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Professional Speaker Sir Chris Bonington

Sir Chris Bonington

World renowned Climber and Expedition Leader


"There is a special attraction in an unclimbed peak; the knowledge that no one has ever stood there before or has enjoyed that particular 360 degree view from the summit. There is also a simplicity of aim - to reach the top, that has a strength of its own"

       Chris Bonington is one of the most successful expedition organizers in the history of mountaineering, and is perhaps best known for his leadership of the first ascent of the 12,000-foot South Face of Annapurna in 1970 and the first ascent of the immense South-West Face of Everest in 1975. In both cases, his leadership responsibilities precluded him from reaching the summit, but he returned to Everest in 1985 and personally reached the top of the world at the age of fifty years.

         For his achievements, Chris was honored by Queen Elizabeth with the CBE in 1976 and was knighted in 1996.   In addition, he has received the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and a number of honorary degrees.   He has served as President of The Alpine Club, the British Council for National Parks, the British Orienteering Federation and the British Leprosy Charity.

         Chris lives with Wendy, his wife of 40 years, in a picturesque cottage in the Lake District of northern England, surrounded by rolling hills and green pastures dotted with sheep. He has written over fourteen best-selling books and produced or collaborated on a number of award-winning films.  He is a Visiting Lecturer at the Cranfield School of Management and travels widely, using his Everest experiences to inspire companies and workforces all over the world.  In so doing, he has built a reputation as an outstanding motivational speaker for business, using digital technology to link stunning photographs, computer animation and video from his various expeditions.  While he relates the dramatic stories from his climbs, he skillfully makes the links between the challenges faced on the “mountains” being climbed by global business today. 








1960 - 1st Ascent, Annapurna II (7937m), Nepal
1961 - 2nd Ascent, Nuptse (7879m), third peak of Everest
1st Ascent, Central Pillar of Freney, Mont Blanc, France
1st British Ascent, North Wall of the Eiger, Switzerland
1st Ascent,  Central Tower of Paine, Patagonia
1966 - 1st Ascent,  Old Man of Hoy, Orkney
1970 - Leader, Annapurna South Face Expedition, Nepal
1972 - Leader, British Everest Expedition, reaching 8300m
1973 - 1st Ascent, Brammah, (6411m) in Kashmir, India
1974 - 1st Ascent Changabang (6864m), Garhwal Himalaya, India
1975 - Leader, British Everest South West Face Expedition
1st Ascent, Ogre, (7284m), Pakistan Karakoram
Leader, British K2 Expedition, Pakistan
1980 - Climbing Leader, 1st Ascent of Mt.   Kongur (7700m), China
1982 - Leader, British Everest Expedition, North East Ridge, Tibet
1983 - 1st Ascent, West Summit of Shivling (6501m), Gangotri, India
First British Ascent, Mt. Vinson (4897m), highest in Antarctica
1985 - Ascent of Mount Everest (8848m), Norwegian Everest Expedition
1987 - Leader, Norwegian/British Menlungtse Expedition
1988 - Leader, 1st ascent of the West Summit of    Menlungtse (7023m)
Climbing Leader,  “Greenland The Hard Way” Expedition.
1992 - Joint Leader, Indian/British Kumaon Expedition
1993 - Member British Greenland Expedition
Ascent of Mount Elbrus (5642m), highest peak in Europe
1994 - Joint Leader, Indian/British Kinnaur Expedition
1st Ascent of Drangnag-Ri (6801m) Rolwaling Himal
Leader, British Tibet Expedition to Sepu Kangri, E. Tibet
2000 - First ascent Danga II (6190m) in East Nepal
Expedition to South Greenland, climbing 3 unclimbed peaks

1996 - Knighthood
1986 - C.B.E.
Also - Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society
- Lawrence of Arabia Medal of the Royal Asian Society
- Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
- Hon. D. Civil Law (Northumbria)
- Hon. D.Sc. (Sheffield)
- Hon. D.Sc. (Lancaster)
- Hon. Doctorate (Sheffield Hall University)
- Hon. M.A. (Salford)
- Hon. Fellowship (UMIST)
- Hon. Fellowship (North Lancashire)


