We are delighted and honoured to welcome to The Oxford & Cambridge Society of Hong Kong Stephen Venables, one of the world's greatest mountaineers, in celebration of the Centenary of the Oxford University Mountaineering Club, the world’s greatest university mountaineering club.
Mr. Venables has done innumerable famous climbs from the Eiger to Everest. He is perhaps most famous for achieving the first ascent of Everest by the hugeKangshung Face from the Chinese side, which he made without oxygen, reaching the summit alone. Because it was by then afternoon, he had to spend the night alone, just below the summit without a tent, then the highest ever bivouac, followed by an epic 3-day descent without food. Mr. Venables also has many first ascents of other famous mountains to his name, in five continents. A suave, witty speaker, he frequently appears in documentaries, plus has written some 15 books, including several best-sellers.
Mr. Venables’s early mountain experiences were skiing and walking in the British mountains and the Alps, including several famous climbs while he was at Oxford. Mr. Venables’s most famous Alpine climbs include a new route on the celebrated north face of the Eiger. Of the North Face he wrote “it is mesmerising: the great concave limestone triangle which rises so brutally out of the meadows of Alps – it is the biggest continuous mountain wall in Western Europe, nearly a mile wide at its base and over a mile high, dotted with ledges, ramps and infamous icefields demanding from any climber the uttermost of skill, stamina and courage”.
Mr. Venables soon turned his attention to the Himalayas, with several new routes in the Hindu Kush, including the first ascent of Kishtwar Shivling, and the first ascent of SoluTowerin the Karakorum. Following several other climbs, he achieved worldwide fame for his Everest expedition on the Chinese Kangshung Face. In 2000, he was chosen with Conrad Anker and Reinhold Messner, as perhaps the world’s three greatest active mountaineers, to star in the film Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure which played world wide.
Stephen Venables was educated at Charterhouse and at NewCollege, OxfordUniversity. In addition to his mountain fame, he is a prolific writer, with articles published in more than 30 publications. He has published some 15 books, includingEverest Alone at the Summit, Islandat the Edge of the World – A South GeorgiaOdyssey, A Slender Thread, The Story of Everest andEverest – Summit of Achievement. Mr Venables has also appeared in several documentaries about mountaineering, including To the Third Pole, Beating the Blizzards andShackleton's Antarctic Adventure. He holds seven prizes for literature, including the WH Smith Travel Book Award. He has lectured to over 100 organisations in some 20 countries. Mr. Venables has been Chairman of the Mount Everest Foundation, President of the Alpine Club and Vice President of the British Mountaineering Institution.
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