You only have to walk down a city street or sit in a shopping centre to see one of the most destructive elements in modern society – the quest for more, more, more. Why am I saying this? Because society today never seems happy unless it can have the latest gadgets and accessories. I have to ask ‘What happened to the simple things in life..?’
And now, part III of the trilogy…
My final week in Brazil saw me where my heart feels the strongest – In the mountains. Many people think Brazil is all Amazonian Rainforest, due to TV documentaries and the environmental news it generates. However only 57% of the country is cover by rainforest, with the rest being grasslands, savanna, wetlands and mountains. There are many mountain areas, some climbing close to the 10,000ft (3000m) mark. Getting into them is a slow and arduous job, unless you have the nerve to drive out of Rio and into the hills. Continue reading “Going nuts in Brazil part III – Into the mountains…”
Two hours flight westward from Rio de Janiero brings you to one of the natural wonders of the world – Iguazu Falls. Sitting on the Brazillian and Argentinian Border, this collection of waterfalls almost defies description, but I will do my best… Continue reading “Going nuts in Brazil part II – The power of water…”
Now you might think me going a bit soft by travelling to Brazil, after all, I am Mr. Frostbite! Well, I’ve climbed in many hot climates across the world since almost freezing to death on Mt. McKinley and they bring with them their own set of problems. The hot and sweaty climates play havoc with my skin grafts and I have to watch them much more than on a freezing mountain. The risk of infection is much higher and the chances of damaging them increased. All that said, I was invited to climb around Rio de Janeiro by good friends Fiona and Felipe and couldn’t resist…
During my past 20 years of world travel the way we communicate has changed beyond many peoples imagination. For centuries the handwritten letter, which had carried news of great empires, battles, decrees and Royal announcements was abandoned for the world of satellites and WiFi.
No-one is quite sure when the tradition of Shrovetide Football started in Ashbourne, but many believe it was before the mists rose from the dawn of time (or in the middle ages anyway). Whatever the history, the game is a legendary contest between two sides, played throughout the Derbyshire town over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The BBC do excellent local coverage…
Ok, so I’m not a horse, but if you want to know what it’s like to climb in the remote mountains of Tien Shan, then come and hear me speak on March 10th at St. John’s Church Memorial Hall, Hazelwood, nr Belper, Derbyshire.
For almost 20 years I have climbed in the Scottish Mountains during winter. They hold a magical place in the history of Mountaineering and many pioneering climbs were done here before people moved to tackle peaks across the world. I have just returned from the Cairngorms where conditions were typically Scottish. When I say that I mean, nature bringing everything from beautiful sunshine to blasting blizzards in a day! I spent a week with two climbing friends in the Northern Corries climbing exposed ridges and snow gullies in very different conditions… Continue reading “Scotland the (not so) brave…”
No matter how experienced we might think we are, at times it is vitally important we go back to basics. When I say that I mean learning once again the simple elements to the skills we have. As a speaker these could be in planning or delivery, and as a skier it could be in position and weights. Recently in Austria I skied on new ski’s and bindings, which brought new and testing sensations to my injured feet. At 42 I found it hard to adapt to my new kit, and soon realised that I needed to go back to basics… Continue reading “Going back to basics…”
A few years ago on the slopes above Meribel I bumped into some of the RAF Telemark Ski Team. They asked me if I had a light, I said no, but offered them a hip-flask full of Whisky. One of them was a medical officer and noticed my shortened fingers. She asked “are you badly injured?” I explained my situation and within minutes I was having tea with a Major and stood surrounded by people shaking their heads in disbelief. “You can’t ski telemark without toes!” they said. It sounded like the same voices that said I’d never climb again after suffering severe frostbite. It was the start of a relationship that has seen me ski with the Army Telemark Ski Association, the GB Telemark Team, lecture at Sandhurst and the Royal Citadel in England, and Rauris in Austria. Continue reading “Making assumptions…”
Life is based on risk. We would not have been born unless our mothers took risks, yet the modern world seems to be hell bent on removing them. When I say removing, should I say eradicating them and stersalising life. We have evolved as human beings by taking risks – from planting the first crops to crossing the great oceans of our world.
Christmas comes but once a year, and when it comes, it brings good cheer, oh and decorations, shopping, wrapping, panic and bedlam. The modern world is possessed with the desire of want rather than of need, and constantly demands more. I mentioned this to Zena Hawley of the Derby Telegraph as we talked about my recent invitation to Buckingham Palace (see my blog on a Royal Night to Remember).
I still feel a bit shell-shocked from last nights reception as I write this blog, but I’ll do my best…
I often come home from an expedition and find the doormat covered in post. Many of the letters are full of sales pamphlets, offers and bills, but one postmarked Buckingham Palace caught my eye. I carefully opened the envelope to find a wonderful invitation to the Palace to commemerate Robert Falcon Scott’s fateful South Pole journey in 1911 – 1912.
The Kendal Mountain Festival is the highlight of the climbing calendar in the UK, but for me it wasn’t always that way. I had visited the festival years back and even had my Discovery Channel documentary “Nightmare at 20,000ft” premiered there, but I always felt a little lost. Was it because I was on my own? Or the fact that I didn’t know a soul? Who knows, but it all changed one day on the Hornli Ridge.
It’s on occasions like this where countries stand still and pay their respects. War is not something to be celebrated, nor is it something that should be boasted about. It is something whose lessons need to be learned unless we risk repeating the destruction that it can bring.
As a professional speaker I find it difficult not to criticise others on stage about this or that. Is their layout good? Are their images of high quality? Can the presenter speak well and engage their audience? This was an evening where I had nothing to worry about. Julie Summers presented ‘Everest needs you Mr. Irvine’ at Derby Guildhall and stunned us all with her incredible knowledge, depth of research, wonderful pictures and heartfelt passion about her Great Uncle, Sandy Irvine.
I love speaking on the radio. Whether it’s a live broadcast in a studio or a pre-record on a telephone line, radio interviews allow wonderful debate and are easy to listen to when we are on the move or when we are working.
September is the month when Balls, Parties and Speaking Engagements return from the summer break. I’ve spoken in numerous schools across the UK with my keynote ‘Once Bitten’ and have a busy few months coming up. My messages of Self Belief, Determination and Turning Your Ideas into Reality seem to be proving popular.
Apart from being an amazing score on a Scrabble board, you’ve probably thought little about Kyrgyzstan, or the Kyrgyz Republic, which is one of the world’s six independent Turkic states. One translation of Kyrgyz is thought to mean unconquerable or undefeatable.