Mick Fowler, right, and Vic Saunders on the summir of Spantik during their last joint Himalayan expedition in 1987

Mick Fowler, right, and Vic Saunders on the summir of Spantik during their last joint Himalayan expedition in 1987

A British mountaineering duo have posted a first ascent of a Himalayan peak after reuniting almost 30 years after last climbing together.

Mick Fowler and Vic Saunders successfully summited Sersank in the Indian Himalaya, their first joint climb since 1987.

HM Revenue and Customs officer Fowler, known as the climbing taxman, was a regular mountaineering partner of Saunders in the 1980s when both men lived in London, and became well known in mountaineering circles for completing many challenging Scottish winter routes, including Shield Direct on Ben Nevis, which was the first to be graded VI in a Scottish guide book.

Fowler, who is supported by outdoors brand Berghaus, and Saunders also explored the Himalaya and their last climb together was the first ascent of the Golden Pillar of Spantik in Pakistan in 1987, before they went their separate ways.

After the Spantik climb, Saunders gave up his job as an architect and became a mountain guide in Chamonix and around the world.

Fowler stuck with the tax office and moved to Nottingham with a specialist department, fitting his climbing in around full-time work commitments and embarking on a series of successful Himalayan climbs and first ascents with other climbers.

Vic Saunders, left, and Mick Fowler with French climber Catherine Destivelle, whose company published Les Tribulation. Photo: Piotr Drożdż

Vic Saunders, left, and Mick Fowler with French climber Catherine Destivelle, whose company published Les Tribulation. Photo: Piotr Drożdż

In 2015, Eric Vola, a mountaineer and interpreter in Chamonix, translated sections of books by Fowler and Saunders, merging their work to produce Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic. The book was published in France and went on to win the grand prix at the Passy Book Festival.

Speaking before leaving for Sersank, Mick Fowler said: “Working with Eric on the book brought Vic and me back together again and reminded us that we haven’t climbed as a team for far too long.

“That sowed the seeds for this year’s Himalayan reunion trip and we are both looking forward to this latest adventure with great anticipation. Attempting a first ascent in a remote location with an old friend; what’s not to get excited about?”

The pair successfully climbed the north buttress of the 6,100m (20,013ft) mountain, taking eight days from their base camp, with five of them actually tackling the mountain. Fowler, who has posted a series of first climbs on remote Himalayan peaks, expects to be back in the UK later this week.

Mick Fowler posted his acclimatisaion plans on the Berghaus community pages.

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