28th May 2013
As the world prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest tomorrow (Wednesday 29 May), we at Glenmorangie have unearthed a world first for malt whisky.
In May 1993 Rebecca Stephens MBE became the first British female climber to stand at the roof of the world – with only four years’ climbing experience.
Rebecca’s summit bid was backed by Glenmorangie, which also provided the team with Glenmorangie 10 Years Old to raise their spirits at Base Camp.
Now, 20 years on, Glenmorangie has uncovered pictures in its archive of expedition team members at Everest’s Camp Two at 6500m (21,300 ft) in the Western Cwm, holding a bottle of Glenmorangie. This is believed to be the highest a bottle of single malt has ever reached on Earth.
The news comes almost 60 years to the day after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the world’s highest peak. To mark the occasion, Glenmorangie will make a donation to Rebecca Stephens’ chosen charities – the Mount Everest Foundation and The Himalayan Trust UK.
Paul Skipworth, President and Managing Director of The Glenmorangie Company, who will present Rebecca with the donation, said: “In 1993 Glenmorangie supported Rebecca Stephens when she wrote herself into the record books with her historic achievement.
“The expedition team took a case of Scotland’s favourite malt whisky with them, which we thought they had enjoyed at Base Camp. We were amazed to discover last week that they had actually taken a bottle to Camp Two, which we believe to be the topmost point on Earth that a bottle of single malt has ever reached.
“Glenmorangie is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland, so we identify with Rebecca’s quest to reach the summit and be the best. We are delighted to be supporting Rebecca again and taking part in this celebration of one of mankind’s greatest achievements.”
Rebecca Stephens MBE, chair of The Himalayan Trust UK, said: “The Everest 60th anniversary is a momentous landmark for all climbers. I look back on our 1993 summit as a special chapter in my life.
“The support we received on our climb was invaluable and our bottles of Glenmorangie raised spirits in every sense. It’s only when Glenmorangie showed me the pictures from their archive that I realised how significant taking that bottle up to Camp Two had been: to be honest, I hadn’t thought to mention it!”
Just weeks after her Everest conquest Rebecca returned to Glenmorangie’s Highland distillery to lay down a special cask celebrating her feat. In 2003, 408 bottles of Glenmorangie Mount Everest were bottled to commemorate Rebecca’s achievement, some of which were sent to the 1993 Everest summit team. The proceeds of their sale raised £15,000 for The Himalayan Trust UK, which helps the Sherpa community.
In 1993 Rebecca climbed with two Sherpas, Ang Passang and Kami Tchering. “Without them it would have been impossible,” she said. Rebecca was named an honorary ‘Sherpani’ for her bravery and spirit.