Mountains have always fascinated me and as a consequence mountaineers also intrigue me. We all recognise the famous names such as Hillary, Tenzing, Hunt and Whymper and their remarkable feats. However I have selected some less well-known adventurers who also achieved mountaineering milestones in their own way not necessarily by successful ascents but by becoming pioneers in their field.

William Martin CONWAY; A. D. McCormick

Climbing and Exploration in the Karakoram-Himalayas

London, 1894


1. Martin Conway (Baron Conway of Allington)

An English art historian who dabbled in politics and developed a taste for mountaineering whilst a student at Cambridge.  One of the first to explore and try to map the inaccessible Karakoram region. He was eventually knighted for his efforts and became President of the Alpine Club in later life.

Maurice HERZOG




2. Maurice Herzog

A French mountaineer, who led a successful ascent of Annapurna in Nepal, one of the highest mountains in the world. Herzog was the first to climb over 8000 feet without the use of bottled oxygen. His ascent of Annapurna was a historic climb: the expedition managed to complete the whole climb in one season which was extraordinary.

Frank Sydney SMYTHE

The Kangchenjunga Adventure

London, 1930


3. Frank Sydney Smythe

A talented photographer, botanist and mountaineer, Smythe worked with John Hunt during WWII and took part in several Everest expeditions. The Kangchenjunga Adventure launched his career as a successful author and he produced nearly 30 titles. It is an account of an unsuccessful expedition to climb Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, but they succeeded in ascending other peaks in the Himalayas including Jonsong Peak. The party led by G. Dyhrenfurth attempted to scale Kanchenjunga twice, but unfortunately due to avalanches could not complete the climb successfully and tragically two climbers' lives were lost. Smythe’s photography is remarkable especially considering the equipment available at the time.


Climbing Reminiscences of the Dolomites

London, 1896


4. Leone Sinigaglia

A composer who worked closely with Dvorak, Sinigaglia was a keen mountaineer who became famous for his successful climbs in the Dolomites which had always been considered as second choice to the Alps.  This had left many peaks unconquered some of which were actually more difficult to climb. Sinigaglia became famous as the ‘first great Italian climber in the Dolomites’, and this book is considered a classic of mountaineering literature.

Hudson STUCK

The Ascent of Denali (Mount McKinley)

New York, 1914


5. Hudson Stuck

Born in London, Stuck emigrated to the US in 1885 and after working as a cowboy became a priest and subsequently a missionary. He climbed Mount Rainier in Washington State, but his most famous ascent was the successful expedition to climb Mount Denali also known as Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.