Oxford University Mountaineering Club

The Oxford University Mountaineering Club (OUMC) was founded in 1909 by Arnold Lunn, then a Balliol undergraduate.

The club has taken a significant part in the development of mountaineering in the United Kingdom, and many famous British climbers have been members of the club. Andrew Irvine was at Merton College and was a member of the OUMC at the time of his fatal attempt to climb Everest with George Mallory. Tom Bourdillon, Charles Evans and Michael Westmacott, all former members of the OUMC, were members of the successful 1953 British Expedition to Everest. Evans was Deputy Leader to John Hunt on that expedition, Bourdillon was responsible for the oxygen apparatus, and Westmacott was in charge of keeping the dangerous passage through the Khumbu Icefall open. Bourdillon and Evans made the first attempt on the summit, on 26 May 1953, three days before the successful climb by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. They reached the South Summit (at 8750 m then the highest summit to have been climbed), but had to turn back due to severe exhaustion. Charles Evans was later the Leader of the first successful expedition to Kangchenjunga in 1955.

In 1988, Stephen Venables, a member of the club from 1972 to 1975, became the first British climber to reach the summit of Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. His ascent to the South Col had been by a new route on the Kangshung Face. From the South Summit he proceeded solo, after his teammates turned back due to exhaustion.

The OUMC also has a long history of exploratory mountaineering in the greater ranges, with expeditions having visited and made first ascents of peaks in Greenland, Spitsbergen, Peru, Wakhan, Kishtwar, the Karakorum and the Himalayas, among others.

Notable members

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