Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Welsh climber Ben Winteringham killed in Morocco

 Ben Wintringham:Photo Chaplog

North Wales based climber and owner of the now defunct Wintergear outdoor equipment manufacturer, Ben Wintringham,has been killed in an abseiling accident in Morocco. Ben, a member of the UK's Climbers Club,was climbing with  his wife Marion and  fellow club member Mike Mortimor.After completing their route,Marion and Mike had apparently abseiled down the route and as Ben followed  the anchor point failed. A brief biog on the Wintringham.Com website offers the following information...

"Since hi school days Ben has had a abiding passion for climbing and this has determinded his working life. His career has been very varied. He started work as a shop assistant at the then premier outdoor shop in London "Black's of Greenock". Very soon rising to become assistant manager. After serving his apprentership in the outdoor trade, and finding a wonderful house in north Wales, it was decided to move out of London and start our own company. Wintergear was born, using the then new fabric 'Gortex' to make climbing bivouac sacks. This led onto tents and Wintergear's designs are still current even after 30 years (Quasar for instance). Wanting to move on he sold the tent designs to Wild Country, and for several years ran a small mail order business making and selling otdoor clothing. The resession at the end of the 80's put paid to that.

So a career change was made to computing, designing and coding software. Having first hand experience at running compaines, it was easy for Ben to understand the types of processes businesses needed. By 2000 it was obvious that the web was going to very important, and since then he has been producing web applications. Working for companies like Channel 4,, and the DTI. '

1982 Wintergear catalogue

Ben's enthusiasm  for climbing in Morocco in his later years is reflected in this extract.....

During the 90's every time we saw Joe Brown, he was raving about the Jebel el Kest area of Morocco near Tafraoute where he had been climbing every march. "Acres of unclimbed rock, crags like 600 foot Castell Helen's, and near perfect rock. Unfortunately March was a busy period for work, so it was not until 2000 before we got there. We spent a wonderful week, repeating a couple of routes and finding a couple of new ones as well. That was it we were smitten again. Since 2005 we have been going there at least once a year and lately twice a year. Joe was right there are hundreds of new routes to do of all grades. In 2007 a new road was driven across the north side of the range and opened up to new valleys and tons more rock. A small group of us including Mike Mortimer, Jim Fotheringham, Paul Donnithorne, Emma Aylesford, and more recently Pete Johnson and Lun Roberts, along with Marion and me. Have been busy developing the north side big time. With close to 500 new routes since the beginning of 2007. Joe is unable to still go because of knackered knees, but his mates are still active notably Claude Davies, Derek Walker, Paul Ross, Les Brown, Pete Turnball, Chris Bonington all of whom are in their 70's but still putting up the new routes. I am currently collating information for an online guide which we hope to have live in the very near future

Ben Wintringham

First published on To Hatch a Crow: 24/10/2011