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Eric Earle Shipton
Born 1 August 1907
Died 28 March 1977
England
Nationality British
Known for Exploration and high altitude mountaineering

Eric Earle Shipton CBE (1 August 1907 - 28 March 1977) was a distinguished British Himalayan mountaineer.

Contents

Early Years

Born in Ceylon in 1907 where his father, a tea planter, died before he was three years old. His mother buried her grief by taking Eric and his sister Marge and traveling constantly for the next five years. They moved back then back again and back again and forth between Europe, India, and the East.[1] When he was eight his mother brought him to London so that he could be educated. When he failed the entrance exam to Harrow School his mother sent him to Pyt House School in Wiltshire. His first real encounter with Mountains was at the age of fifteen when he visited the Pyrenees with his family.[2] The next summer he spent traveling in Norway with a school friend[3] and within a year he had begun climbing seriously.

Africa and the Himalayas

In 1928 he went to Kenya as a coffee grower, and first climbed Nelion, a peak of Mount Kenya in 1929. It was also in Kenya's community of Europeans that he met his future climbing partners Bill Tilman and Percy Wyn-Harris. Together with Wyn-Harris he climbed the twin peaks of Mount Kenya. With Frank Smythe, Shipton was amongst the first climbers to stand on the summit of Kamet, 7816 metres, in 1931, the highest peak climbed at that time. Shipton was involved with most of the Mount Everest expeditions during the 1930s and later, including Hugh Ruttledge's expeditions of 1933 and 1936, the 1935 Mt Everest expedition, and the pioneering 1951 expedition which chalked out the now famous route over the Khumbu Glacier. Shipton and Tilman also discovered the access route to the Nanda Devi sanctuary through the Rishi Ganga gorge in 1934. Their shoe-string budget expedition operated in the Kumaon-Garhwal mountains continuously from pre-monsoon to post-monsoon, and set a record for single-expedition achievement that has never been equalled.

World War II

During the Second World War Shipton was appointed HM Consul at Kashgar in Central Asia from 1940 to 1942, then after a brief spell in England was assigned to work in Persia as a "Cereal Liaison Officer" for 20 months during 1943 & 1944. Next he was posted as an attache to the British Military Mission in Hungary as an "agricultural adviser" which position saw him through until the end of the War.[4]

Post War Years

In 1946 Shipton returned to Kashgar as Consul General and during a visit from Bill Tilman they tried to climb Muztagh Ata, 7546 metres, reaching the broad summit dome. In 1947 Shipton explored and named Shipton's Arch. He took the opportunity of his Kashgar posting to explore other Central Asian mountains. [5] The first western exploration of the Rolwaling Himal was made by Shipton in 1951 during the reconnaissance of Mount Everest. While exploring the Barun gorge he named Island Peak. Because of his belief in the efficacy of small expeditions as compared to military-style 'sieges', Eric Shipton was stepped down from the leadership of the 1953 Everest expedition, along with Andrew Croft, in favour of Major John Hunt - "I leave London absolutely shattered" he would write. Yet Shipton's quiet and spare climbing style, and his spirit of exploration, have kept alive the memory of this climber's climber in the world of mountaineering. Between the years 1953 and 1957 he worked at a variety of jobs. Shipton worked as Warden of the Outward Bound Mountain school at Eskdale until the failure of his marriage with his wife, Diana. He worked on farms, collected his CBE, and in 1957 lead a group of students from the Imperial College of Science to the Karakoram.

South America

Between the years 1957 and 1966 Shipton made in all seven journeys to South America. After two exploratory trips to Argentina, Shipton, along with one British (John Earle ) and two Chilean explorers, was the first to traverse both the North and South Patagonian ice fields from north to south. He made two unsuccessful attempts on Mount Burney before finally making the first ascent in 1973.

