No items found.

  • Ryan Vachon: Top Ice Climber and Climate Scientist
  • John Long: What I've Learned
  • Topropers Unite!
  • Steep Learning Curve: Alex Honnold On His Early Free-Soloing Days
  • Andy Kirkpatrick - Words Like Morphine
  • Margo Hayes and the Power of the Mind
  • Snapshot: Michaela Kiersch - The Chicago Hustle
  • Out of Nowhere - Nathaniel Coleman Jumps Onto the Podium
  • Jeff Lowe: What I've Learned
  • The Cheater - Learning to Climb for Myself, the Hard Way
  • What I've Learned: John Bachar's Last Interview
  • Art of the First Ascent: The Bold Climbs of Marcus Garcia
  • The Professional: Hilaree O'Neill
  • The Inventor: Alan Douglas
  • The Advocate: Nicholas Rothenbush
  • The Guide: Kris Erickson
  • The Craftsman: Jimmy Chin
  • Curious Case: Brette Harrington Breaks New Ground
  • Stefano Ghisolfi - One of The World's Best Makes Time For Fun
  • Kai Lightner Reflects on Competitions, Bouldering and the Future
  • The Locomotive: Roy McMurtrey – 87 and Still Climbing
  • No Expectations: Joe Kinder Sends 6 5.14c's in Spain
  • Spotlight: Megan Mascarenas - The Logician
  • Alpine Warriors - History of Alpinists in Yugoslavia
  • Q&A: The Willpower of Mar Álvarez
  • Q&A: Ethan Pringle on Thor's Hammer (5.15a)
  • A Youth Wasted Climbing
  • Bouldering Bub - Isaac Caldiero
  • Spotlight: Alexander Ruchkin - Russian Locomotive
  • Alex Johnson - The Pro Life and Growing Up as a Climber
  • Rock Climbing Saved My Life: A Veteran’s Struggle with PTSD
  • The Beatnik of the Alps: A tale of FA's, Rescues, Love, and Suicide
  • Kev Shields – High Solace: Demons, Depression and Solo Climbing
  • Dean Potter On Laws, Modern America and Soloing Delicate Arch
  • Climbers We Lost in 2014
  • Spotlight: The Double Life of Chris Webb Parsons
  • What I've Learned: Sonnie Trotter
  • What I've Learned: Mark Udall
  • Reinhold Messner: What I've Learned
  • Listening for the Echo: The Klem Loskot Profile
  • Climbers We Lost in 2013
  • Layton Kor Dies
  • Climbers We Lost in 2012
  • Life on Hold: The Ian Powell Story
  • Rope Jumping with Dan Osman
  • Mike Foley: Never Enough
  • Naomi Guy: What I've Learned
  • Hayden Kennedy: Superballistic
  • Dave Macleod: What I've Learned
  • Q&A: V15 Maestro Nacho Sanchez Unleashed
  • Francesca Metcalf: Meant to Compete
  • Maurice Herzog Dies
  • Mason Earle: Crack Ropegun
  • Kurt Albert: Free Wheel
  • Mayan Smith-Gobat: Climber for all Seasons
  • Nik Berry: Obsessive Crusher
  • TNB: Tony Scott, Climber, Movie Maker, Lived and Died Large
  • Who's Next?
  • Tom Patey: The Tiger of Yesterday
  • Todd Skinner: The Renegade
  • The Stonemasters Climb at Pirates Cove
  • Patxi Usobiaga: The Bionic Man
  • Michael Reardon
  • Max Turgeon and Louis-Philippe Ménard: Alpinists and Ice Climbers
  • Kurt Albert: The Climber Who Invented Redpointing
  • Josh Wharton: The Alpinist
  • John Rosholt: Climber and Gambler Disappears in Las Vegas
  • John Long: A Man for All Seasons
  • John Bachar's Last Interview
  • John Bachar Remembers Michael Reardon
  • John Bachar Remembered by Duane Raleigh
  • John Bachar by Henry Barber
  • John Bachar by Doug Robinson
  • John Bachar and the Bachar-Yerian First Ascent
  • Colin Kirkus: Climbing's Greatest Unknown
  • Alex Puccio
  • The Prophet
  • The Guy Whose Nuts Revolutionized Climbing: R.P.
  • Randy Leavitt
  • Galen Rowell: The Vertical World
  • Brian Kim Spotlight
  • Rob Raker
  • Ueli Steck
  • Kemple and Lindner Almost Free El Nino
  • Crack Attack
  • Climbing World Mourns Todd Skinner
  • Ammon McKneely
  • A Tour of Magic and Mystery
  • Tanja Grmovsek
  • Rob Miller
  • Climber Hugh Herr Honored by Esquire Magazine
  • Climber Eric Brand Dies
  • Chuck Fryberger, Climber and Filmmaker
  • Chris Schulte Profile
  • Beth Rodden - What I Learned
  • Joe Kinder
  • Hazel Findlay
  • To the BASE Layer
  • Pete Ward
  • Mad Max
  • Chris Boskoff
  • Bradford Washburn
  • Revenge of the Nerd
  • Chris Lindner
  • Tim Clifford: Escaping the Quantum Hole
  • Renan Ozturk
  • One-Track Mind
  • Traveling Light
  • Colette McInerney
  • The Banner Years
  • Pakistan: The Big and Free
  • Kris Hampton
  • Jules Cho
  • Extreme Eleven and Beyond
  • Bob Bates, 96, Takes His Final Journey
  • Jody Hansen
  • Home Girl
  • An Encounter with Fred
  • The Average Hero Sir Edmund Hillary, 88
  • More Than One Trick
  • Dave Graham
  • Red River Sugar Mama
  • Phillip Schaal
  • An Advanced Beginner
  • The Last Samurai:
  • Sonnie in Scotland
  • Offwidth Hombre
  • Moonlight Solo-Nata
  • Jasmin Caton
  • Crag Clown
  • Unlikely Candidate
  • Lone Star
  • The Calculator: Alex Kordick
  • Rise of the Machines
  • Dave Waggoner 1955-2009
  • Blood Spider
  • The Original Desert Rat: Kyle Copeland | 51
  • J-Star
  • Italian Legend: Lino lacedelli | 83
  • Committed: Matt McCormick
  • Cold Justice Paul Cormier
  • The Suffer King
  • The Need for Speed
  • Nick Martino Gives All
  • G-Money
  • Climbing Out of Academic Trouble
  • Charles Houston, 96
  • Bobby Model, 36
  • "Open Bivy" Willy
  • To the Rescue
  • The Genius - Jeff Lowe
  • The Gamer
  • Shock Rock
  • Ryan Triplett | 31
  • John Bachar and the Cosmic Surfboard
  • Hand Crafted
  • Return of the Verm
  • Amped
  • Regime Change
  • Man vs. Snake
  • Living Legend
  • Layton Kor honored by AAC
  • Cold Justice
  • Cowboy Anguish
  • The Rock Jester
  • Mixed Rehab
  • Laura Fletcher
  • Bill Stall
  • Benjamin Strohmeier
  • Joe Six-Pack
  • Freedom Path
  • Manboy
  • Up and Down
  • The Duelist
  • A for Achiever
  • Paul A. Duval
  • Kelly S. Bell
  • Close But No Cigar
  • Video Spotlight
    FOREVER – It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over
    FOREVER – It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Michele Caminati's Rope-Cutting Ground Fall
    Weekend Whipper: Michele Caminati's Rope-Cutting Ground Fall

