Event Detail


Lecture on "I Chose to Climb": Celebrating 65 years of Climbing the World’s Greatest Peaks

Sir Chris Bonington, CVO the World’s Most Famous Mountaineer
Monday, 22 Jun 2015
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
Jockey Club Lecture Theatre, Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay
In view of the great enthusiasm from RGS-HK Members for the Gala Dinner with Sir Chris Bonington on 25 June 2015, Sir Chris has most kindly agreed to give a lecture, so that more Members are able to participate.

The Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong is delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Sir Chris Bonington, one of the greatest mountaineers in history, and perhaps the most eloquent and entertaining lecturer to have spoken to the Society.  On this occasion, Sir Chris lectures on “I Chose to Climb": Celebrating 65 years of Climbing the World’s Greatest Peaks”.  This is the story of his extraordinary career, from his first adventures on mountains in the early 1950s to his ascent of the Old Man of Hoy, a repeat of his famous first ascent, at the age of 80 last summer.  The lecture covers the best of his amazing adventures in between, including a tour of his first ascents in the great ranges, as always accompanied by unrivalled mountain photography.  He gives a very personal story of adventure, triumph and tragedy, shared with some of the greatest characters of mountaineering, illustrated with superb images and video.

Chris Bonington captures the highlights of his formative years of climbing from when he started as a London schoolboy at the age of 16 to the first major expedition he led to climb the huge South Face of Annapurna in 1970, at the time probably the hardest big face in the Himalaya.  He covers his early forays into Scotland, then on to the Alps with his success to be first Briton to climb the notorious North Face of the Eiger and to make the first ascent of The Central Pillar of Freney on the South side of Mont Blanc.

The lecture follows with the great climbs Sir Chris has done since then, including Mt Everest, to the present day.  Sir Chris discusses his epic first ascent and descent of the fearsome Ogre in Pakistan with Doug Scott.  Following their triumph, on the descent Doug Scott broke both legs while Sir Chris broke his ribs.  They went without food for five days while descending with their injuries in a savage storm, one of the most famous escapes in mountaineering history. The mountain has only had one further ascent, after some twenty attempts.

Sir Chris continues with his first ascent of Kongur, at the time the second highest unclimbed peak in the world.  He talks of his alpine style ascents of Shivling in the Indian Himalaya and Panch Chuli.  He also describes the ascent of Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.  Sir Chris recounts the tale of his voyage to Greenland with sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the wooden yacht "Suhaili", in which Sir Robin had made the first circumnavigation of the world, when they pooled their mountaineering and sailing skills at the uninhabited, ice-bound north East Greenland coast.  Sir Chris concludes with his ascent of the Cathedral, a magnificent peak above the Arctic Circle, and other more recent ascents.

Sir Christian Bonington was educated at University College, London and at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.  One of the greatest mountaineers in history, Sir Chris has made many celebrated first ascents, including the Central Pillar of Freney in the Alps, Annapurna II and Nuptse in the Himalayas, The Ogre in the Karakoram, Kongur in Sinkiang and the Central Tower of the Paine in Patagonia.  He has made some 26 expeditions to the peaks of central Asia, including 12 first ascents of peaks over 6,000 metres.  

Sir Chris is also a highly successful author and broadcaster and has published 17 books, many of them best sellers.  He holds innumerable awards and has been President of the Alpine Club, Chancellor of Lancaster University and holds numerous other public positions.  He has been awarded the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society.  Most recently, in 2010, he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for his services to Outward Bound and the Youth Hostels Association worldwide.

Members of the RGS and their guests are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others.

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