Mountaineer Mick Fowler has three more dates left on the Berghaus Adventure Tour this week, and having seen last night’s show in Bristol I’d say get to one if you can. It’s brill.
I knew very little about Mick before yesterday – only that he’s a much-respected mountaineer, and I’d read the interview with him in November/December’s edition of Adventure Travel. The impression I got from the interview was that he was quite grown up and serious, somehow.
How wrong you can get things. Mick’s hilarious – pretty much every sentence he said had us laughing – and he also seems to be one of the most likeable, approachable, self-deprecating blokes you could meet.
He starts off the talk with a picture of himself in his day job: he’s a tax man, and his adventures are conducted as part of his annual holiday. He then explains how he got into mountaineering – through having a dad who took him up sheer rock faces as soon as he learnt to walk, and then from becoming obsessed with climbing, but wanting something a little bit more.
That little bit more led him first to climbing unclimbed routes in the UK – on sea stacks for example, but only the ones you have to get to by sailing or swimming. When he went on to climb in the Andes and the Himalayas, his criteria for choosing his next route became that it’s unclimbed, reaches the top of a mountain and has a good line that you can clearly see when you look at the hill. So nothing to do with highest or most famous – just unexplored and exciting.
The talk’s illustrated with photos from over 30 years of adventuring (and I bet you won’t laugh for as long as we did at the one with the horse). It’s short – about 40 minutes in the first half and 30 in the second – and it worked perfectly at this length, although I could have listened to him talk for a lot longer. The audience I reckon were 90% male, all ages and, judging by the gear they were wearing, all climbers themselves.
You didn’t need to be a climber though. (Or male. There was nothing 'laddish' about it.) I dragged my non-climbing brother Will along too, and I think he was even more made up by the evening than I was. Will spent half time listing friends he should have brought too. He was on the edge of his seat at the photos. And at the end of the evening he said, “I’d like to have that bloke round for dinner,” which sums Mick up nicely for me.
Mick Fowler’s talking tonight in Sheffield, Wednesday in Newcastle and Thursday in Edinburgh and tickets cost £10. Recruit your friends, whether they climb or not. Buy a snowplough. Go and see him.
For more info, see http://www.berghaus.com/community/?p=1409.