Kenton Cool (born 30 July 1973) is an English mountaineer, alpinist and IFMGA mountain guide. He is one of Britain’s leading alpine climbers and he has successfully climbed Mount Everest eleven times, including leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes' 2008 and 2009 Expeditions. He has completed 21 successful expeditions in the Greater Ranges. In 2013, he and his climbing partner became the first people to traverse Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single expedition without returning to base camp.
Kenton Cool graduated from the University of Leeds in 1994 after studying BSc Geological Sciences. Cool was first introduced to mountaineering at Scouts. An obsession with rock climbing developed at Leeds University and, on graduating, he moved to Sheffield to pursue this further. In 1996, he suffered a fall from a rock face and shattered both heel bones. A year of surgery and therapy saw him become determined to regain his climbing form and he joined the British Association of Mountain Guides scheme.
Cool married in 2008 and splits his time between the small village of Mont Saxonnex in the French Alps where he spends his time working as a director of Dream Guides, a Chamonix based mountain and ski guiding company, and the village of Quenington in Gloucestershire in the UK. A leading Alpine climber, he operates in the Alps and Greater Ranges of the Himalaya as a fully qualified IFMGA (UIAGM) Guide and Expedition Leader.
Regarding the danger of mountaineering and the 37 friends he has lost in the sport he has said: "It's completely unstylish to get stuffed in the mountains...I want to die with my feet up in front of the fire drinking a glass of red wine aged about 95".
In 2003, Cool was nominated alongside climbing partners for the Piolet d'Or award for a route on Annapurna III. In 2012 he made good on an 88 year old Olympic pledge by taking one of the 1924 Olympic Gold Medal awarded to the 1922 British Everest Expedition (awarded for "Outstanding feats of human endeavour") to the summit of Everest. This prompted Lord Coe to personally thank Cool and his team for helping "kick start the 2012 Olympic Games".
Cool is considered one of the UK's top mountain and ski expedition leaders having made several ascents of hard routes with clients, including the first British guided ascent of the famous North Face of the Eiger in 2007 with polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, then in his sixties, who was initially afraid of heights.
In May 2008, Cool and Fiennes attempted to summit Mount Everest but Fiennes turned back 300m from the top. In 2009, Cool returned to Everest and successfully led Fiennes to the top, making Cool the most successful British Expedition Leader on the mountain.
In 2013 Cool and his climbing partner Dorje Gylgen became the first people to attain the Everest Triple Crown. In the space of just seven days and without returning to Base Camp, they climbed the three mountains that make up the Everest Horseshoe – Nuptse, 7864 metres, Everest 8850 metres and Lhotse 8516 metres. This was a feat many thought to be impossible, due to the amount of time spent at high altitude and the effect this has on the human body.
As an Expedition Leader, Cool has completed 21 successful expeditions in the Greater Ranges. On Everest he holds the highest success rate of any mountain guide. He has personally reached the summit of Everest eleven times, in May 2007 he summitted twice in one week.
As well as his ascents of Everest, he has led further successful expeditions on the following significant mountains around the world: Kilimanjaro, Denali in Alaska, Ama Dablam in Nepal, Cho Oyu in Nepal/Tibet. He acts as a guide to wealthy private clients, for an Everest expedition charging from $65,000 to "mid-six" figures sterling.
In October 2006 he was the first British person to complete a ski descent of an 8,000 metre peak, on Cho Oyu in Nepal, the 6th highest mountain in the world. In the autumn of 2010 Cool made the third ever ski descent of Manaslu in Nepal, the world's eighth highest mountain. In doing so become one of only a few people world wide to ski multiple 8000 metre peaks.
