VENABLES NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2018
December 31, 2017. Looking forward to starting 2018 with my annual trip south for skiing at the seaside – again aboard Pelagic Australis, and this time heading with eight ski-mountaineers to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Skip Novak and I will be leading another expedition to South Georgia during September and October. Please have a look at the prospectus. We still have places and non-skiers/non-climbers are welcome.
Then, in January 2019, I will be leading another trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. Four places have been booked; four remain available.
For the winter/spring lecture season, I have events booked in Scotland, Newcastle and London. Further afield, I am delighted to be taking part in the inaugural Killarney Mountain Festival, before heading to the USA and, I hope, South Korea. Details on the ‘Programme of Lectures’ page.
With very best wishes for the rest of your summer. Or winter!
Still buzzing from a great evening with a great audience at the Rheged Centre, I am pleased to announce a special 25th anniversary talk at the Lighthouse Centre in Poole, on October 4. https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/whats-on/2017/stephen-venables/
My subject will be the 1992 Indian-British Panch Chuli Expedition. This was a fantastic adventure, culminating in the first ascent of Panch Chuli V. However, on our way back from the summit I plummeted three hundred feet, breaking both my legs, when an abseil anchor failed. The story of the ensuing rescue, which was complicated, dangerous and at times terrifying, was the subject of my subsequent book A Slender Thread, which has been continuously in print since it was published in 2000. Continue reading
On my way to Leeds to launch Jonathan Pitches’ Mountainsides Series. Wednesday, March 1. 17.00
Following last month’s first ascents of Starbuck Peak and Mt Baume, I am delighted to have completed nine tenths of the Shackleton Traverse with the Crean family, at the end of an extraordinary spell of calm weather in the Southern Ocean. It was just a shame that an unfortunate accident stopped us completing the final part.
When I first did the Traverse in 2000 Reinhold Messner broke his foot on the Crean Glacier. Last week Aileen Crean O’Brien broke her leg at almost the same place, tripping on her sledge just below the famous impromptu toboggan ride made by her grandfather Tom Crean, with Shackleton and Worsley 100 years ago. Unlike Messner, Aileen was too badly injured even to hobble. However, she was able to complete most of the Traverse lying down, towed on a sledge by Crag Jones and me, with Cian, Morgan and Bill sharing out her luggage on the 16 km ski journey to the nearest evacuation point at Fortuna Bay. It all went very smoothly, blessed with calm weather and generally good visibility.
Once we reached Fortuna, skipper Alec Hazell did a brilliant job of getting Aileen back on board Pelagic, in a fairly testing swell. By lucky chance our return to Grytviken coincided with a visit by HMS Clyde, whose captain agreed kindly to give Aileen a speedy comfortable lift to Stanley hospital, 800 miles away. The rest of us hope to go back round to Fortuna Bay during the next few days and complete the final section to Stromness, before sailing more slowly back to Stanley.
The detailed prospectus for an Antarctic Expedition led by Stephen and taking place between 4 Jan to 1 Feb 2018 based on Pelagic Australis can now be viewed at:
If you are interested in taking part please contact Stephen as soon as possible to reserve a place on this trip.
After a summer in Andalucia and Edinburgh, Stephen leaves this week on his seventh expedition to South Georgia. In fact he is doing two expeditions, back to back. The first trip, aboard Pelagic Australis, is to the southern Salvesen Range, where he and Skip Novak are leading a team hoping to make first ascents of peaks which Stephen first admired 26 years ago when he made the first ascent of Mt Carse.
South Georgia bivouac
Then, around the second week of October, Stephen and Caradoc Jones are jumping ship to Pelagic, to join a grand-daughter and great-grandsons of Tom Crean, who are hoping to follow in their ancestor’s footprints, 100 years after he made his legendary crossing of the Island with Frank Worsley and Ernest Shackleton. With a reasonably generous window of opportunity, Stephen is very optimistic about managing to do the traverse successfully before sailing back to the Falklands at the end of October.