The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

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Death Announcements

Death Announcements & Tributes

Des Rubens

A Tribute to Des Rubens by Geoff Cohen

Des was a well-known and very popular figure in the Scottish mountaineering world, as attested by the huge numbers that attended his funeral. He started climbing at Edinburgh University in 1970 and soon became President of the university mountaineering club, establishing friendships, including with his wife Jane, that were to endure throughout his life. Des was a bold and proficient ice climber, with a variety of new routes to his name, especially in the more remote corners of the Highlands. He was not only a great lover of the Scottish hills (he had just four Munros left to do), for walking, climbing and ski touring, but also a keen stravaiger of the wild coasts and islands, with a few sea canoeing trips to his credit. Abroad Des took part in over a dozen climbing expeditions, mainly to the Himalaya (starting with an early trip to Afghanistan in 1972) but also to the Caucasus, Andes and Canadian Rockies. He succeeded on many peaks over 6000m, but was rebuffed at about 7500m on Gasherbrum III and Nanga Parbat. In the Alps Des achieved many great classics of the 1930s (eg Walker Spur, Gervasutti Pillar, N Face of Dru) and more recently, in his sixties, had been ticking off the 4000m peaks, usually by routes more challenging than the voies normales.

Des was an extremely warm-hearted and affable person – it would be hard to find anyone he had crossed swords with. In his professional life he was a teacher of outdoor activities at Craigroyston High School in north Edinburgh. The outpouring of tributes from former pupils, colleagues and members of the Muirhouse community showed how deeply his commitment to taking disadvantaged kids to the outdoors had affected their lives.

Although Des had only recently joined the AC he was well known to many through his long mountaineering career. One of his more recent achievements was to revive the SMC ‘s Edinburgh lecture series, by bringing in Alpine Club and JMCS members. He devoted much thought and energy to this lecture programme and was a delightful and amusing presenter of the speakers, thus ensuring a growing attendance, drawing people from a considerable distance.


Though I will miss him terribly, I count myself incredibly fortunate to have had him as a close friend and climbing partner for over forty years. We formed a harmonious team with similar outlook on the mountains and both enjoyed our inexhaustible banter.


Des will be sorely missed by his many many friends, and my heart goes out to his family.

 

 

 

Ken Wilson

We are saddened to hear of the recent death of Ken Wilson, one of the most influential and controversial figures in the British mountaineering scene over the last half century.

Ken's training as a photographer, and his involvement with some of the leading British climbers of the day, led to him becoming one of the more recognised recorders of the climbing scene in the 1960s and 70s. He re-launched 'Mountain Craft' as 'Mountain', which became an important international journal covering contemporary mountain stories, ethics, and controversy in general, always illustrated with stunning photography.

His publishing career continued with Granada, Diadem, and finally his own business Baton Wicks, most notably with the hugely successful series of large format volumes covering rock climbs and walks, starting with Hard Rock in 1974.

His application for membership of the AC in 1972 generated a wealth of correspondence, with those members threatening to resign if he were elected neatly balanced by those who would resign if he were not elected.

Happily he was elected.

He continued to court controversy with strong opinions on club membership, climbing ethics, bolts, politics, etc, and with a particularly annoying habit of usually being right.

His last appearance at Charlotte Road was to cast his vote in the Presidential election in 2010.

Ken had been quite ill for some time, and died on 12th June 2016. 

A Celebration of a Life:  Ken Wilson

on Saturday 30th July, starting at 5.00pm (prompt) and finishing at about 6.30pm.

in the Pennine Lecture Theatre, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Building, Howard Street, S1 1WB, (about a five-minute walk from the railway station and about a half-hour drive from Stanage Edge).

Organised by the CC and the BMC, all are welcome. Please come and celebrate the life and achievements of one of the biggest characters of the modern climbing scene who revolutionised magazine and book publishing.

The Heartspace Atrium, which adjoins the Pennine will be open serving beer, wine, tea and coffee.

 

Ken Wilson: Photograph by John Cleare

 

Jim Curran

It is with sadness that we report the death of Jim Curran on 5th April, following a long illness. Many will know Jim was a freelance mountain cameraman, writer and artist. He joined the Club in 1985 and exhibited some of his paintings at the AC London Clubhouse in 2004.

Alan Rouse, Dave Wilkinson, Brian Hall, Jim Curran and Al Burgess, K2 Expedition, 1986

J. M. C. Evans

In memorandum - Chuck Evans

Chuck Evans kindly contributed a short story to my book The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room (Gomer Press, pending).

I have reproduced this below; it is a reflection of the happy times Chuck and his extended family had at the Gwryd. I trust it makes a small but fitting contribution to his memorial.

Kind regards,

Dr Rob Goodfellow   (New South Wales)

‘Whatever Mr Briggs says is true’ - Chuck Evans

Living in Bangor and then Capel Curig, my brothers Robin and Peter and I were often taken to the Pen y Gwryd when we were boys and, later on with my father (Sir Robert Charles Evans, deputy leader on the 1953 British Everest Expedition and leader of the expedition which first climbed Kangchenjunga in 1955) and mother, Lady Denise Evans (the first female President of the Alpine Club) for the regular Everest and Kangchenjunga reunions. Later still, many times, it was after completing the Snowdon Horseshoe for a well merited pint.

The PyG was, and still is, a magical place. As children, we were often installed in the snug behind the bar and Blodwen, the ‘maid of maids’ (dressed in traditional Welsh black), would look after us by serving hot buttered toast, forever after known in our family as ‘Pen y Gwryd toast’. And I recall that there were funny napkins with a few choice phrases written in both Welsh and English. (Probably this is still the limit of my Welsh.)

As a boy, I was fascinated by the oxygen cylinder and other holy relics of the 1953 British Everest Expedition in the glass case in the Smoke Room. And every member of the expedition had a silver pint beer tankard; and, when my father was not there, I got to drink from it too.

One story I like to recall is about the Police visiting the Hotel, questioning Blodwen about after-hours or Sunday opening. Blodwen gave the policeman a stern look and despite persistent interrogation all she would say was, ‘Whatever Mr Briggs says is true.’

I also remember Jane Pullee organising Hallowe’en parties where the staff were dressed up as ghosts. Such happy times!

In the year that my father died (1995), we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the ascent of Kangchenjunga and my two year old daughter, Natasha, made the first cut in the cake, whilst my then six month old boy, Charlie, lay asleep on a blanket on the floor in the PyG dining room as we drank champagne opposite the ‘captain’s table’, where for many years Chris Briggs would host, amongst others, the likes of David Cox and Kevin Fitzgerald, two real gentlemen!

Wonderful memories!

Chuck Evans (1959-2016) was the eldest son of Sir Charles and Lady Denise Evans. He also did some Himalayan exploration in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Jaonli in India, Churen Himal in mid-west Nepal and Saipal in far west Nepal, as well as a visit to Khumbu. When not enjoying the mountains or sailing, Evans advised French companies in difficulties with their respective banks.