Monday, October 5, 2015

Edwin Drummond

Edwin Drummond is a visionary climber and poet, creator of some of the most famous routes in the British Isles. 
Drummond with Colin Rowe, cycling through London ahead of their appearance before Bow Street magistrates after scaling Nelson's Column in 1978.
An inspired climber and writer, Drummond was also a maverick, perhaps a genius, though this is so easily coined to describe one who ruthlessly follows his own line. He made the first ascents of some of the most famous climbs in the UK and won two Keats prizes and a National Poetry prize for his writing. Drummond's writings initially gained prominence in the prestigious American journal Ascent. First published in a book in 1987 they received a very mixed reception, reflecting the author's controversial notoriety as a climber. 
Political and social concerns figure prominently as Drummond used his climbing skills to draw attention to a variety of causes - an anti-apartheid protest on Trafalgar Column and building climbs in the US in support of civil rights activists. 
Drummond being escorted from Liberty Island in 1980 following their protest on the Statue of Liberty.
Now aged 69, the Wolverhampton-born climber, poet and anti-apartheid campaigner is a shadow of the man he once was. Suffering from Parkinson's Disease, bowel cancer and dementia, he can only walk for a few yards unaided, he needs round-the-clock medical care, and he suffers from terrifying hallucinations. 
"Simple things, like having a wash and a shower become major undertakings," says Drummond, speaking from a specialist hospital in San Francisco, the city he had made his home for the past 39 years. 

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