Main content

Conrad Anker

Conrad Anker, mountaineer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the mountaineer Conrad Anker.

Some of us choose a life in I.T. or event planning - Conrad Anker has opted to swing from a nylon stepladder 19,000 feet up a cliff with a dose of trench foot and a wedge of stale cheese for supper. It may seem an odd way to spend one's life but it's his way.

One of the world's elite climbers he's credited with a long list of first time ascents. He's also summited Everest three times. During one renowned climb he discovered the icy corpse of the legendary George Mallory who had perished along with Sandy Irvine as they tried to scale the peak - in nothing more than hobnail boots and tweeds - in 1924.

When he isn't exploring the far corners of the world's wilderness he's at home in Montana with his wife Jennifer, the widow of his best friend Alex Lowe, who was killed by an avalanche that narrowly missed Conrad himself.

He says of his life, "Most people are so risk averse. The world is full of couch potatoes ... we climbers should get government stipends for keeping the risk-taking gene pool alive."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 14 Jun 2013 09:00

Music Played

  • The Rolling Stones

    Gimme Shelter

    • Forty Licks.
    • Virgin.
  • Eddie Vedder

    The Wolf

    • Music For The Motion Picture Into The Wild.
    • Columbia.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Joseph Haydn

      Concerto for Trumpet & Orchestra in E-flat Major, Hob. VIIe:1

      Performer: English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet

      • Wynton Marsalis The London Concert.
      • SONY CLASSICAL.
  • Blitzen Trapper

    Furr

    • Furr.
    • Sub Pop.
  • Aydio

    Deltitnu

    • Nonentity.
    • Kraak Records.
  • Led Zeppelin

    The Battle Of Evermore (feat. Sandy Denny)

    • Led Zeppelin 4.
    • ATLANTIC.
  • Blind Faith

    Can’t Find My Way Home

    • Blind Faith.
    • Polydor Limited.
  • Redlight King

    Old Man

    • Something For the Pain.
    • Hollywood Records.
  • Book Choice

    • Complete Works - Jack London

  • Luxury Choice

    • Rope and rack

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Conrad Anker
Producer Cathy Drysdale

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast