Chris Harle opens up a treasure trove of original Everest ascent photographs, courtesy of Ken Wilson

On Friday 20th November at The Kendal Mountain Festival Ken Wilson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Boardman Tasker Mountain Literature event.

He first came to prominence as the editor of the internationally renowned ‘Mountain’ magazine in the 1970s. He also produced the iconic Classic, Hard and Extreme Rock series, set up the publishing houses of Diadem and Bâton Wicks, and has been the voice and conscience of British climbing issues for 40 years.

When he retired and sold the Bâton Wicks business to Vertebrate Publishing in February 2013 he entrusted his considerable archive to Outside's "Book Man" Chris Harle. The majority of the documentary archive was passed on to the Mountain Heritage Trust but Chris has retained custodianship of the photographic archive.

"Managing this is a responsibility that I do not take lightly and my aim is to make this as available as possible for use in magazines, books, plus display in the Outside café and through our social media network. When you next visit the Outside café take time to look at the photos on the wall as you go up the stairs and in the balcony area. Many are original prints of photos taken by Ken Wilson."

So here is Chris' first offering:

The two photographs show part of a folder that Chris compiled from the archive. In this folder are all the original black & white prints used for ‘The Ascent of Everest’ published in 1953. You will notice the full-sized photographs of Tenzing and Hillary and how they were eventually cropped and used in the book.


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