Simon Yates – ‘The Stans’: climbing in Central Asia after the fall of the Iron Curtain

Date: Saturday 23 September

Time: 7.00pm/7.30pm (to be confirmed)

Venue: University of Cumbria, Rydal Road, Ambleside

Tickets: £5,  FREE admission for college students 

Mountaineer Simon Yates first visited Central Asia in 1991 when the mountains of the region suddenly opened to Western climbers having been almost permanently closed since the Russian Revolution. By the end of that summer the USSR was no more and the Central Asian Republics became the sovereign states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  The ‘Stans’ were born and Simon has continued to visit, travel and climb in the area ever since.

Come and share his experiences of the little-visited Tien Shan, Pamirs and Fan Mountains. Stunning images, dry humour and an incite full overview of this fascinating and quirky mountainous region. This is also the premier of a new talk he has not given before.

Simon is one of the most famous and accomplished exploratory mountaineers of his time. Best known for his harrowing expedition to the Andes documented in the book ‘Touching the Void’ (also a superb film), he continues to climb the most remote and rarely explored mountain ranges of the world.

‘Life and death’ is a common phrase used to express a difficult decision, but few people ever really have to face the reality of that choice. Simon is a man who had to take such a decision, whilst trapped on his descent from Peru’s Siula Grande with climbing partner Joe Simpson. Believing Joe to be dead on the end of the rope, and being slowly pulled off the mountain whilst losing all feeling in his hands, Simon was forced to make the stark decision to cut the rope that joined them in order to save his own life – a story retold in Joe’s best-selling book and the BAFTA award-winning film  that made both men household names.

Since this fateful expedition in 1985, Simon has gone on to climb in some of the most remote and rarely explored mountain ranges of the world, making eleven visits to the Pakistani Karakoram, climbing numerous peaks including first ascents of Leyla Peak (6300m) and Nemeka (6400m) in Hushe. He succeeded with a team making the first British ascents of Khan Tengri (6995m) in Kazakhstan and for a time concentrated on big wall climbing in Patagonia and Baffin Island – his most notable achievement a new route on the Central Tower of Paine in Chile.