Major climbing routes
|Climbing route ascents|
|Mount Hunter Alaska||Moonflower Buttress||1st British ascent|
|Mount Hunter Alaska||Mini Moonflower||1st ascent|
|Denali Alaska||Extra Terrestrial Brothers, Father and Son's Wall||1st ascent|
|Denali Alaska||Denali Diamond, SW Face||2nd ascent|
|Arwa Spire India||East Ridge, East Spire||1st ascent|
|Annapurna III Nepal||SW Ridge||1st ascent|
|Grande Jorasses France/Italy||L'Olan couloir||1st ascent|
As part of the Eiger expedition in 2007, ITN set up a simulcast at the foot of the mountain, allowing Cool, Fiennes and Parnell to broadcast live from the mountain face and straight into the ITN News studio. Their summit attempt was broadcast on each live news section for five days. A further one-hour documentary of the successful climb was aired on BBC Four and The Discovery Channel.
As part of Cool's 2007 Everest expedition, Cool took part in filming for the five-part BBC Television documentary Everest ER. As well as providing extensive interview material for the documentary, Cool was also given specialist high-altitude camera equipment to capture footage high on the mountain, including summit footage. Everest ER followed Cool's expedition as it unfolded, which included his double summit in one week. The programme was aired over five weeks on BBC1.
In March 2007, Cool was part of a three-man team (including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ian Parnell) to raise funds for the Marie Curie Eiger Challenge Appeal. A successful summit of the North Face of the Eiger raised £1.8 million for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity. In May 2009, Cool and Sir Ranulph Fiennes raised a further £2.6 million for the Marie Curie charity as part of the Everest Challenge Appeal. Cool summitted with the Marie Curie flag.
Annually, Cool provides a series of speaking events for the Royal Geographical Society and various outdoor clothing manufacturers and retailers as well as keynote speeches at corporate conferences. He has also been invited to sit on specialist panels. At these events, he heavily supports and promotes Porters Progress, a foundation set up to support the mountain portering community in Nepal. Porters Progress is now part of the dZi Foundation
In 2008 Cool married Jazz Black who he met while living in Chamonix France and she was visiting the area with friends. They were married in Fairford Gloucestershire where they set up home together. Their first child Saffron Opheila Frampton Cool was born in 2010 and Willoughby Fredric Hamilton was born in 2012. The family now live in Quenington Gloucestershire.
- University of Leeds Alumni – Sport
- "Interview: Kenton Cool". Trek and Mountain. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "British Mountain Guides". Bmg.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Samuel, Owen. "British Mountain Guide Kenton Cool Claims Historic Three Peaks Record For Britain in Everest’s 60th Anniversary Year". British Mountaineering Guides. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Jones, Lola. "Kenton Cool summits Everest for the 9th time… to prove a point.". XtremeSport. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Royal Geographical Society : Because it's there Mountain Festival". Adventure Travel Presentations. World Expeditons. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Whittell, Giles. "Kenton Cool – king of the mountains". The Times (London). Retrieved 2013-06-09.
- "London 2012: Kenton Cool Everest gold medal mission reaches summit". BBC News. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Hill, Amelia (18 March 2007). "Fiennes scales his toughest challenge". Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "LFTO interviews Kenton Cool – the man who helped Ranulph Fiennes climb Everest". Livefortheoutdoors.com. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Roberts, Liz. "Kenton Cool's 'truly epic' Everest Three Peaks set new record". Grough. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Messenger, Alex. "Kenton Cool climbs Everest triple crown". British Mountaineering Council. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Hart, Matt. "Cool Everest Record". TORQ. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Mount Everest | British Story – Summiteers List
- "Kenton Cool". Kenton Cool. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- On Thin Ice. Mick Fowler. Bâton Wicks, London (2005). ISBN 1-898573-58-1.
- "Home > Theatre Tours > Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Everest, The Eiger & More Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Everest, The Eiger & More". Speakers from the Edge. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Everest ER". BBC. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Sir Ranulph Fiennes conquers Everest on third attempt". The Telegraph. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Welcome to the dZi Foundation". Dzifoundation.org. Retrieved 2011-10-10.