The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

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Everest Centenary

From 2021 onwards, the Alpine Club will be marking the centenary of the three 1920s Everest expeditions with a series of exhibitions, talks, films and other media. All of the news regarding these activities will be posted here in one, easy to follow, feed.

 

Charles Howard-Bury Profiled in Digital Exhibition

Members may be interested to see this virtual exhibition, curated by Ian Kenneally and presented by Westmeath County Council and Belvedere House & Gardens.

‘We had experience of wonderful moments…’ commemorates the 1921 Everest expedition in this its centenary year, with a particular focus on the expedition lead Charles Howard-Bury.

It is a fantastic companion piece to our own Everest centenary exhibition and has been wonderfully presented with a mix of print, audio, video and photographic records, including some from the AC Library collection.

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Everest Exhibition to be Broadcast Live

On the 27 September at 16:00 UK time, the Alpine Club will broadcast a livestream of our latest exhibition: ‘Everest: by Those Who Were There’ via our Facebook page.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the very first Everest expedition in 1921 and uses the words and possessions of expedition members from 1921, 1922 and 1924 to tell the story of the first attempts to climb the world’s highest mountain – from the search for its exact location in 1921, to the fateful summit attempt of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine in 1924.


Sandy Irvine working on Oxygen cylinders in base camp, 1924. (Photo: Bentley Beetham)

The livestream will be presented by Alpine Club librarian Beth Hodgett (@AlpineLibrarian) and will provide viewers with both an overview of the 1920s expeditions and the opportunity to see many of the artefacts on display, including the watercolour paintings of Howard Somervell, a piece of the mountain itself and Sandy Irvine’s ice axe.

The exhibition’s curator and Honorary Librarian of the Alpine Club, Barbara Grigor-Taylor said: “During the past 18 months it has been especially hard, and at times impossible, for everyone who might wish to attend the exhibition to make their way to see it in person. That’s why we’re so excited to be able to offer this opportunity for as many people as possible to receive a tour of the exhibition online.”

The broadcast is expected to run from 16:00 to 16:30 and will be available to view after the fact via the Alpine Club’s Facebook page. You can sign up for a reminder of the event here.

‘Everest: by Those Who Were There’ will complete its London run on the 20th of October, with visitors welcome to the Alpine Club’s premises at 55 Charlotte Road, London on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 12:00 and 17:00 until then. (Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book a visit).

A commemorative exhibition catalogue, detailing the three 1920s expeditions and reproducing the full exhibition collection is also available for purchase but we are down to the final few copies.

 

 

Everest: by 'Those Who Were There' Exhibition Opens

 
2021 marks the centenary of the first expedition to Mount Everest. To commemorate the occasion, The Alpine Club is hosting a landmark exhibition entitled ‘Everest: By Those Who Were There’ at its premises of 55 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QF.
 
The exhibition uses the words of expedition members from 1921, 1922 and 1924 to explore the mountain as a symbol of adventure and a site of significant tragedy. As well as diary entries and hand-written notes, visitors can explore the art works and photography produced on the expeditions, as well as the clothing and equipment that was first used to climb the mountain.
 
Today every detail of Everest, from its precise dimensions to the exact wind speed on its summit, can be accessed at the click of a button. But for the men of these early expeditions, it was an entirely different prospect. In 1921, even its exact location was uncertain and the first expedition undertook a 200-mile trek across Tibet as they, in the words of George Mallory, ‘walked off the map’ in search of it. The achievements of these expeditions, climbing as high as 8,572m in 1924, were accomplished with rudimentary equipment and no concrete understanding of the effects that such extreme altitudes would have on the human body.
 
Renowned mountaineer, former Alpine Club president and current Head of Exhibitions John Porter said: ‘These men lived in the true age of exploration. Driven by the need to escape the horrors of the Great War and a desire to see Britain first atop the “third pole”, they achieved the remarkable. By using their own records and possessions we hope to give visitors a true sense of the reality of the time and the incredible bravery it took for men like Mallory and Irvine to attempt the summit.’
 
 
The Expedition Party of 1921 -
(Back, L-R) Alexander FR Wollaston, Col. Charles K, Howard-Bury, Alexander M Heron, Harold A Raeburn
(Front, L-R) George Leigh Mallory, E Oliver Wheeler, Guy H Bullock, Major Henry T Morshead
Base Camp, 1922 - Photo by George Finch
 
‘Everest: By Those Who Were There’ opens to the public from the 21 June and can be visited on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 12:00 and 17:00 until October 16, with a closure for the month of August and the 27/28 July. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book in advance of your visit. If you do not book in advance, we are sadly unable to guarantee entry. If you would like to visit at a time and date outside of our listed opening hours, please don't hesitate to get in touch and we will do our best to facilitate a visit.
 
Items on display include: a photograph taken on Everest by Howard Somervell in 1924 which was, at the time, the highest photograph ever taken; watercolour paintings of Everest; and Sandy Irvine’s ice axe, lost on Everest during his fateful summit attempt with Mallory in 1924, and discovered in 1933.
 
In addition to the exhibition itself, the Alpine Club Library has also produced an accompanying catalogue, laying out the aims, logistics and accomplishments of the three 1920s expeditions. Complete with high quality reproductions of expedition photography, maps and art work, this commemorative publication is sure to become a collector's item for any Everest or mountaineering enthusiast and we recommend purchasing early to avoid disappointment. Copies will be available at the exhibition itself and can also be purchased via the dedicated catalogue page.

 
 
The club is indebted to numerous volunteers for their incredible effort in assembling the exhibition, and in particular to our Honorary Librarian, Barbara Grigor-Taylor, for her helming of this project. Almost all of the exhibits on display have been drawn from the Alpine Club Library's collections and the work of our dedicated volunteers cannot be overstated.
 
We hope that both club members and the wider public will take advantage of this incredible opportunity to see so many iconic facets of climbing history on display together for the first time.
 
 
 

Everest, by 'Those Who Were There' 1921, 1922, 1924

Everest, by 'Those Who Were There' 1921, 1922, 1924


This exhibition celebrates the centennial of the 1921 reconnaissance of Mount Everest and the first attempts to reach the summit in 1922 and 1924. It uses the words of the expedition members themselves to tell the story, from the first suggestions to tackle the mountain made in the 19th century to the successes and failures of the first expeditions and final tragedy of 1924. Through the climbers' diaries, journals and letters, through their art work and photographs, and from their clothing and equipment, visitors to the exhibition will gain new insight into how these men thought and what they accomplished.
 
The Alpine Club's Honorary Librarian Barbara Grigor-Taylor compiled the material for the exhibition and wrote the catalogue. She was assisted by the Club's Keepers of Photographs and of Artefacts, and by the Honorary Archivist. Such a wide range of material from Alpine Club Collections covering the first three Everest expeditions has not been shown before now; some items are shown for the first time in a century. The catalogue reflects this; it is a complelling companion piece to the exhibition, reproducing every item shown, and is a collector's item in itself.
 
Full details of the exhibition including opening times and how to book are available here. The catalogue is available for purchase at the exhibition itself or via the dedicated catalogue page. A limited number of the catalogues have been signed by various Everest luminaries, including Sir Chris Bonington and Leo Houlding and are also available for purchase.
 
We hope that both Club members and the public will take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience 'Everest, by Those Who Were There'. Please encourage any friends and family with an interest in mountaineering to attend. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate both the work of the Alpine Club in preserving and curating climbing history, and its important role in the first expeditions to Mount Everest.