Eric Shipton

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Eric Earle Shipton, CBE (1 August 1907 – 28 March 1977), was an English Himalayan mountaineer.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Contents

Early years

Shipton was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1907 where his father, a tea planter, died before he was three years old. When he was eight, his mother brought him to London for his education. When he failed the entrance exam to Harrow School, his mother sent him to Pyt House School in Wiltshire. His first encounter with mountains was at 15 when he visited the Pyrenees with his family. [1] The next summer he spent travelling in Norway with a school friend [2] and within a year he had begun climbing seriously.

Sri Lanka Island country in South Asia

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is Public School for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Wiltshire County of England

Wiltshire is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge.

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 where 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, 7756 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 1933 Mount Everest expedition and the follow-up in 1936, the 1935 Mount Everest expedition which was Shipton's first as leader and the first for Tenzing Norgay, and the pioneering 1951 Mount Everest 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.

Kenya republic in East Africa

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in Africa with 47 semiautonomous counties governed by elected governors. At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and also an inland port on Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.

Mount Kenya mountain range

Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana. Mount Kenya is located in the former Eastern and central provinces of Kenya, now Meru, Embu, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi counties, about 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi) south of the equator, around 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya.

Bill Tilman British explorer

Major Harold William "Bill" Tilman, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar, was an English mountaineer and explorer, renowned for his Himalayan climbs and sailing voyages.

Second World War

During the Second World War, Shipton was appointed as HM Consul at Kashgar in western China, where he remained 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 1943–44. 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. [3]

Kashgar County-level city in Xinjiang, Peoples Republic of China

Kashgar, officially known as Kashi, is an oasis city in Xinjiang, People's Republic of China. It is one of the westernmost cities of China, near the border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. With a population of over 500,000, Kashgar has served as a trading post and strategically important city on the Silk Road between China, the Middle East, and Europe for over 2,000 years.

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. [4] 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. In the 1951 Everest expedition, Shipton and Dr Michael Ward also took photographs of the footprints of what may have been the Yeti (Abominable Snowman), an ice axe being included in the photographs to show scale. Because of his belief in the efficacy of small expeditions as compared to military-style 'sieges', 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 wrote. 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 led a group of students from the Imperial College of Science to the Karakoram.

Muztagh Ata mountain

Muztagh Ata, or Muztagata, is the second highest of the mountains which form the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. It is sometimes regarded as being part of the Kunlun Mountains, although physically it is more closely connected to the Pamirs. It is also one of the relatively easier 7,000 m peaks in the world to climb, due to its gentle western slope and the comparatively drier weather of Xinjiang, though a thorough acclimatization period and a very strong physical condition are crucial for success.

Shiptons Arch

Shipton's Arch (Uyghur: تۆشۈك تاغ‎, ULY: Töshük tagh, UYY: Tɵxük taƣ, USY: Төшүк тағ , literally "Hole Mountain"; simplified Chinese: 阿图什天门; traditional Chinese: 阿圖什天門; pinyin: Ātúshí tiānmén; Wade–Giles: A1t'u2shih2 t'ien1men2; literally: 'Artux Heavenly Gate' or simply simplified Chinese: 天门; traditional Chinese: 天門; pinyin: Tiānmén; Wade–Giles: T'ien1men2; literally: 'Heavenly Gate') is a conglomerate natural arch in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is located in Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture west-northwest of Kashgar, near the village of Artux, at an altitude of 2,973 metres (9,754 ft).

Rolwaling Himal

Rolwāling Himāl, , knows as a (Gaurishankar) rural municipality, is a section of the Himalayas in east-central Nepal along the Tibet border. Rolwaling Himal includes Melungtse 7181m and Melungtse II 7023m inside Tibet and Gaurishankar 7134m on the Nepal border with some 50 additional peaks over 6000m, all extending from the Nangpa La pass where the Mahalangur section begins, southwest to the Tamakosi River. The Labuche Himal section rises beyond the Tamakosi to the northwest. Rolwaling Himal is bounded on the south by the Rolwaling Valley which contain several small sherpa's villages, the largest town in the area. It would take five to six days to reach Namche Bazaar after pass Tasilapcha. Visitors can trek to Everest base camp or trek to Lukla and fly to Kathmandu

Final years

For the last decade of his life, Shipton continued to travel, 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 in Wiltshire. [5]

Rhodesia former country in Africa

Rhodesia was an unrecognised state in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the de facto successor state to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which had been self-governing since achieving responsible government in 1923. A landlocked nation, Rhodesia was bordered by South Africa to the south, Bechuanaland to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east.

Salisbury Cathedral city in Wiltshire, England

Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath.

Fonthill Lake lake in the United Kingdom

Fonthill Lake is a lake in southwest Wiltshire, England.

Honours

Family

Shipton's grand-daughter Zoe Shipton is an eminent geologist. [6]

Mountaineering highlights 1922–1973

Bibliography

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References

  1. Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN   0-89886-603-0)
  2. Shipton, Eric. Upon That Mountain. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1943.
  3. Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN   0-89886-603-0)
  4. Shipton, Eric. That Untravelled World Hodder & Stoughton, 1969. ISBN   0-340-04330-X
  5. Steele, Peter, Eric Shipton: Everest and Beyond (Mountaineers' Books, ISBN   0-89886-603-0)
  6. The Life Scientific 3'24"
  7. Shipton, Eric: The Six Mountain-Travel Books Diadem Books 1985 pp. 796–800

Further reading