Alan Hinkes completes his 8000m quest

Posted by on 02/06/2005
Alan Hinkes.

British mountaineer Alan Hinkes has climbed into the history books with his successful ascent of Kangchenjunga, becoming the first Briton to climb all 14 of the world's 8000m-plus peaks.

Alan now joins a very elite club, since he is only the 13th person in the world to climb all the "eight-thousanders", ranged across Pakistan and Nepal. And this quest, known as "Challenge 8000", supported by outdoor equipment manufacturer Berghaus, has taken 18 years of hard work and dedication. At 8586m Kangchenjunga is the world's third highest mountain and is considered the second most difficult 8000m peak after K2. Alan knows the mountain well, having twice narrowly failed to reach the summit in the past five years. First in 2000, he was beaten back by huge snow-falls and a broken arm, then two years later he fell ill. But now, in 2005, his legendary perseverance has paid off and it really is third time lucky.

Climbing just one 8000m peak is a significant achievement for any climber. Above 8000m - known as the Death Zone - humans can only live for a few days, the air is simply too thin to sustain life. Rescue is also impossible should anything go wrong. The high mountains have claimed many lives, but Alan is known in the climbing community for his cautious approach to mountaineering. He believes that no mountain is worth a life, simply that coming back is a success, and if he summits it’s a bonus.

Alan is an International Mountain Guide, and high profile British climber, but in-between expeditions he still finds time to support the work of the BMC. He is deeply involved with local climbing issues in the North East, being Chair of the North East Area Committee, and is a member of the BMC International Committee.

The BMC, via funding from the Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) and UK Sport, supports approximately 40 British climbing expeditions each year. British mountaineering is in an incredibly healthy state at the moment, partly due to this unique arrangement. Recent other British successes include such diverse achievements as first ascents of the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, in Venezuela, and the NW ridge of Ama Dablam - described as a "last great problem" on one of the worlds greatest peaks. Fittingly this year also sees the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Kangchenjunga (8586m), by two other British climbers, Joe Brown and George Band. One of only two of the 8000m peaks to be first climbed by Brits this "quiet triumph" has often been overlooked. To celebrate this achievement a new exhibition is on display at the Rheged Discovery Centre near Penrith, entitled Kangchenjunga: The Untrodden Peak.

 BMC Chief Executive, Dave Turnbull said: "Alan's ascent of all 14 of the worlds 8000 metre peaks is an outstanding achievement and a milestone in British mountaineering history. The effort required for success on just one of the world's highest peaks is considerable but to climb all 14 requires immense personal drive and focus sustained over many years. Alan's ascent of Kangchenjunga (8586m) assures him a place in the record books alongside Reinhold Messner and other mountaineering greats."

Speaking about his epic ordeal live from base camp at 6000 metres, Alan said: "The final summit push was without a doubt the hardest climb of my life. We left base camp on Thursday 26 May and began to push up the mountain. The weather had not been good which meant there was an awful lot of fresh snow to break through. Risk of avalanche was incredibly high and every step of the way was a matter of physical and mental endurance. Getting back to base camp was one of the best feelings of my life. I sat down in my tent and thought I've finally done it!" - Quote courtesy of Berghaus.



« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 772 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Galvan and Zerain disappear while attempting second crossing of Mazeno Ridge.
1
Galvan and Zerain disappear while attempting second crossing of Mazeno Ridge.

Hope of finding the noted partnership of Argentinian Mariano Galvan, and the Spanish-Basque Alberto Zerain, who were attempting an alpine-style ascent of Nanga Parbat's Mazeno Ridge, has now faded after an aerial search on the morning of the 1st July.
Read more »

Simone Moro talks ticking off the first winter ascents of 8000ers
0
Simone Moro talks ticking off the first winter ascents of 8000ers

Seracs, storms, brutal cold and ... bragging about love-making skills at basecamp? Italian alpinist Simone Moro has just climbed Nanga Parbat with Alex Txikon (Spain), Ali Sadpara (Pakistan) and Tamara Lunger (Italy). It's his fourth first winter ascent of an 8000er. Simone talks what it's like up there, and why his wife's dream will keep him off K2, the only one of the world's fourteen 8000m peaks that still hasn't been climbed in winter.
Read more »

The cairn of caring: English mountaineers to show their respect for Scotland
7
The cairn of caring: English mountaineers to show their respect for Scotland

Two landmark English mountaineers including the joint first Briton to climb Everest are going to join an effort to show their respect for Scotland – by helping to build a cairn.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
0

There are currently no comments, why not add your own?

RELATED ARTICLES

Galvan and Zerain disappear while attempting second crossing of Mazeno Ridge.
1

Hope of finding the noted partnership of Argentinian Mariano Galvan, and the Spanish-Basque Alberto Zerain, who were attempting an alpine-style ascent of Nanga Parbat's Mazeno Ridge, has now faded after an aerial search on the morning of the 1st July.
Read more »

Simone Moro talks ticking off the first winter ascents of 8000ers
0

Seracs, storms, brutal cold and ... bragging about love-making skills at basecamp? Italian alpinist Simone Moro has just climbed Nanga Parbat with Alex Txikon (Spain), Ali Sadpara (Pakistan) and Tamara Lunger (Italy). It's his fourth first winter ascent of an 8000er. Simone talks what it's like up there, and why his wife's dream will keep him off K2, the only one of the world's fourteen 8000m peaks that still hasn't been climbed in winter.
Read more »

The cairn of caring: English mountaineers to show their respect for Scotland
7

Two landmark English mountaineers including the joint first Briton to climb Everest are going to join an effort to show their respect for Scotland – by helping to build a cairn.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »