Pioneering Scottish mountaineer Hamish MacInnes dies, aged 90

Hamish MacInnes, the pioneering Scottish mountaineer, has died at his Glencoe home at the age of 90.

The climber, who was born in Dumfries and Galloway in 1930, had been battling illness and died at about midnight on Sunday.

He moved to Glencoe in 1959 and created new routes along the peak as well as being recognised as the father of Scottish mountain rescue.

Everest Expedition team
Everest Expedition team

As well as mountain rescue, Mr MacInnes also built his first car from scratch when he was 17.

He then designed the first all-metal ice axe in the late 1940s – which he did not manufacture until around two decades later – while folding stretchers used in rescues around the world to this day are named after him.

Mr MacInnes was also part of four Mount Everest expeditions, with the first a two-man effort with John Cunningham in 1953 – when they met a young Edmund Hillary at base camp.

In 1975, the Scot was deputy leader of the first all-British team who scaled Everest’s south-west face – a venture led by Chris Bonington that also included Graham Tiso, Mick Burke, Nick Estcourt, Dougal Haston, Barney Rosedale and Doug Scott.

Robbie Fraser, Hamish MacInnes and Michael Palin
Robbie Fraser, Hamish MacInnes and Michael Palin

His expertise led Mr MacInnes to become an adviser on several film productions including The Eiger Sanction starring Clint Eastwood and The Mission, featuring Robert de Niro and Jeremy Irons.

Last year, a film based on the mountaineer himself, called Final Ascent, premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival and was attended by director Robbie Fraser and his friend Sir Michael Palin.

It focused on attempts to regain his memories through old film and photographs after he was sent to psychogeriatric detainment in a hospital in the Highlands when he was 84.