Alan Hinkes

Alan Hinkes Interview taken in 2015

Alan Hinkes is the first Briton to climb all the world’s 8000m mountains. He is also an International Mountain Guide.

At what age were you when you had your first experience of climbing and did you know then that this is what you wanted to do?

Early teens, yes I knew.

What made you decide to climb all the world’s 8000m mountains?

Someone had to, might as well be a Yorkshireman. Seemed like a very very difficult challenge and it is very very dangerous.

Are you happy climbing in the UK as you are say in the Himalayas?


Has climbing the bigger mountains only ever been about the summits for you, or is there more to just being in the mountains? (This question was asked by my Facebook friend Paul Arnold)

I like being in the hills, just amongst hills, fells and mountains, and under them potholing and caving. Nice to reach a summit though and get back down safely.

While you were climbing the 8000ers, was there ever a time where you were on the point of quitting? (This question was asked by my Facebook friend Paul Arnold)

No, always where I wanted to be, although Ibecame more and more aware of the risk and danger.

You were on the North side of Mount Everest during the terrible storm that sadly killed so many on the South side. How did you feel at not being able to do anything to help them?

Also killed 3 on the North side, couldnt do anything. Came across their bodies after the storm. It was tragic.

How did you find ascending and descending the Second Step?

Not too bad, ladder to help now, still vertical and I climbed it too quickly so had to rest at the top. Descent no problem, abseiled.

Can you still remember your time on the summit of Everest?

Yes I remember looking over to Lhotse and thinking I must climb it soon. Took pictures of route, it looked steep face with gully/couloir slanting up it. Clouds were billowing up Kangshung Face, took few pictures and filmed.

Out of all the 8000m mountains that you have climbed which one did you find the hardest to climb, mentally and technically?

K2 and Kangchenjunga.

Were you scared on Kangchenjunga when you broke your arm? Did you think you wouldn’t make it back down? (This question was asked by my Facebook friend Paul Arnold)

Not too scared, I controlled myself and focussed on the task of getting down. I had another arm and 2 legs!

What is the single most important little luxury you allow yourself at basecamp on any of your climbs? (This question was asked by my Facebook friend Paul Arnold)

Few luxuries, shortwave radio for BBC World Service, probably no good these days as signals are weaker from BBC. Egg and chips in Base Camp.

Do you think that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine climbed the Second Step?

Certainly possibly as Mallory was a good rock climber, then again they might have traversed below it. No photo of Mallory’s wife on his body, did he leave it on the summit…….. Anyway, they never surived, Hillary and Tenzing returned which is what counts, ie: a round trip.

If you would like to find out more about Alan Hinkes then head over to his website at