In Mischief's Wake

In Mischief's Wake

Author: Harold Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461376

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 172

View: 130

‘I felt like one who had first betrayed and then deserted a stricken friend; a friend with whom for the past fourteen years I had spent more time at sea than on land, and who, when not at sea, had seldom been out of my thoughts.’ The first of the three voyages described in this book gives H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s account of the final voyage and loss of Mischief, the Bristol Channel pilot cutter in which he had sailed over 100,000 miles to high latitudes in both Arctic and Antarctic waters. Back home, refusing to accept defeat and going against the advice of his surveyor, he takes ownership of Sea Breeze, built in 1899; ‘a bit long in the tooth, but no more so, in fact a year less, than her prospective owner’. After extensive remedial work, his first attempt at departure had to be cut short when the crew ‘enjoyed a view of the Isle of Wight between two of the waterline planks’. After yet more expense, Sea Breeze made landfall in Iceland before heading north toward the East Greenland coast in good shape and well stocked with supplies. A mere forty miles from the entrance to Scoresby Sound, Tilman’s long sought-after objective, ‘a polite mutiny’ forced him to abandon the voyage and head home. The following year, with a crew game for all challenges, a series of adventures on the west coast of Greenland gave Tilman a voyage he considered ‘certainly the happiest’, in a boat which was proving to be a worthy successor to his beloved Mischief.

Mischief in Greenland

Mischief in Greenland

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461253

Category: Travel

Page: 288

View: 479

‘Only a man in the devil of a hurry would wish to fly to his mountains, forgoing the lingering pleasure and mounting excitement of a slow, arduous approach under his own exertions.’ H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s mountain travel philosophy, rooted in Africa and the Himalaya and further developed in his early sailing adventures in the southern hemisphere, was honed to perfection with his discovery of Greenland as the perfect sailing destination. His Arctic voyages in the pilot cutter Mischief proved no less challenging than his earlier southern voyages. The shorter elapsed time made it rather easier to find a crew but the absence of warm tropical passages meant that similar levels of hardship were simply compressed into a shorter timescale. First published fifty years before political correctness became an accepted rule, Mischief in Greenland is a treasure trove of Tilman’s observational wit. In this account of his first two West Greenland voyages, he pulls no punches with regard to the occasional failings, leaving the reader to seek out and discover the numerous achievements of these voyages. The highlight of the second voyage was the identification, surveying and successful first ascent of Mount Raleigh, first observed on the eastern coast of Baffin Island by the Elizabethan explorer John Davis in 1585. For the many sailors and climbers who have since followed his lead and ventured north into those waters, Tilman provides much practical advice, whether from his own observations or those of Davis and the inimitable Captain Lecky. Tilman’s typical gift of understatement belies his position as one of the greatest explorers and adventurers of the twentieth century.

Mountaineering Literature

Mountaineering Literature

Author: Jill Neate

Publisher: The Mountaineers Books

ISBN: 0938567047

Category: History

Page: 300

View: 231

Long established as a standard reference work worldwide, this is a thorough bibliography of all mountaineering books that are of practical use to climbers or for reading pleasure or historical interest. Documenting more than 2000 books of mountaineering literature, it also includes nearly 900 climber's guidebooks, a sampling of more than 400 works of mountaineering fiction, plus journals and bibliographies.

