Mick Fowler

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Michael "Mick" Fowler (born 1956 in London) is an award-winning British mountaineer and author.

He was voted the "Mountaineers' Mountaineer" in a poll in The Observer[citation needed], and with Paul Ramsden, won the 2002 Piolet d'Or and Golden Piton awards for their ascent of 6,250-metre (20,510 ft) Mount Siguniang in the Qionglai Mountains in the Sichuan Province of China.[citation needed] In 2012, he was awarded the King Albert award for his "outstanding contribution to mountaineering", and in 2013, he and Paul Ramsden became the first pair to win a Piolet d'Or award twice after their ascent of the 6,142-metre (20,151 ft) Prow of Shiva in the Indian Himalayas.

Climbing history[edit]

He was introduced to rock climbing and mountaineering as a teenager by his widowed father George, who took him to the Alps in 1969 at the age of 13. In the 1980s, he was regarded as the driving force behind a group of London climbers who would regularly drive to the north of Scotland, a round trip of 1,300 miles, for winter weekends. His record was 11 consecutive weekends.

He was one of the first people to rock climb at the E6 grade of difficulty (Linden Route, Eliminates Wall, Curbar Edge; 1976) and winter climb at grade VI (Central Icefall Direct, Craig y Rhaeadr, Llanberis Pass; 1979). He is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of adventurous rock climbs on sea cliffs and sea stacks, and for the use of ice-climbing techniques on the soft chalk cliffs of England's southeast coast.

Career, writing, and family[edit]

Fowler served as president of the Alpine Club from 2011 to 2013 after winning the first contested election in the organisation's 150-year history.

Since 1977, he has worked full-time for HM Revenue and Customs, where he holds the position of Assistant Director, Shares and Assets Valuation. Since 2008, he has also worked with the outdoor company Berghaus.[1]

Fowler has written two volumes of memoirs, both of which were shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. He won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival and the best book prize at the Bormio Mountain Festival (Italy) in 2012.[citation needed]

He currently lives in Derbyshire with his wife Nicola and their two children, Tessa and Alec.

Notable ascents[edit]

Rock and ice climbs (first ascents)[edit]

Stack Clò Kearvaig Striking pinnacle off Kearvaig. First climbed in 1989, the landward pinnacle by Guy Muhlemann and Simon Richardson, while Mick Fowler and Chris Watts knocked off the seaward pinnacle. Both graded Hard Very Severe.

Conventional rock climbs:

  • Linden (E6) in 1976 at Curbar Edge in Derbyshire (as one of the first E6 climbs in Britain this received extensive press coverage)
  • Stone (E5) in the Hebrides
  • Ludwig (E6) at Gogarth
  • Stairway to Heaven (E5) on Skye
  • Caveman (E6) in Devon

Sea cliffs:

  • Henna (450 ft, XS) and Bukator (600 ft, XS) on the North Devon/Cornwall coast
  • Monster Crack (500 ft, XS) (first free ascent of the chalk cliffs at Beachy Head)
  • Skeleton Ridge (HVS) on the Isle of Wight
  • Clo Mhor Crack (E3) (the only route on the biggest cliffs in mainland Britain, at Cape Wrath in Scotland)
  • BeriBeri (E4), on the Isle of Hoy
  • Big John (E4), on Hoy (the first one-day ascent of the biggest sea cliff in Britain)
  • Great White Fright (VI), Dover

Sea stacks:

  • Branaunmore (Ireland)
  • Lovers Leap Rock (Ireland)
  • Doonbristy (Ireland)
  • The Needle (Hoy)
  • Spindle (Shetland)
  • Clett Rock (Thurso)
  • Old Harry, The Tusk and Press Gang Pinnacle (Swanage)
  • The Knee (Duncansby Head)

Ice climbs:

  • The Fly Direct (VI) on Creag Meagaidh
  • Gully of the Gods (V) in Applecross
  • The Shield Direct (VI) on Ben Nevis (the first Scottish winter route to be given a guidebook rating of VI)
  • West Central Gully (VII) Torridon
  • Deep Gash Gully (VI) on Skye
  • Cascade (V) and Central Ice-fall Direct (VI on Craig Rhaeddr, North Wales)
  • A 65-foot (20 m) ice streak created by a leaking toilet outflow at St. Pancras station




  • Fowler, Mick (1995). Vertical Pleasure: The Secret Life of a Tax Man. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-62321-7. 
  • Fowler, Mick (2006). Vertical Pleasure: Early Climbs in Britain, the Alps, the Andes and the Himalaya (reprint ed.). Baton Wicks Publications. ISBN 1-898573-67-0. 
  • Fowler, Mick (1998). "A Touch Too Much?". American Alpine Journal (Golden, CO, USA: American Alpine Club) 40 (72): 53–68. ISBN 0-930410-78-5. 
  • Fowler, Mick (2005). On Thin Ice: Alpine Climbs in the Americas, Asia and the Himalaya. Baton Wicks Publications. ISBN 1-898573-58-1. 


  1. ^ "berghaus.com". berghaus.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "The King Albert I Memorial Foundation: Award Ceremony 2012". King-albert-foundation.ch. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links[edit]