In the life of John Porter,
crossed many mountain icons, including the great Alex
McIntyte (central figure of his book 'A day like a tiger') or the
famous editor of the magazine Mountain Ken Wilson, who
He taught the importance of contrasting all the data. Whenever I received
important information Ken said: "I want photos, I need photos, tests!"
Darío Rodríguez / DESNIVEL
– Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – Updated at 11:45 p.m.
John Porter (Massachusetts, USA)
enrolled in the English university of Leeds in 1975, but it was not
very good. "I spent too much time climbing," he says today.
He edited the university magazine and one day he received a call
Ken Wilson who proposed to him to work in Mountain, the magazine of
mountaineering and mountaineering more influential at that time. "I thought
if it was okay to leave the doctorate, but I must admit that I learned more
working nine months with Ken that in the three previous years of
college. It was one of the best choices of my life. "
"When Ken received an information he would pick up the phone immediately and ask:
"I want photos, I need photos, proofs!" .
How was the experience of
to work with an editor the likes of Ken Wilson?
Working for him was an experience
fantastic Ken was the first person who understood the importance
to have good information when it is going to scale . Magazine
Mountain had correspondents in every continent that sent
the latest news We had an amazing group of
correspondents who, in addition, were respected climbers. Even
so, if Ken received a letter informing him of a new way in
Yosemite, to say the least, picked up the phone immediately and asked:
"I want photos, I need photos, proofs!" .
He was always contrasting the
information. One of my first jobs was writing news and
learn to check the facts. He always told me that things
they should be simple, that I should remember that the magazine was going to
read all over the world, so you had to publish the facts without
mistakes but in a way that all people could understand.
"Mountain ended some mysteries, but inspired
to many climbers "
Mountain was the
most important magazine at that time.
Mountain was the Bible. One of
the numbers led to the cover a color photomontage of the face
North of the Eiger in winter. I joked with him and said he was
like Playboy which was opening the imagination of the
climbers . The secrets of the Eiger had long been revealed to
long. "Is what we do good?" He joked. The
magazine ended with some mysteries and with mysticism, but it inspired
to many climbers.
How long did you work with him?
I worked with him for nine months
They seemed like nine years. I noticed that I edited news from people
that he was climbing while I worked for Ken. In the end he
I had to say that I was going crazy, that I needed to go back to
the mountains . He did not want me to leave but we stayed as friends
and we have been until he died last year (Desnivel published a
report in number 361 that you can consult here ).
How has the mountain changed?
Today things are changing a lot
with social networks. Mountain guides are a thing of the
past, everyone has an application where to consult the tracks.
That has advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes, social networks
cause the climbers to talk to the people they know and
that does not explore other sources too much. The good thing about the magazine
Mountain is that it included news from all over the world and it was the
only source of information. Now there are so many stories
contradictory that can sometimes give rise to confusion .
"Everyone has to find their plot of adventure"
How was climbing in the 70s?
Climbing in the 70s was completely
different. When you left Rawalpindi or Kathmandu there was no
communications, it was pure adventure, you were isolated and very concentrated.
There were fewer climbers because it was not a commercial thing, so
You ended up meeting everyone. We did not make as much fuss as
now because there were not so many magazines, we just scaled by
the pure pleasure and fun. I think almost nobody had the goal
to become a professional, we just enjoyed it.
How do you see the climbing and mountaineering that is practiced today?
Today many incredible things are done and
I think everyone has to find their plot of adventure. Alex
Honnold who is an exceptional climber, has to do things
Exceptional to make true adventure. We went
fortunate because the Himalayas was a blank map while
today almost all the routes have been made. People should look for new
approaches or ways of doing things, although now I feel that
everything is more commercial.
John Porter is the author of the book
day like a tiger the biography of his friend and companion Alex
MacIntyre, who died in 1982 at age 28 at the Annapurna and
who Reinhold Messner described as one of the Himalayians most
highlights of his generation.