Ice with Everything

Ice with Everything

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461413

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 160

View: 982

‘For most men, as Epicurus has remarked, rest is stagnation and activity madness. Mad or not, the activity that I have been pursuing for the last twenty years takes the form of voyages to remote, mountainous regions.’ H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s fourteenth book describes three more of those voyages, ‘the first comparatively humdrum, the second totally disastrous, and the third exceedingly troublesome’. The first voyage describes Tilman’s 1971 attempt to reach East Greenland’s remote and ice-bound Scoresby Sound. The largest fjord system in the world was named after the father of Whitby whaling captain, William Scoresby, who first charted the coastline in 1822. Scoresby’s two-volume Account of the Arctic Regions provided much of the historical inspiration for Tilman’s northern voyages and fuelled his fascination with Scoresby Sound and the unclimbed mountains at its head. Tilman’s first attempt to reach the fjord had already cost him his first boat, Mischief, in 1968. The following year, a ‘polite mutiny’ aboard Sea Breeze had forced him to turn back within sight of the entrance, so with a good crew aboard in 1971, it was particularly frustrating for Tilman to find the fjord blocked once more, this time by impenetrable sea ice at the entrance. Refusing to give up, Tilman’s obsession with Scoresby Sound continued in 1972 when a series of unfortunate events led to the loss of Sea Breeze, crushed between a rock and an ice floe. Safely back home in Wales, the inevitable search for a new boat began. ‘One cannot buy a biggish boat as if buying a piece of soap. The act is almost as irrevocable as marriage and should be given as much thought.’ The 1902 pilot cutter Baroque, was acquired and after not inconsiderable expense, proved equal to the challenge. Tilman’s first troublesome voyage aboard her to West Greenland in 1973 completes this collection.

High Mountains and Cold Seas

High Mountains and Cold Seas

Author: J.R.L. Anderson

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461451

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 420

Harold William ‘Bill’ Tilman (1898 –1977) was among the greatest adventurers of his time, a pioneering mountaineer and sailor who held exploration above all else. The son of a Liverpool sugar importer, Tilman joined the army at seventeen and was twice awarded the Military Cross for bravery during WWI. After the war Tilman left for Africa, establishing himself as a coffee grower. He met Eric Shipton and they began their famed mountaineering partnership, traversing Mount Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro. Turning to the Himalaya, Tilman went on two Mount Everest expeditions, reaching 27,000 feet without oxygen in 1938. In 1936 he made the first ascent of Nanda Devi, the highest mountain climbed until 1950. He was the first European to climb in the remote Assam Himalaya, delved into Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and explored extensively in Nepal, all the while developing a mountaineering style characterised by its simplicity and emphasis on exploration. It was perhaps logical that Tilman would eventually buy the pilot cutter Mischief, not with the intention of retiring from travelling, but to access remote mountains. For twenty-two years he sailed Mischief and her successors in search of them—to Patagonia, where he made the first easterly crossing of the ice cap, to Baffin Island to make the first ascent of Mount Raleigh, to Greenland, Spitsbergen, and islands in the far Southern Ocean, before disappearing in the South Atlantic in 1977. J.R.L. Anderson’s High Mountains and Cold Seas draws on a wealth of personal correspondence between Tilman—a compulsive letter writer—and his immediate family and close friends, crafting the first detailed account of the extraordinary life of this remarkable, but very private individual.

China to Chitral

China to Chitral

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461352

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 184

View: 306

In China to Chitral H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman completes one of his great post-war journeys. He travels from Central China, crossing Sinkiang, the Gobi and Takla Makan Deserts, before escaping to a crumbling British Empire with a crossing of the Karakoram to the new nation of Pakistan. In 1951 there still persisted a legend that a vast mountain, higher than Everest, was to be found in the region, a good enough reason it seems for Tilman to traverse the land, ‘a land shut in on three sides by vast snow ranges whose glacial streams nourish the oases and upon whose slopes the yaks and camels graze side by side; where in their felt yorts the Kirghiz and Kazak live much as they did in the days of Genghis Khan, except now they no longer take a hand in the devastation of Europe’. Widely regarded as some of Tilman’s finest travel writing, China to Chitral is full of understatement and laconic humour, with descriptions of disastrous attempts on unclimbed mountains with Shipton, including Bogdo Ola—an extension of the mighty Tien Shan mountains—and the Chakar Aghil group near Kashgar on the old silk road. His command of the Chinese language—five words, all referring to food—proves less than helpful in his quest to find a decent meal: ‘fortunately, in China there are no ridiculous hygienic regulations on the sale of food’. Tilman also has several unnerving encounters with less-than-friendly tribesmen ... Tilman starts proper in Lanchow where he describes with some regret that he is less a traveller and more a passenger on this great traverse of the central basin and rim of mountain ranges at Asia’s heart. But Tilman is one of our greatest ever travel writers, and we become a passenger to his adventurers.

