It was announced last night that the British expedition to climb the face of Keith Richards, the veteran Rolling Stones guitarist, has been abandoned following the loss of a climber in a deep crevasse.
The crack climbing team had been assembled from the very best that British celebrity scaling can offer. They had proved their credentials by conquering the temperamental Scottish crag, Gordon Ramsay, in record time last autumn. It was believed that this climb was the perfect preparation for the assault on Richards as Ramsay’s notorious red mist would have simulated the ash cloud that constantly envelops the stony summit.
Although details are still sketchy a Reuters report suggests that the team had spent the night together after establishing a camp on the brow on the treacherous east face of Richards to shelter for the night. The following morning, just after sunrise, the unfortunate climber appears to have lost his footing and fell into the crevasse as he was establishing a route for the next stage whilst traversing the heavily eroded forehead section.
‘That is probably the most dangerous section of the entire climb,’ said veteran celeb scaler, Bruce Holmes. ‘The surface is known to be deteriorating daily and the geological chasms are very deep.’
Celebrity scaling can be an extremely hazardous sport. Only last winter a party of Japanese climbers were lost for several days on Joan Rivers after the septuagenarian underwent an unexpected face lift. ‘You can’t be too careful,’ said Holmes. ‘You plan for every possible contingency and then the celeb books in for plastic surgery on a whim and you’re stuffed.’
Fortunately for the Japanese party, they managed to find some loose stitches towards Rivers’ left ear and clambered out. ‘They were very fortunate to survive,’ said Holmes ‘for a while it was nip and tuck.’
But why are climbers prepared to risk their lives to climb famous people such as Keith Richards? ‘It’s hard to explain really,’ said Holmes. ‘But some things remain beyond the bounds of reasonable adventure. Mention a challenge like Mount Widdecombe, and brave men everywhere still run for their very lives.’