Spoken Word The Theatre


A SLENDER THREAD – Escaping disaster in the Himalaya

Like most accidents it happened on the way down. Stephen Venables and three other top British climbers had just made the first ascent of a remote Himalayan peak called Panch Chuli V. The fifth member of the team, Chris Bonington, was waiting at the camp which they had left before dawn. Descending throught the night, exhausted after nearly twenty-four hours on the move, the summit team had almost reached the safety of camp when disaster struck. The anchor securing the abseil ropes failed, sending Venables plunging down the mountainside.

He was astounded to regain consciousness and realise he had survived the 80 metre fall. But not without serious injury. Crippled with two broken legs, at nearly 6,000 metres above sea level, with a maze of complex icefalls blocking the way down to the valley, he was in a desperate predicament. What followed was a long painful struggle, but thanks to the courage and determination of his companions – and a good dose of luck – Stephen Venables did eventually escape. The story of that escape, recorded in his acclaimed book A Slender Thread, is a gripping, touching and humorous tale of survival against the odds.

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