Final Years

For the last decade of his life, Eric Shipton continued to travel extensively, supporting himself by lecturing and acting as a celebrity guide. He completed the second volume of his autobiography, That Untravelled World in 1969. He visited the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Kenya, Chile, Bhutan and Nepal. Whilst staying in Bhutan in 1976 he fell ill, on his return to England he was diagnosed with cancer to which he succumbed in March 1977. He was cremated in Salisbury and his ashes were scattered on Fonthill Lake.[6]

Honours

Mountaineering Highlights 1922-1973

Bibliography

  • Shipton, Eric. Nanda Devi. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1936.
  • Shipton, Eric. Blank on the map. Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1938.
  • Shipton, Eric. Upon That Mountain. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1943.
  • Shipton, Eric. The Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition 1951. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1952.
  • Shipton, Eric. Mountains of Tartary. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1953.
  • Shipton, Eric. Land of Tempest. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1963.
  • Shipton, Eric. That Untravelled World. Charles Scribner and Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-340-04330-X (Hodder & Stoughton (1969))
  • Shipton, Eric. The Six Mountain-Travel Books. Mountaineers' Books, 1997. ISBN 0-89886-539-5 (A collection of the first six books listed.)

References

  1. ^ Shipton, Eric. Upon That Mountain. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1943.
  2. ^ Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN 0-89886-603-0)
  3. ^ Shipton, Eric. Upon That Mountain. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1943.
  4. ^ Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN 0-89886-603-0)
  5. ^ Shipton, Eric. That Untravelled World Hodder & Stoughton, 1969. ISBN 0-340-04330-X
  6. ^ Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN 0-89886-603-0)
  7. ^ Shipton, Eric: The Six Mountain-Travel Books Diadem Books 1985 pp796-800

External links

Further reading

  • Peter Lloyd, Shipton, Eric Earle (1907–1977), rev. Anita McConnell, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Tilman, H.W. Two Mountains and a River. Cambridge University Press, 1949.
  • Unsworth, Walt. Everest. Allen Lane, 1981.
  • Steele, Peter. Everest and Beyond. Mountaineers' Books, 1998.
  • Astill, Tony. Mount Everest : The Reconnaissance 1935. Privately Published, The Author, 2005. ISBN )0-9549201-0-4
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Eric Shipton (1 August 190728 March 1977) was a Himalayan explorer and climber.

Contents

Sourced

Only an easy scramble remained and we were there, on the hitherto untrodden summit of Nelion.
~ Eric Shipton
  • He is lucky who, in the full tide of life, has experienced a measure of the active environment he most desires. In these days of upheaval and violent change, when the basic values of to-day are the vain and shattered dreams of to-morrow, there is much to be said for a philosophy which aims at living a full life while the opportunity offers. There are few treasures of more lasting worth than the experience of a way of life that is in itself wholly satisfying. Such, after all, are the only possessions of which no fate, no cosmic catastrophe can deprive us; nothing can alter the fact if for one moment in eternity we have really lived.
    • Shipton, in Upon That Mountain, 1943
  • Only an easy scramble remained and we were there, on the hitherto untrodden summit of Nelion. ~ Eric Shipton [1]
    • Eric Shipton made the first ascent of Nelion and the second ascent of Batian in 1929.
  • ...and I longed to return to the peak to explore some of the many ridges and faces which as yet had never been attempted. I now realise how lucky I was to have had this extraordinary peak virtually to myself;... ~ Eric Shipton [1]
Few mountains have such a superb array of ridges and faces.
~ Eric Shipton
  • Few mountains have such a superb array of ridges and faces. ~ Eric Shipton [1]
  • After that I was infused with a pleasant sense of abandon. Our rope was not long enough for us to abseil down the red step, and the idea of climbing down it without support from above was not to be contemplated; therefore we just had to reach the summit. ~ Eric Shipton [1]
    • Shipton was climbing with the novice Bill Tillman on the first ascent of the difficult West Ridge Route up Batian.

Unsourced

  • I leave London absolutely shattered.
    • Writing to a friend, after being overlooked for leadership of the 1953 Everest expedition.
  • Once you tried it, it was very difficult to stop.
    • Shipton, about Mount Everest

About Eric Shipton

  • (To Eric Shipton) who had contributed a great deal to the achievement.

References

  1. a b c d Eric Shipton (1977). That Untravelled World. Illustrations by Biro (2nd edition ed.). London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-21609-3.  

External links

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