Triumph and Tribulation

Triumph and Tribulation

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461437

Category: Travel

Page: 202

View: 918

‘Experience is said to be the name men give to their mistakes and of the experience I gained in Spitsbergen that may well be true.’ The circumnavigation of Spitsbergen is the first of three voyages described in H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s fifteenth and final book, a remarkable example of Tilman's ability to triumph when supported by a crew game for all challenges. The 1974 voyage of the pilot cutter Baroque takes Tilman to his furthest north—the highest latitude of any of his travels in the northern or southern hemisphere. The account of this achievement makes compelling reading, the crew pulling together to avert potential disaster from a navigational misjudgement. A younger, less experienced crew join Tilman in 1975, this time heading north along Greenland’s west coast until a break in the boom necessitates the abandonment of the objective and an early return. ‘That one can never be quite confident of reaching any of the places I aim at may be part of their charm, and failure is at least an excuse for making another voyage.’ The following year proves to be Tilman’s last voyage in his own boat, his account beginning with a dry nod to his artillery background: ‘As I begin to describe this voyage, the discrepancy between the target and the fall of shot provokes a wry smile.’ Tilman never expected crews to pay, covering all the costs of his voyages personally. He therefore held the quite reasonable view that his crew would pull their weight, show loyalty to the ship and take the rough with the smooth. Sadly, the crew in 1976 fell far short of that expectation, forcing several changes of plan and eventually obliging Tilman to leave Baroque in Iceland. Not for the first time in Tilman’s remarkable 140,000 miles of voyaging is he moved to quote Conrad: ‘Ships are all right, it's the men in them.’ Tilman set a high standard and led by example; where his companions rose to the challenge, as they did in the majority of his expeditions, the results were often remarkable. Triumph and Tribulation closes this newly extended edition of his literary legacy, a fine testament to a remarkable life.

The Ascent of Nanda Devi

The Ascent of Nanda Devi

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461192

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 212

View: 321

In 1934, after fifty years of trying, mountaineers finally gained access to the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in the Garhwal Himalaya. Two years later an expedition led by H.W. Tilman reached the summit of Nanda Devi. At over 25,000 feet, it was the highest mountain to be climbed until 1950. The Ascent of Nanda Devi, Tilman’s account of the climb, has been widely hailed as a classic. Keenly observed, well informed and at times hilariously funny, it is as close to a ‘conventional’ mountaineering account as Tilman could manage. Beginning with the history of the mountain (‘there was none’) and the expedition’s arrival in India, Tilman recounts the build-up and approach to the climb. Writing in his characteristic dry style, he tells how Sherpas are hired, provisions are gathered (including ‘a mouth-blistering sauce containing 100 per cent chillies’) and the climbers head into the hills, towards Nanda Devi. Superbly parodied in The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman, The Ascent of Nanda Devi was among the earliest accounts of a climbing expedition to be published. Much imitated but rarely matched, it remains one of the best.

