Pat Littlejohn – OBE

by UKC News Pat Littlejohn has been awarded an OBE for his services to mountaineering. For those who aren´t familiar with Pat here is a brief bio from his recent article at Director of the International School of Mountaineering based in Leysin, Switzerland, Pat is a man of modest character and immense achievement. Pat is perhaps best known as creator of some of the UK´s most memorable climbing voyages on superb and virgin cliffs lurking in remote and beautiful environments. Mention a Littlejohn route, and the word that most often comes to mind is ´commitment´. These are truly world-class adventure routes, often on remote sea-cliffs, usually climbed completely on sight into the unknown. Pat has created new routes in many areas of the world, often at unconventional venues. Book Of Genesis in the Grand Canyon climbed in 1978 is an early example, the first serious free climbing in the Canyon. In 1991 he made the first free climb on the west face of Point John on Mt Kenya, an 11-pitch E5. In the Alps numerous first free ascents of climbs such as the South Face of the Fou. His 1995 new route on Taweche in Nepal with Mick Fowler was an epic affair with 43 technical pitches, desperate bivvies, little food and achieved over eight days in ultra-lightweight alpine style. With a sense of humour, too. Pat´s approach to climbing is clearly defined. He is totally convinced that the ground-up onsight approach is by far the most rewarding climbing experience to be had. He has also been prepared to speak out about the destruction of the adventure climbing ethic in the Alps. “If we allow the sport-climbing approach free rein in the mountains, we may wake up some day to realize that we´ve sold out our unique sport for… a synthetic substitute, offering virtual adventure where once we had the real thing.” Pat is also on the BMC´s Executive Committee as a Vice President & Director (link).