Eric Shipton CBE

Eric Shipton

In-keeping with the South West Cheshire District’s convention of naming its Explorer Scout Units after famous explorers, Shipton ESU takes its name from the English Himalayan Mountaineer, Eric Earle Shipton CBE (1 August 1907 – 28 March 1977).

Shipton’s Arch

Born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1907, Shipton moved to England at age 3, and went on to have a remarkable career as a Himalayan explorer, and as HM Consul at Kashgar in Western China.

One of the most significant names in Everest’s history, Shipton was involved with most of the famous Mount Everest expeditions during the 1930s, as well as the pioneering expedition in 1951 which chalked out the now-famous route over the Khumbu Glacier.

In China in 1947 he discovered, and named, Shipton’s Arch. Around the same height as the Empire State Building, this is thought to be the world’s tallest natural arch.

Possible footprint of the Yeti from Shipton’s 1951 expedition

During the 1951 expedition, Shipton and Dr Michael Ward also took photographs of what they believed to be the footprints of the Yeti (abominable snowman), including an ice axe in the photographs to show the scale.

In his later life, Eric Shipton continued to travel, supporting himself by lecturing and acting as a celebrity guide. He completed the second volume of his autobiography, That Untravelled World, in 1969. He visited the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Kenya, Chile, Bhutan and Nepal.

Whilst staying in Bhutan in 1976, he fell ill; on his return to England, he was diagnosed with cancer. He died in March 1977.