Sir Chris Bonington celebrates his 80th birthday with Leo Houlding as they prepare to climb the Old Man of Hoy. Photo: Berghaus

Sir Chris Bonington celebrates his 80th birthday with Leo Houlding as they prepare to climb the Old Man of Hoy. Photo: Berghaus

The elder statesman of British mountaineering clocked up 80 years in August.

Sir Chris Bonington celebrated his eight decades on this earth by repeating his 1966 ascent of the Old Man of Hoy, the 450ft sea stack on Orkney, this time in the company of 34-year-old climber Leo Houlding.

grough travelled Sir Chris’s home on the edge of the Lake District to hear his thoughts on life, death, close escapes and the climbers he rates as among the best.

The mountaineer, who is also chairman of outdoors brand Berghaus, lost his wife of 52 years, Wendy, shortly before his 80th birthday, and is close to tears in our interview as he tells us how crucial she was to supporting his life as a world-class climber.

Sir Chris Bonington has numerous first ascents to his credit, but admits he almost came unstuck on at least 10 occasions.

See our interview with the great man to find out why he is a survivor, and what he plans for the next 10 years.

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