NOSTALGIA: Peak practice for climbers

Brian Blessed and John Knowles
Brian Blessed and John Knowles

Reaching for the sky was no problem for a Chipping Warden mountaineer who was spearheading the country’s first commercial expedition to Mount Everest, alongside actor Brian Blessed.

John Knowles (right), 51, led one of three treks, one of which was a world record-breaking attempt by the actor who was attempting to become the oldest person to reach the summit, aged 57.

John was the founder and director of Himalayan Kingdoms, a company which specialised in trekking and climbing in the world’s most famous mountain range.

“Brian is spending a lot of time training down in Aldershot at the Army training facility,” said John.

He added that while physical strength was important, much of a succesful climb was down to acclimatisation.

A black belt in judo, Brian summitted Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, as part of his preparation for his second attempt at Mount Everest.

Brian and John are pictured here on the Argentinian peak in 1993.

Brian’s first filmed attempt at climbing the highest mountain in the world failed in 1991.