Monthly Archives: August 2015

British heritage in Chamonix for ten glorious months !

From June 29th  to November 2nd 2015 and from December 19th 2015 to April 17th 2016, a unique opportunity to discover British Mountaineering and cultural heritage in Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Treasures of the Alpine Club – Newsletter

For the first time in history,  the Treasures of the Alpine Club are being exhibited on the continent and indeed Chamonix is privileged to host this unique display of Alpine art and documentation.

Not only can visitors discover over 50 works by 36 nineteenth century artists, but a ground floor display describes and illustrates the genesis of mountaineering, a sporting and cultural activity which was born in the Chamonix Valley over 200 years ago.

Find out more about why the British played such a major role in the development of Alpine literature, art and exploration. Indeed it was an Englishman, Wyndham, who first named the Mer de Glace,  a Scot, Forbes, who drew the first map of this same glacier and an Irishman, Adams-Reilly who was the first to map the entire Mont-Blanc Massif during the Golden Age of Mountaineering.

During this period, the British conquered 31 of the 39 major summits across the Alps and the majority of these summits are immortalized in the magnificent collection of paintings at the Alpine Museum.

Interwiew with British alpinist Leo Houlding

Léo Houlding, Mirror Wall, Greenland

Léo Houlding, Mirror Wall, Greenland

Leo Houlding (born 28 July 1980) is a British rock climber widely considered one of the best speed climbers ever to have lived.  At the age of 18 Houlding became the first Briton to free climb El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley, and has gone on to climb many of its toughest lines.

In 2007 de joined the Altitude Everest Expedition, led by American climber and mountaineer, Conrad Anker, retracing the last steps of legendary British climber, George Mallory, on Everest. He subsequently appeared in the 2010 film The Wildest Dream along with Conrad Anker retracing the steps of George Mallory and ‘Sandy’ Irvine in order to recreate their journey up Mount Everest.

In August 2009 Houlding led a team of climbers and film makers to Mount Asgard on Baffin Island, Canada. They attempted to free climb a 15 pitch route up the north face of the mountain to create the first free route. Although over half of the ascent was eventually freed, the team were unable to complete the full free ascent within the available time. Houlding and American team member Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary BASE jumped from the summit. The ascent took 12 days and is featured in the 2010 film The Asgard Project.

In 2010 he completed his 10-year project “The Prophet”, making him the first Briton to complete a new free route on the famous El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California.

Houlding, in a talk at Kennedy School in Hong Kong, has stated that he fell in love with rock climbing when he went climbing with his father’s friend at the age of ten. He also remarked that climbing was a powerful and overwhelming experience.

In December 2012/ January 2013, a team led by Leo Houlding and including Alastair Lee, Chris Rabone, Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary, Jason Pickles and David Reeves made the first ascent of a new route up the north-east ridge of Ulvetanna Peak in Antarctica. The peak was described as ‘the most demanding peak on the world’s toughest continent’ via its fearsome north-east ridge. The film that was produced, The Last Great Climb premiered in London on 5 November 2013.

In July 2015, Leo Houlding led a team of five to complete a first ascent on the north west face of the Mirror Wall in remote Greenland. Climbing with Joe Möhle, Matt Pickles, Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington, Houlding succeeded in climbing a new route on the main face of the 1,200m peak. The team free climbed 23 of the 25 pitches and spent 12 nights on the wall. They topped out in an upwards snow storm at 4:20am on 22 July.