Matlock mountaineer to attempt high altitude climb with colostomy bag

A daredevil mountaineer from Matlock is flying out to the Himalaya this month as he attempts to become the first colostomy bag user to complete a high-altitude summit.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 2:50 pm
Matlock mountaineer Mick Fowler and his climbing partner Vic Saunders are flying out to the Himalaya this month to attempt an unclimbed 6,000 metre peak.
Matlock mountaineer Mick Fowler and his climbing partner Vic Saunders are flying out to the Himalaya this month to attempt an unclimbed 6,000 metre peak.

Mick Fowler, 63, and climbing partner Vic Saunders will take on a 6,000 metre peak in their second expedition of the year, having been thwarted by bad weather in the spring.

He said: “We have identified a fantastic objective that Victor and I have had in mind for some time. It is a spectacular Matterhorn-like peak which is unclimbed and looks to be challenging from all sides.”

As well as clothing and equipment from expedition sponsor Berghaus, Mick will also find out whether a colostomy bag will perform during an extended stay at high altitude and in extreme weather conditions.

He said: “It will no doubt provide a pleasingly difficult climb and the perfect testing ground.”

Mick is renowned in the climbing world for completing first ascents of routes on technically challenging peaks up to 7,000m and is a veteran of many successful expeditions.

He first climbed together with Vic in the 1980s, then reunited in 2016 to become the first people to ever scale the north face of Sersank in the Indian Himalaya.

Their next planned expedition in 2017 was thrown off course when Mick was diagnosed with cancer and underwent extensive treatment, including a procedure to re-direct the bowel to an opening in his abdomen wall.

Mick will be taking on the challenge with climbing partner Vic Saunders, right.

He took a year off to regain his fitness, before undertaking the aborted attempt this April.

Mick said: “After being out of action for so long, being forced to abandon our first attempt was very frustrating.

“My experience from our short time on the mountain suggested that everything we take will perform well in all conditions. I relish the opportunity to find out for certain.”

Mick and Vic will leave the UK on September 22 and expect their alpine style climb to take place in early October, before returning to the UK later in the month.

To follow their progress, follow Berghaus accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or go to

The story of Mick’s cancer diagnosis and successful treatment can be read in a series of candid blogs at

The third volume of Mick’s climbing memoirs, No Easy Way, was published in December 2018, and is now in the running for two of the most prestigious awards in mountain literature.

Mick said: “I am deeply flattered and can but thank the judges for organising everything and for completing the mammoth reading task and selecting No Easy Way for the shortlists.”

Matlock mountain climber Mick Fowler is in the running for two of the mountaineering world's top literature prizes with the third part of his memoirs, No Easy Way.

The winner of the Jon Whyte Award will be revealed at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Canada in October. The Boardman Tasker Award is to be presented at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November and judges said: “The book is written in Fowler’s inimitable style; self-deprecating, understated, never taking himself too seriously while at the same time conveying that what he is engaged in is very serious indeed.”

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