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Chris Bonington
Sir Chris Bonington.jpg
Personal information
Full name Christian John Storey Bonington
Main discipline Mountaineering
Other disciplines Climbing, Alpinism, Art
Born (1934-08-06) 6 August 1934 (age 89)
Hampstead, London, England
Nationality British
Notable ascents Annapurna II (1960)
Nuptse (1961)
North Wall of the Eiger (1962)
Old Man of Hoy (1966)
Changabang (1975)
Baintha Brakk/Ogre (1977)
Kongur (1981)
Mount Everest (1985)
Famous partnerships Ian Clough, Don Whillans, Jan Długosz
Wendy Bonington
(m. 1962; died 2014)

Loreto Herman
(m. 2016)
Children Conrad (died 1966)
Daniel (b. 1967)
Rupert (b. 1969)

Sir Christian John Storey Bonington, CVO, CBE, DL (born 6 August 1934) is a British mountaineer.

His career has included nineteen expeditions to the Himalayas, including four to Mount Everest.

Early life and expeditions

Bonington's father, who left the family when Christian was nine months old, was a founding member of L Detachment, Special Air Service. Bonington first began climbing in 1951 at age 16. Educated at University College School in Hampstead, Bonington joined the Royal Fusiliers before attending Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and on graduation was commissioned in the Royal Tank Regiment in 1956. After serving three years in North Germany, he spent two years at the Army Outward Bound School as a mountaineering instructor.

Bonington was part of the party that made the first British ascent of the South West Pillar (aka Bonatti Pillar) of the Aiguille du Dru in 1958, and the first ascent of the Central Pillar of Freney on the south side of Mont Blanc in 1961 with Don Whillans, Ian Clough and Jan Dlugosz (Poland). In 1960 he was part of the successful joint British-Indian-Nepalese forces expedition to Annapurna II.

On leaving the British Army in 1961, he joined Van den Berghs, a division of Unilever, but he left after nine months, and became a professional mountaineer and explorer. In 1966 he was given his first assignment by The Daily Telegraph Magazine to cover other expeditions, including climbing Sangay in Ecuador and hunting caribou with Inuit on Baffin Island. In 1968 he accompanied Captain John Blashford-Snell and his British Army team in the attempt to make the first-ever descent of the Blue Nile.

In 1972 he was unsuccessful on the south-west face of Mount Everest, but reached 27,300 feet. He had another shot at that route in 1975, and the 1975 British Mount Everest Southwest Face expedition that he led was successful--it put four climbers on the summit, but Mick Burke died during his summit attempt.


Bonington has written or edited numerous books, made many television appearances, and received many honours, including the chancellorship of Lancaster University from 2005 to 2014. He is honorary president of the Hiking Club and Lancaster University Mountaineering Club and has a boat named after him among Lancaster University Boat Club's fleet. Furthermore, he is the Honorary President of the British Orienteering Federation. He has lived in Cumbria since 1974. He is a patron, and former president (1988–91), of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). He succeeded Edmund Hillary as the Honorary President of Mountain Wilderness, an international NGO dedicated to the preservation of mountain areas, in their natural and cultural aspects.

Personal life

Bonington was married to Wendy, a freelance illustrator of children's books. She died on 24 July 2014 from motor neuron disease (MND), inspiring Bonington to support MND charities. The couple had three children: Conrad (died 1966), Daniel ("Joe") and Rupert. The family lived at Caldbeck, Cumbria.

Bonington married Loreto McNaught-Davis on Saturday 23 April 2016. McNaught-Davis is the widow of mountaineer and television presenter Ian McNaught-Davis who died in February 2014. The ceremony took place in London in the presence of about 60 friends and family members, including Bonington's son Rupert.


In 1974 Bonington received the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1985 he received the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. St. Helen's School, Northwood, England has named one of its four houses after him. Bonington was presented with the Golden Eagle Award for services to the outdoors in 2008 by the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2003 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel at a hotel in Heathrow.


Bonington was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1976 in recognition of the previous year's successful ascent of Everest and was knighted in 1996 for his services to the sport. He was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2010 Birthday Honours for his services to the Outward Bound Trust. He was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Cumbria in 2004.

Notable climbs

  • 1960 Annapurna II (First ascent) with Richard Grant and Sherpa Ang Nyima
  • 1961 Central Pillar of Freney, Mont Blanc (First ascent) with Ian Clough, Don Whillans and Jan Długosz
  • 1962 North Wall of the Eiger (First British ascent) with Ian Clough
  • 1963 Central Tower of Paine, Patagonia (First ascent) with Don Whillans
  • 1964 Cime de l'Est NE Ridge, Dents du Midi, (First ascent) with John Harlin and Rusty Baillie
  • 1965 Coronation Street, Cheddar Gorge (First ascent)
  • 1966 Old Man of Hoy (First ascent) with Tom Patey
  • 1973 Brammah (6411 metres; 21,033') (First ascent) with Nick Estcourt
  • 1974 Changabang, Garhwal Himalaya (6864 metres; 22,520') (First ascent) with Don Whillans, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston
  • 1975 Southwest face of Mount Everest (8848 metres; 29,029')
  • 1977 Baintha Brakk (7285 metres; 23,900') (First ascent) with Doug Scott
  • 1981 Kongur Tagh (7719 metres; 25,325') (First ascent) with Joe Tasker, Al Rouse and Pete Boardman
  • 1983 West Summit of Shivling, Gangotri (6501 metres; 21,329') (First Ascent)
  • 1983 Vinson Massif (4897 metres; 16,066') (First British ascent – solo)
  • 1985 Mount Everest as member of Norwegian Everest Expedition
  • 1987 Menlungtse (7181 metres; 23,560') attempted FA of main peak via South Buttress, to 6100 metres; 20,013'; w/ Odd Eliason, Bjorn Myrer-Lund, Torgeir Fosse, Helge Ringdal (all Norwegian) and Jim Fotheringham (UK).
  • 1988 Menlungtse West (7023 metres; 23,041') FA via West Ridge, (expedition leader). Summit attained by Andy Fanshawe and Alan Hinkes (both UK), with David Breashears and Steve Shea (both USA) in support.
  • 2014 The Old Man of Hoy (137 metres; 450') to mark his 80th birthday and to raise funds for motor neuron disease charities

Expedition leader

Although expedition leader, Bonington did not reach the summit of these peaks on these expeditions

Mount Everest record

Chris Bonington briefly became the oldest known person to summit Mount Everest in April 1985, at the age of 50. He was surpassed by Richard Bass (of Seven Summits fame), who summited later that same season at 55 years old, five years older than Bonington. The record has been surpassed multiple times since.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Chris Bonington para niños

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