Hearing Tony Howard talk about the world class Bedouin scrambling routes makes me want to go back! I only did one trek/scramble, through the Rabakat canyon. Supposedly Grade 2, but I must have gone off route as I found myself on Solid Grade 3 territory for a couple of shortish sections. Route finding is a big part of the adventure there!

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