    The Banner Years


    p.028-Breaking-News-164BY JIM PERRIN

    IN THE HISTORY OF POST-WAR British rock climbing, Hugh Banner was an iconoclast and psychological enabler at a time when rock climbing was mortality-fixated. 

    Born in Crosby, on the Lancashire coast, he attended the Merchant Taylors’ School in that town. His mother died when he was an infant and his father, grandmother and an aunt raised him. Hugh’s uncle Tom had worked in the same Liverpool insurance office as the great pre-war climbing pioneer Colin Kirkus, and in the 1940s regularly took young Hugh fell-walking in the Lake District. Hugh’s father had witnessed a fatal accident on Tryfan’s notorious Munich Climb, though, and forbade his son to climb on the grounds that it was too dangerous. 

    At school, Banner was captain of the chess team, but took little part in physical activities. His climbing began only after he matriculated as a chemistry student at Bristol University in 1951. He joined the university climbing club, and explored the limestone cliffs of the Avon and Cheddar gorges, establishing many of the middle-grade standards there. Banner was also visiting the crags of Snowdonia, where he ascended a few good routes of his own—notably Ochre Grooves on Clogwyn y Grochan and Cross-tie on Dinas Mot. He repeated notable climbs pioneered in the late 1940s and some of the easier lines put up on the steep cliffs of the Llanberis Pass by Joe Brown and Don Whillans of the Rock & Ice club. He made the third ascent of Brown’s iconic route Cenotaph Corner and repeated Diglyph, the first of Brown’s new Extremely Severe climbs on the major Welsh cliff of Clogwyn Du’r Arddu to be led by someone outside the Rock & Ice elite circle. 

    Banner suffered a fractured skull while riding his 1,000cc Vincent motorcycle in 1957. At the time, he lived near the bold sandstone prow of Helsby Crag, where he added several problems, including Crumpet Crack and Gorilla Wall. In 1958 he succeeded on a new gritstone climb in Derbyshire that had bouted both Brown and Whillans: Insanity on Curbar Edge. 

    Banner had watched the Rock & Ice club stars repeatedly barn door off this thin and precarious overhanging finger-layback, and concluded that the simple expedient of moving one hand up to the other, rather than reaching through, would achieve balance. This shrewd and chess-like tactical appraisal of climbing problems became his hallmark. Slight and short, but with an immensely strong grip, he adopted an attritional approach to rock, overcoming its problems by sheer persistence and force of will. Banner’s finest achievement was Troach on Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, an extremely blank-looking wall in the modern idiom and one of two excellent climbs—the other was Gecko Groove—he discovered on the cliff in 1959. His minimal 1963 Clogwyn Du’r Arddu guidebook, written with Peter Crew, marked a clear break from a fulsome tradition, and between its slim covers downplayed some considerable horrors.

    Banner moved to Wiltshire and, in 1961, married Maureen McDermott, with whom he stayed for the rest of his life and who survives him. In the 1980s he started his company H.B., manufacturer of technical climbing equipment. He continued to climb right to the turn of the millennium. In his 50s he made ascents of the Nose of El Capitan and the Philip-Flamm route on the Civetta in the Dolomites. In 2000, an 80-mph motorcycle accident left him in a coma for a month and caused his left leg to be amputated above the knee. Undaunted, he modified his Honda Fireblade so he could shift gears by hand, and continued to work on climbing equipment until the brain tumor that was to kill him made this impossible. 

    He talked in a precisely enunciated nasal drawl with great stamina, and if he at times tended to debunk those climbers whose flair he had never quite matched, he also showed a keen perception about the nature of the sport, an essential affability, and an inexhaustible reservoir of enthusiasm. In an era—for which he himself could carry much credit—of democratization in the sport, he was living proof that application of one’s will could earn dividends that did not fall too far short of those accorded to genius.

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: