Ipswich: Touching the Void mountaineer comes to Cotswold Outdoor store

Mountaineer and adventurer Simon Yates is coming to Ipswich

Mountaineer and adventurer Simon Yates is coming to Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Acclaimed adventurer Simon Yates have faced more than his fair share of close shaves and life or death decisions during the last 30 years. You can ask him all about them when he visits Ipswich on Tuesday.

The globe-trotting mountaineer has joined forces with award-winning outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Cotswold Outdoor Ipswich and adventure travel specialist World Expeditions for the UK Wild Within Tour.

“It’s a climbing travelogue covering my climbs in the first decade of the new millennia. My climbing in that time has taken me to more and more mountain wilderness settings. People are going to see images of places they’re pretty unlikely to go to themselves because they’re very remote,” says Yates, who was bitten by the climbing bug on a school trip when he was 14.

As that interest grew bigger, so did the climbs; moving from ascending British mountains in the height of winter to the Alps and beyond.

“Over the years I’ve tried to climb in as many different places, as many mountainous areas as I can. It’s an inquisitiveness, that’s what drives me. A wanting to look over the horizon or round the corner.”

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The Against The Wall, The Flame of Adventure and most recently The Wild Within author will offer a rare insight into the physical isolation and challenges of visiting the world’s most remote and seldom-visited mountain regions, accompanied with stunning imagery, when he visits Ipswich.

“The images I’m showing, I use a bit of video as well; they’re unique. Some of the climbs you’re seeing, I’m documenting the first ascent; nobody’s ever been up that mountain before.”

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It must be an amazing feeling, reaching the top?

“Yeah... although it’s not like you can completely revel in it at that point and time because you’ve still got to get back down,” laughs the long-standing World Expeditions guide who in the coming months will be leading trips to climb volcanoes in Ecudor, trekking the Great Himalaya Trail and ascending the remote Mount Blackburn Alaska.

“There’s a fair bit of humour (during the talks). I don’t take myself too seriously and people generally find it pretty entertaining. (Humour is important),” he laughs again, “you do find yourself in ridiculous places and positions at times.”

He’s found himself in deadly serious positions too.

To many, Yates is best known for being the climber forced to cut Joe Simpson’s rope during their fateful descent in the Peruvian Andes in the mid-1980s – a story retold in Simpson’s best-selling book and BAFTA award-winning film Touching the Void.

“I still get asked about it all the time. Over the years you find yourself in situations where your life is under threat in the worst circumstances. (In those situations) usually you’re just pretty frightened.

“The worst things (are) where you think this could end very badly, you get caught in a rock fall or something like that... the air’s thick with rocks all round, going at an incredible speed and you know if one hits you it’s potentially going to kill you or do a great deal of damage if it doesn’t.

“You try to make yourself as small as possible and keep your fingers crossed,” he laughs. “You hunker down under your helmet, push your rucksack up to try to give your head a bit more protection. If you can pull yourself under or tight into the rock that’s really all you can do.”

The talk starts at 7pm, next Tuesday, at Cotswold Outdoor Ipswich, The Great White Horse Hotel, Tavern Street. There will also be a question and answer session, book signing and door prizes. Tickets cost £10 per person and booking is essential via https://secure.worldexpeditions.com/uk/index.php

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