The Boardman Tasker Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ken Wilson, a long time influencer of outdoor media and global climbing and mountaineering politics, at the Kendal Mountain Festival. We collect a few choice quotes to celebrate the occasion.
Shouting his message from the top of the mountains, or at least using Mountain magazine as a medium, Ken Wilson is well known in the outdoor world for his way with words and his unshakeable beliefs in traditional styles of adventure climbing. His contributions to any debate could come in the form of bold print or verbal rebuffs, leaving no doubts as to which side of the crevasse his opinions are camped.
Writing in his book, Up and About, Doug Scott said: “[Ken] was a passionate and sometimes vociferous supporter of the traditions of British climbing and an inspired mountaineering magazine editor.
“Mountain and its editor, Ken Wilson, had quite an influence on my climbing, especially during the late sixties and early seventies. It captured the profound changes affecting climbing at that period and Ken proved a relentless guardian of the soul of mountaineering – as he saw it.”
Despite having ruffled a few feathers, none will be able to argue that the awarding of the Boardman Tasker Lifetime Achievement Award is undeserved, as Ken’s commitment to climbing, mountaineering, and the whole outdoor world is beyond dispute.
Commenting on Ken’s award to Vertebrate Publishing, Steve Dean, secretary and trustee of the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust, said: “When Ken Wilson started Mountain magazine in 1969 he opened up the ability to debate mountaineering to the whole world. To those of us who attempted to write about mountains and climbing he was both the sternest critic and the strongest supporter. More importantly, on the hill or on the crag, Ken was one of us. The man is a hero.”
Ken was a key player in the publication and distribution of climbing literature. From 1969 until 1978 he was the editor of Mountain magazine, a prominent periodical that is known to have influenced publications such as Alpinist magazine, and in the years following Ken founded two publishing houses – Diadem (co-founded with Ken Vickers) and Bâton Wicks – and became the devoted patron of a variety of international classics.
Jon Barton, managing director of the Sheffield-based Vertebrate Publishing
house, said in his blog: “Ken was the man to talk to in order to get your name out there, to get your climb into the media. “
His skill with the written word was also demonstrated in a number of his own creations, especially in his two most famous books – Hard Rock and Classic Rock. Not to forget his take on the art of climbing in his anthology The Games Climbers Play.
But Ken’s contribution was not only limited to the page, as his work to support the sport he loved extended further. The BMC gratefully accepted Ken’s opinions on committees and in the Future Policy Review Group, both as a volunteer and a critic, and was bestowed with the title of Honorary Member of the BMC. Furthermore, Ken helped mould the climbing clubs we know today, as he was a fierce campaigner for women to be accepted as members in the Climbers' Club, which was the first of many of the causes he pursued vigorously.
With such an extensive literary past, Ken Wilson has been one of the foremost voices for climbing and the outdoors on an international level. It’s with that in mind that we would like to extend our congratulations to Ken for his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boardman Tasker
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