Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Coming up: Aleister Crowley...madman across the water.

Aleister Crowley and The Grateful Dead

' The further up the Yalung Glacier they travelled the more futile Guillarmod felt the expedition to be.On the 27th August one of the porters fell to his death and more porters deserted in the night. By the 29th Crowley had fallen out with every one and had resorted to using threats and physical intimidation to force the porters to continue. Guillarmod, disgusted at Crowley's violent conduct towards the porters decided that the time had come to depose Crowley as party leader. On the 1st September Guillarmod had been elected party leader by the remaining team members,Crowley not surprisingly refused to give up the leadership and effectively placed himself  'beyond the pale" as far as the rest of the team were concerned.Although the expedition had degenerated into a tragic farce,they had managed to force their way on and established camp 5 at 21.000ft. However, Guillarmod's hopes of salvaging some semblance of order from the jaws of disaster were to prove ill founded.That night Guillarmod with Pache and De Righi, set off for camp four with four porters sharing a single rope. Crowley remained at camp 5 with Reymond.As they descended one of the porters slipped dragging Pache with him.Guillarmod and De Righi attempted to hold them but were themselves torn from their belays.Soon the entire party were plunging down the mountain triggering an avalanche in the process..'

This Friday, John Appleby describes Aleister Crowley's dramatic but ultimately doomed attempts to establish the first ascents of Kanchenjunga and K2 at the turn of the 20th century. Originally due to be published in the UK's 'Climber' magazine in the mid 1990's, the article never appeared in print format.