HomeMy Fitness HerosSir Chris Bonington, the 80-Year-Old Climber

Sir Chris Bonington, the 80-Year-Old Climber

At age 16, Sir Chris Bonington started climbing. Now at age 80, he is still climbing.

When Sir Chris Bonington was 16, he started climbing. Now at age 80, he is still climbing. It’s been a passion for most of his life, ever since making the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger, and leading the expedition that made the first ascent of the South Face of Annapurna in the Himalayas.

“As you get old, and certainly as you get into your eighties, don’t give up,” says Bonington. “It’s actually making life as rich and as exciting as you possibly can that keeps you going and gives you a hope.”

All inspiring thoughts aside, Bonington is also realistic about his capabilities and fears. He was more than just a little apprehensive at the thought of scaling the Old Man of Hoy at his age. But Bonington’s approach to the Scottish rock is where the true inspiration lies—plodding on in the face of fear. He knew the climb would be hard, but he accomplished it with the help of a younger adventurer who gets his inspiration from watching Bonington trek on.

“What I do want to do is to make every single day of my eighties mean something,” says Bonington. When we all get to that point, how will we embrace life?