Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cool Lectures

King's School in Worcester is putting on a series of lectures courtesy of their Himalayan Club. I went to see Kenton Cool talk last week. He lives up to his name, having climbed Everest eight times and lead Sir Ranulph Fiennes up both the North Face of the Eiger and to the top of Everest in various expeditions.

He was an entertaining speaker, too, regaling us with tales of Ranulph's eccentricities. Despite being an immensely successful polar explorer, Sir Ranulph, if you listen to Kenton's version of events, is joyfully clueless. His essential supplies allegedly include several packets of jelly-babies and hundreds of English tea-bags. Actually, I can sympathise with Ranulph about the tea-bags. I took tea to India too. An Englishman (or woman for that matter) can't cope without a proper cup of chai.
Kenton ended the talk by getting a member of the audience to clamber in to a down-suit, balaclava, hat and rucksack whilst inside a small tent set up in the middle of the floor. Needless to say the result was a semi-collapsed tent and a lot of laughter.

King's supports a school in Ladakh, which has recently suffered weather damage from a cloudburst. They auctioned off a couple of shirts and a lump of rock from the top of Everest, raising over £300 for the school in the process.

I enjoyed the evening, though I have no plans to climb Everest, or the North Face of the Eiger, for that matter. My trip up Cadair Idris was enough for me (see Gorillas in the Mist entry in my travel blog). That was quite chilly enough and a down-suit might have come in handy!

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