When Men & Mountains Meet

When Men & Mountains Meet

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461239

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 288

View: 178

‘We had climbed a mountain and crossed a pass; been wet, cold, hungry, frightened, and withal happy. One more Himalayan season was over. It was time to begin thinking of the next. “Strenuousness is the immortal path, sloth is the way of death.”’ First published in 1946, the scope of H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s When Men & Mountains Meet is broad, covering his disastrous expedition to the Assam Himalaya, a small exploratory trip into Sikkim, and then his wartime heroics. In the thirties, Assam was largely unknown and unexplored. It proved a challenging environment for Tilman’s party, the jungle leaving the men mosquito-bitten and suffering with tropical diseases, and thwarting their mountaineering success. Sikkim proved altogether more successful. Tilman, who is once again happy and healthy, enjoys some exploratory ice climbing and discovers Abominable Snowman tracks, particularly remarkable as the creature appeared to be wearing boots—‘there is no reason why he should not have picked up a discarded pair at the German Base Camp and put them to their obvious use’. And then, in 1939, war breaks out. With good humour and characteristic understatement we hear about Tilman’s remarkable Second World War. After digging gun pits on the Belgian border and in Iraq, he was dropped by parachute behind enemy lines to fight alongside Albanian and Italian partisans. Tilman was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his efforts-and the keys to the city of Belluno, which he helped save from occupation and destruction. Tilman’s comments on the German approach to Himalayan climbing could equally be applied to his guerrilla warfare ethos. ‘They spent a lot of time and money and lost a lot of climbers and porters, through bad luck and more often through bad judgement.’ While elsewhere the war machine rumbled on, Tilman’s war was fast, exciting, lightweight and foolhardy-and makes for gripping reading.

Snow on the Equator

Snow on the Equator

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461154

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 300

View: 384

To those who went to the War straight from school and survived it, the problem of what to do afterwards was peculiarly difficult.' For H.W. 'Bill' Tilman, the solution lay in Africa: in gold prospecting, mountaineering and a 3,000-mile bicycle ride across the continent. Tilman was one of the greatest adventurers of his time, a pioneering climber and sailor who held exploration above all else. He made first ascents throughout the Himalaya, attempted Mount Everest, and sailed into the Arctic Circle. For Tilman, the goal was always to explore, to see new places, to discover rather than conquer. First published in 1937, Snow on the Equator chronicles Tilman's early adventures; his transition from East African coffee planter to famed mountaineer. After World War I, Tilman left for Africa, where he grew coffee, prospected for gold and met Eric Shipton, the two beginning their famed mountaineering partnership, traversing Mount Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro and Ruwenzori. Tilman eventually left Africa in typically adventurous style via a 3,000-mile solo bicycle ride across the continent-all recounted here in splendidly funny style. Tilman is one of the greatest of all travel writers. His books are well-informed and keenly observed, concerned with places and people as much as summits and achievements. They are full of humour and anecdotes and are frequently hilarious. He is part of the great British tradition of comic writing and there is nobody else quite like him.

Mount Everest 1938

Mount Everest 1938

Author: H.W. Tilman

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 9781909461277

Category: Travel

Page: 216

View: 725

It’s 1938, the British have thrown everything they’ve got at Everest but they’ve still not reached the summit. War in Europe seems inevitable; the Empire is shrinking. Still reeling from failure in 1936, the British are granted one more permit by the Tibetans, one more chance to climb the mountain. Only limited resources are available, so can a small team be assembled and succeed where larger teams have failed? H.W. Tilman is the obvious choice to lead a select team made up of some of the greatest British mountaineers history has ever known, including Eric Shipton, Frank Smythe and Noel Odell. Indeed, Tilman favours this lightweight approach. He carries oxygen but doesn’t trust it or think it ethical to use it himself, and refuses to take luxuries on the expedition, although he does regret leaving a case of champagne behind for most of his time on the mountain. On the mountain, the team is cold, the weather very wintery. It is with amazing fortitude that they establish a camp six at all, thanks in part to a Sherpa going by the family name of Tensing. Tilman carries to the high camp, but exhausted he retreats, leaving Smythe and Shipton to settle in for the night. He records in his diary, ‘Frank and Eric going well—think they may do it.’ But the monsoon is fast approaching ... In Mount Everest 1938, first published in 1948, Tilman writes that it is difficult to give the layman much idea of the actual difficulties of the last 2,000 feet of Everest. He returns to the high camp and, in exceptional style, they try for the ridge, the route to the summit and those immense difficulties of the few remaining feet.