A Brief Golden Light: An Evening with John Porter - Oct 16

John Porter, President of The Alpine Club in the UK, was a part of "the generation that nearly climbed itself into extinction". He'll be joining us at the Seattle Program Center on October 16 to share the incredible stories from that era. Join us!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 24, 2019

John Porter has been called a climber's climber. A member of "the generation that nearly climbed itself into extinction", John currently serves as president of The Alpine Club, the world's first mountaineering club founded in the UK in 1857. John has been a part of many notable first ascents and wrote the biography of famed British mountaineer Alex MacIntryre. Join us to hear John's incredible tales of mountaineering achievement and failures.

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Between 1976 and 1986, an extraordinary number of new and difficult first ascents were being pioneered in the Himalaya by British climbers and their partners from around the world. Every climber was committed to applying alpine-style climbing tactics to the greater ranges.  Unclimbed ascents of 8000m peaks and ridges, including the Dhaulagiri East Face, Shishapangma South Face, Kanchenjunga NW Face, and many more technically difficult routes on peaks like Changabang, the Ogre, Bandaka, and Kantega, were the achievements of the day.

John Porter on N3

The race was on to complete the purist lines before they were climbed by fixed ropes expeditions. No one knew what the limits were and there was a heavy price to pay, hence the name “the generation that nearly climbed itself into extinction." Among the main British exponents were Joe Tasker, Pete Boardman, Alex MacIntyre, Doug Scott, Roger Baxter Jones, Al Rouse, Voytek Kurtyka, the Burgess Twins, and partners from Europe, including Voytek Kurtyka, George Battenberg, Jurek Kukuczka and, Reni Ghilini. Not all of them lived to see the end of the race.

In this presentation, John will describe his personal mountaineering history, including climbs of the northeast face of Bandaka, the south face of Changabang (both still unrepeated), Everest in winter, Annapurna, and K2 in 1986 (which culminated with the death of Alan Rouse), and the incomparable style in which these summits were reached. 

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About John Porter

John lives with his wife and daughters in Caldbeck, England, and works as a consultant in energy supply chains. He's developed a number of mountain culture projects, creating the Kendal Mountain Festival in 1980, the Mountain Heritage Trust in 1999, and SteepEdge.com in 2009. His biography of Alex MacIntyre, One Day as a Tiger, published by Vertebrate Publishing, won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival in 2014, and many awards since. It is the first book by a mountaineer to be shortlisted for the Times Cross Sports Book of the Year. The book is now available in 8 languages. John is the current President of the UK-based Alpine Club.