Rusty Westmorland OBE, Lakeland’s Last Climbing Pioneer

Horace Westmorland, was born in Penrith, Cumberland in 1886, the second and last little one of Emma and Thomas Westmorland, Alice becoming his older sister by a year.

The Westmorland household ran An effective tannery business inside the city, which afforded them The cash and enough time to dedicate all their spare the perfect time to Checking out the significantly corners in the English Lake District at a time when it absolutely was wild, predominantly un-fenced, devoid of travellers, plus much more importantly, with only a handful of rock climbs acquiring been accomplished, usually the mountain gullies and then only in Wintertime, this currently being the instruction floor for the center class Alpinist who came into the Cumberland hills right before going out to your Alps on annual climbing trips.

For their section, the Westmorland household were popular for his or her adventurous Way of living, certainly, his father, aunt and uncle have been observed for their un-roped ascent of Pillar Rock in 1873, making it the second ascent by a Girl.

What is probably not recognized, is Rusty, as he arrived to generally be named, had a climbing profession that spanned above ninety several years, with many first ascents to his credit history, both of those in this article within the English Lake District as well as the Canadian Rockies.

All of it started out on his 1st birthday, when he and his two 12 months old sister, were taken for an open up air overnight camp by his mothers and fathers, to Norfolk Island on Ullswater. Two months later on, they ended up both of those taken to your summit of Helvellyn, to go to the bonfire to rejoice Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. On his 4th birthday, his father took him to Brougham Castle, the place they each climbed approximately the next story and again down once again, with out using a rope.

On his 11th birthday, he was to fulfill the ‘father of English rock climbing’ – Walter Parry Haskett-Smith, as well as three other noteworthy Lakeland climbers – John W. Robinson, Ellis Carr and Geoffrey Hastings, as they returned from a unsuccessful endeavor on the gully on Tarn Crag higher than Grisedale. What Rusty was not to understand back again then, was that It will be his name that will get the credit rating for the first ascent of this daring climb some thirteen many years afterwards, Which two years after that, he can be going for walks within the Canadian Rockies with Haskett-Smith, any time a rock drop could so well have finished the climbing vocation of Haskett-Smith, if not his life, but resources at that time, stored this incident under wraps.

On his fifteenth birthday (1901), he climbed Pillar along with his sister and father, all un-roped, a daring feat for that time, and produced many un-roped attempts on some as nevertheless, un-climbed gullies in Dovedale and Deepdale..

When his father died in 1909, Rusty turned a man of private implies, so he was in a position to go out climbing nearly every working day. For the duration of this new identified flexibility, he achieved and became shut pals with George and Ashley Abraham, who he was to climb with on numerous occasions.

Regardless of climbing routinely together with his more mature cousins – John Mounsey and Arthur North – making exploratory climbs on quite a few community crags, 1910, was for Rusty, the busiest climbing time he had had thus far. It commenced in January climbing at Tremadoc and Carreg Squandered with George and Ashley Abraham, where they climbed extensively right before returning for the Lakes to continue their climbing until eventually the tip of February. In March with Many others, he produced the 1st ascent of Easter Crack on Elliptical Crag adopted in April by a 1st ascent of Blizzard Chimney. Together with his cousins, he climbed additional winter climbs on St. Sunday Crag; Fairfield; The Dodds; Dollywaggon Pike; and Catchedicam. In June he set off for the Alps Together with the Abraham brothers on the climbing photographic expedition. Through their pay a visit to, they manufactured a lot of 1st ascents which turned The idea for George’s e book: ‘On Alpine Heights and British Crags’.

On returning for the Lakes, Rusty ongoing to climb together with his cousins, undertaking 1st ascents of Chock Gully and Dove Crag, As well as a 2nd ascent of Dollywaggon Gully, maybe the main complete accurate ascent in one climb.

In 1911, he went to Canada and secured function that has a mountain study occasion operate by Arthur Wheeler, the founder of the Alpine Club of Canada. Throughout his 3 a long time of working with Wheeler, Rusty climbed quite a few peaks and summits within the Canadian Rockies coupled with Swiss guides including Konrad Cain, the Fuez brothers and Many others. His listing of ascents is remarkable (some 1st and 2nd ascents) some only inviting some repeat ascents. His climbs totals nicely in excess of sixty summits and peaks, which includes getting the 1st human being to rock climb the cliff deal with of Mt Whyte.

He bought a Fee while in the Territorial Army – fiftieth Regiment Gordon Highlanders, and pursuing outbreak of WWI, he was commissioned within the Canadian Royal Transportation Company. Throughout his time in the entrance, he was nominated several times for mentions in dispatches for his bravery when he led his ammunition horse offer practice under fireplace, to troops about the entrance line at both Ypres as well as Somme.

He returned to Canada after the war, ongoing to provide Along with the Canadian Army and climbed and skied When attainable. He was to find out climbing crags in Nova Scotia, was instrumental in exploring skiing venues in Quebec, and made considerable climbing ascents in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, some of which have been almost never repeated. Furthermore, he was a keen horseman and participated in several competitions in Halifax, Nova Scotia, profitable numerous moments in his course (heavy horse), and, he was also a fantastic novice golfer and all round skier.

In 1936, he went on the Alps together with his near Close friend Dr. P. B. Finn (Director of Atlantic Fisheries), for 2 weeks and in that time, they climbed the Unttergabellahon, Riffelhorn (by three distinct routes), Rimpfischhorn, then capped their holiday break off by having an ascent of your Matterhorn. When back again in Cumberland, Gerald Greenback and Some others, experienced put in place the Lake District Ski Club which Rusty was invited for being President of, which he remained linked to for the rest of his everyday living.

On his return to Canada, he made the main Winter season ascent of the two East and West Lion outside Vancouver; built the main Winter season ski exploration of the whole Yoho Valley; identified a crag known as Eagle’s Nest and made 1st ascents of all routes in each summer months and Winter season; wrote infinite climbing and mountaineering articles or blog posts for local newspapers; gave Regular illustrated talks on the topic, and, was fully associated with the mountain warfare schooling programme setup from the Rockies by the Alpine Club of Canada. This brought about Rusty going on a clandestine go to on the War Office in London, which resulted inside the Lovat Scouts staying sent about the teaching programme, commanded by Frank Smythe.

While using the onset of WWII, Rusty was given the go in advance from the Canadian Government, to set up and operate the region’s 1st official military mountain warfare schooling camp at Terrace, east of Prince Rupert. Even though travelling there about the prepare, he took critically unwell with biliary colic leading to his gall bladder staying taken off. Therefore, in 1945 he was medically discharged from the military Along with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, returned to his beloved Cumberland, and settled down to his retirement in Keswick.

By no means a just one to permit any grass to expand beneath his toes, he was out within the fells and crags in just days of arriving household.