Tony Ingram – Pioneer of Irish Alpinism

Tony Ingram – Pioneer of Irish Alpinism

By Paddy O’Leary

Tony Ingram, aged 88, died last Christmas Day. He participated in several significant advances in the development of Irish mountaineering.

In 1961, with Emmett Goulding, he climbed the West Face of the Petit Dru. The climb, completed in difficult conditions with little of the fairly basic equipment of the time, was the hardest alpine route done by Irish climbers up till then. It had been regarded as one of the great post-war Alpine problems before its first ascent by French mountaineers in 1952. The Irish pair’s success inspired an entire generation of alpinists from this island.

Tony and Emmett raised standards at home, putting up such routes as Sarcophagus at Glendalough, Erin Go Bragh in Donegal and Striapach on Fair Head. Tony, seconded by Kevin Shelley, was responsible for Praxis which remained the hardest route in the Mournes for a number of years. In 1968, Tony was involved in the passing of another important milestone when, with this writer, he scaled Chainapuerto, 5788m, for the first time, an ascent which was completed as part of the first Irish expedition to Peru. This ascent, along with that of other peaks by that expedition marked Ireland’s successful opening venture into the Higher Ranges.

Tony was a one-time member of the IMC and of the Spillikin Club. He was a fine skier and a prominent member of The Ski Club of Ireland for over 30 years. With his wife Ann, and sometimes their five children, he spent many holidays on the slopes of Alpine, North American and New Zealand resorts. A few days before his death the couple paid a farewell visit to Glendalough, the scene of happy memories.