- Non-Executive Chairman, Berghaus
- Visiting Fellow, Cranfield Business School

- Chairman, Mount Everest Foundation, 1999 - 2001
- President, Council for National Parks, 1992 – 1999
- Chairman, Corporate Forum, Council for National Parks, 1992
- President, Lepra, 1985
- President, The Alpine Club, 1996-98
- President, British Mountaineering Council, 1988-1991
- Chairman, Mountain Heritage Trust of the BMC, 2000
- President, British Orienteering Federation, 1986
- President, National Trust Lake District Appeal
- Vice President, Army Mountaineering Association
- Vice President, Young Explorers Trust
- Vice President, Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)
- Vice President, British Lung Foundation
- Trustee, Calvert Trust Outdoor Activity Centre for the Disabled
- Trustee, Outward Bound
- Chairman, Outward Bound Risk Management Committee
- Trustee, Himalayan Environment Trust
- Signatory, Mountain Wilderness Association

1966 - "I chose to Climb" (Gollancz)
1970 - "Annapurna South Face"  (Cassell)
1972 - "The Next Horizon"  (Gollancz)
1973 - "Everest South West Face" (Hodder & Stoughton)
1974 - "Changabang" (joint author), (Heinemann)
1976 - “Everest the Hard Way"  (Hodder & Stoughton)
1981 - "Quest for Adventure"  (Hodder & Stoughton)
1982 - "Kongur:  China's Elusive Summit" (Hodder & Stoughton)
1983 - "Everest:  The Unclimbed Ridge"   (Hodder & Stoughton))
1986 - "The Everest Years"  (Hodder & Stoughton)
1989 - "Mountaineer” (Hodder &   Stoughton)
1992 - "The Climbers"  (BBC Books & Hodder & Stoughton)
1992 - "Sea, Ice and Rock" (Hodder and Stoughton)
1992 - "Great Climbs", Co-Editor with Audrey Salkeld
1999 - “Tibet’s  Secret  Mountain, The Triumph of Sepu Kangri”
2000 - “Boundless Horizons” (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)
2000 - “Quest for Adventure” 1950-2000”   (Cassell)


“LAKELAND ROCK”: Devised, wrote and presented Award-winning Channel 4 Television Series, which won the Golden Shot award at the Portoroz European Sports Film Festival 1986, for the best sports documentary.   This was a world event with entries from America and Australia as well as Europe.      The series also won a Bronze Medal at the New York Film and TV Festival in 1986.

“EVEREST YEARS”: an hour long TV documentary based on “THE EVEREST YEARS” book, won the Gold Medal for sports programmes (highest award) at the 1988 New York Film and TV Festival.   It also won the prize for the Best Mountaineering Film, the top award in the mountaineering category, at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is the premier world mountain film festival.

 “THE CLIMBERS”:  Narrated and participated in this six-part series shown on BBC Television about the history of mountaineering, and wrote the accompanying book, “THE CLIMBERS”.

 “EVEREST - BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS”:  Wrote, narrated and fronted this documentary, filmed in Nepal around Everest Base Camp, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest.


 “LEADING TO THE TOP”: Completed a very successful management training video, distributed by Connaught Training Ltd, and for several years has lectured to the Sloan Programme of The London Business School and at Cranfield University, where he is a Visiting Fellow. Has become increasingly interested in the study of leadership, starting with his personal experience as a successful expedition leader and using this to explore a wider application.


Listed below are some of the companies addressed over the years on leadership and teambuilding, using a sophisticated live presentation illustrated by slides of his own ascent of Everest and short sound bites recorded at the time:


Apple Irish Telecom
Barclays Bank Jardine Matheson
British Aerospace Kodak
British Airways Management Centre Europe
British Telecom Marconi
BP Minit International
Cadbury Morrison Construction
Cedel National Power
Civil Service College National Gas
Compaq Computers Prudential Insurance
Credit Lyonnaise Quality Scotland Foundation
Hewlett Packard Reed International
Digital Searle Pharmaceuticals
General Motors Shell
Guinness Smith Kline Beecham
Gulf Petroleum Sunlife
IBM Woolwich Building Society
Institute of Personnel Management Volvo



Professional Speaker Sir Chris Bonington










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"Your multimedia case study on Everest gave our senior management more insight into empowering leadership than all the books on the topic put together.”

Cranfield School of Management

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