STEPHEN VENABLES recounts the story of outstanding hardship and bravery “IN THE STEPS OF SHACKELTON” that began with an advert in the Times: NOTICE – Men wanted for hazardous journey, low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success – Ernest Shackleton, The Times 1913. Sponsored by NORMAN & NEILL, (Optometrists), Clacton-on-Sea.
|Stephen Venables, mountaineer, writer, broadcaster and public speaker, was the first Briton to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen. He reached the summit alone, after climbing with a small American-Canadian team, by a new route up the gigantic Kangshung Face.
Everest was a thrilling highlight in a career which has taken Stephen right through the Himalaya, from Afghanistan to Tibet, making first ascents of many previously unknown mountains. His adventures have also taken him to the Rockies, the Andes, the Antarctic island South Georgia, East Africa, South Africa and of course the European Alps, where he has climbed and skied for over forty years.
© Joe McGorty
|The stories of these travels have enthralled Stephen’s lecture audiences in theatres, schools and university clubs and at corporate conferences all over the world. He has also appeared in television documentaries for BBC, ITV and National Geographic, presented for Radio 4 and appeared in the IMAX movie Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure.
He has written for all the London broadsheet newspapers, covering exploration and adventure, as well as more diverse subjects such as transport, gardening, music and sculpture.
Painted Mountains, Stephen’s first book, won the 1986 Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature. Subsequent books have won the Grand Prize at the Banff International Mountain Festival and the King Albert Award. His ninth book, published in 2006, is the Sunday Times bestseller Ollie – the touching story of his elder son who had autism and who died from a brain tumour.
Two further books were published in 2007, which also saw the release of the IMAX movie The Alps, for which Stephen wrote the screenplay. He was also busy that year as President of the Alpine Club, celebrating its 150th anniversary. In 2008 he returned again to South Georgia, guiding a party on the Shackleton Traverse and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.
During 2011 he is leading the crux section of the Great Himalayan Trail and another Shackleton Traverse team with Pelagic Expeditions.
Stephen’s new book, First Ascent, featured recently in this Climber magazine feature by Ed Douglas. Click to download pdf of article