Eric Jones: trailblazing adventurer heads to Buxton for rare public talk

Eric Jones is regarded by many as Britains most successful solo climber.
Eric Jones is regarded by many as Britains most successful solo climber.

Trailblazing adventurer Eric Jones is to give a rare public talk in Buxton next week.

Eric was born in 1935 and pushed the boundaries of human endurance and daring with pioneering mountain climbing, expeditions, skydiving and BASE jumping.

The talk at the Pavilion Arts Centre on April 5 is part of the Buxton Adventure Festival series of events.

The talk at the Pavilion Arts Centre on April 5 is part of the Buxton Adventure Festival series of events.

In his talk, “The Ups and Downs of a Tremadog Tea Maker”, the retired café owner will cover his early climbing days in Wales and the Dolomites, his alpine soloing on the Eiger, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, as well as BASE jumping from Angel Falls in Venezuela.

It will take place at the Pavilion Arts Centre on Wednesday April 5, from 7.30pm, as part of the Buxton Adventure Festival series of events.

Having taken up skydiving and climbing in his early 20s, Eric’s exploits were years ahead of their time. In 1978, he hauled heavy camera gear up Everest to film Messner and Habler’s first oxygen-less ascent, suffering severe frostbite in the process.

By the time he was in his 50s, he’d progressed to BASE jumping from the Eiger, and continued climbing through to his 70s, when he climbed the Old Man of Hoy and Devil’s Tower. He is regarded by many as Britain’s most successful solo climber.

Matt Heason, Buxton Adventure Festival Director, said: “I’ve known Eric for many years, having previously lived down the road from his Tremadog café. His adventuring achievements are incredible and he’s rightly well-known in the UK climbing community.

“When he accepted our invitation to come to the Buxton Adventure Festival we were thrilled. It’s a rare public talk and will be filled with a lifetime of mountaineering firsts and free-falling feats way ahead of their time.

“Maybe somewhat predictably, Eric’s talk is one of our fastest selling following the re-launch of the Buxton Adventure Festival as a series of mini-festivals held throughout the year. If you’re keen to come along, I’d book your tickets quickly to avoid missing out.”

Alongside Eric’s talk, there will also be a showing of film 75: Never Too Old. The documentary follows Eric and Jeremy Trumper as they climb the Devil’s Tower, in Wyoming, USA, and their take on growing old together.

There will also be a showing of I Porter, a film following Kendal-based photographer and mountain guide Rob Fraser’s quest to find out what life is like as a Himalayan Porter. Rob spent three weeks in the Everest region working as a porter on the legendary trail to base camp.

Rounding-off the mini-festival, an audio-visual show will be presented by Snowdonia-based landscape photographer Michael Mills Davies.

Tickets, priced £17.50, can be booked online at buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/eric-jones or by calling the Box Office on 01298 72190.

The Buxton Adventure Festival is supported by University of Derby, Buxton Advertiser, Buxton Opera House, The Old Hall Hotel, Heason Events and SportsReps.co.uk.

Further events in the 2017 BAF calendar include author Richard Askwith telling Emil Zátopek’s amazing story on May 10; a talk by endurance athlete and record breaker Lizzy Hawker on June 7; and the Boardman Tasker night on October 11.