Perseverance paid finally, says summiteer

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 14:

Kanchanjungha ascent was most difficult: Hinkes.

The final push for the summit of Kanchanjungha was the most difficult climb of his life.

Alan Hinkes had failed to scale the peak twice, but this time he refused to turn back, and the perseverance paid finally. At 7 pm on May 30, Hinkes became the first Briton and the world’s thirteenth climber to have scaled all the eight-thousanders. Chances are that he may be knighted by the Queen of England for the feat. “Some people in England might have put up a good word (with the Queen) for me regarding the prestigious title. You can’t really be certain about getting honoured because you don’t knight yourself,” Hinkes told this daily. However, he may not have been up for this honour had he not forced his way to the top of the world’s third highest peak risking his life. “It was close to the edge on Kanchanjungha,” Hinkes said.

His climbing partner and friend Pasang Gelu had to call off the climb 15 minutes before reaching the summit. “I wanted to push on and finish it, it was like I had a death wish,” he said.

Hinkes was beaten back by snow in 2000 and in 2003, he came down with a “SARS-like infection.” Hinkes’ mountaineering journey began in 1987 with the ascent of Shisha Pangma, and even after 18 years, his appetite for climbing is still big. “There are still many mountains I would like to climb,” he said, adding, “there are a few in Antarctica, some smaller peaks in Nepal. “I can finally enjoy climbing without the fear of death.” Starting out as a high-altitude climber, Hinkes never had the thought of climbing all the 8000-metre peaks. The thought occurred to him in 1997. By then, he had scaled eight of the eight-thousanders. Hinkes plans to write a book on his adventures and spends time with his daughter Fiona and grandson Jay.