This term’s Tom Avery Society Lecture was given by Dr Adele Pennington, one of Britain’s foremost mountaineers who has summited five of the worlds 8000m peaks, including Everest not once, but twice – the only British woman to have done so
Adele travelled down from her home in Fort William to give us a wonderfully stimulating talk, illustrated with vibrant slides and video clips, taking us through her 25 year climbing career. She described her early days as a climber and mountaineer and how she managed to pull back after a 30m fall in the Alps which left her paralysed in the bottom of a crevasse. Determined to climb the world’s highest mountains she left her teaching job and pursued a life as a mountaineering instructor. Topping out on Everest in 2008 and 2009 Adele set her sights on Makalu, another 8000m peak in the Himalayas. Disaster struck as she became ill and battled for her life to descend the mountain. After a long stint in hospital and major thoracic surgery Adele returned to Makalu to face and, eventually, overcome, her demons.
Throughout her talk she impressed the audience with her understated determination, her will to succeed and her ability to communicate her enthusiasm for all aspects of mountaineering, be they in Britain, the Alps or further afield in the Greater Ranges.
This was a truly inspirational evening which will have motivated all those who were fortunate enough to attend, to get out of their armchairs and follow their dreams.
Dr SAH Young
Head of Outdoor Education