A project to preserve Sir Chris Bonington's archive and make it accessible to the public is underway thanks to funding from the BMC and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The BMC is providing £15,000, alongside an HLF grant of £39,600, to enable the Mountain Heritage Trust archivist to catalogue and make this fascinating collection accessible to the general public and researchers.
The papers include expedition papers, correspondence, press cutting scrapbooks and manuscript drafts of Sir Chris' books which detail the unique nature and long-term value surrounding his lifetime’s work as a mountaineer, journalist, photographer and, at times, diplomat and ambassador.
Sir Chris' professional climbing career started with the first ascent of Annapurna II in 1960. There followed many outstanding successes which span the period from the waning of large national expeditions to the development of daring lightweight styles.
The project will take one year to complete and will result in a collection open to all via an online display and a travelling exhibition.
Sir Chris Bonington said: "I have kept all the correspondence, papers and diaries from all of my expeditions over the last 48 years in a shed at the bottom of my garden. There is a rich history of some of the major mountaineering expeditions of four decades hidden in these files. I'm delighted that these are now going to see the light of day; will be sorted and indexed by Maxine Willett, the very able archivist of the Mountain Heritage Trust and, most important of all, will be made available to the mountaineering community and anyone wanting to research this element of mountain history."
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