The Oread Expeditions                    Updated 26/02/14  -  to include 1961 Derbyshire Himalayan Expedition Report

It was in this latter context that the Oread gained an early reputation, perhaps disproportionate to its physical size. By 1951, inspired by George Sutton, a Founder Member, its members were making the first serious climbing exploration of Arctic Norway since the exploits of those celebrated 19th century alpinists: Hastings, Haskett-Smith, Collie and Slingsby. In 1952 Sutton was in Spitzbergen and in 1954 a small party , mainly Oread was setting sail for the Antarctic as the British South Georgia Expedition 1954/55. More ambitious than previous ventures B.S.G.E. 54/55, in addition to basic mountain exploration, carried out serious survey combined with glaciological observations that subsequently became a long term research project of British Antarctic Survey.
By 1961 Bob Pettigrew, then a young Derby schoolmaster had commenced his long association with the Far East and was leading the first Oread expedition to the Himalayas - The Derbyshire Himalayan Expedition 1961. The organisation was greatly assisted by the Duke of Devonshire agreeing to become Patron, the start of a continuing association that later led to the Oread establishing a physical presence in the Chatsworth area, and the Duke's encouragement in providing a Foreward to the current 50th Anniversary Journal.

At a domestic level the Oread was very involved in the writing and publication of the early Gritstone Climbing Guides (1950/52) and the late Erie Byne, the Series Editor, was at one time President of the Club. SO inevitably the Peak District has always been central to Club activities; climbing and long distance walking. Thus it was totally apt that, in the 1960's a Derbyshire base was established on part of the Chatsworth Estate. The Club has had its own place in North Wales since the 1950's and, for over 40 years, has owned a substantial property ("Club Hut") in Rhydd ddu on the West side of Snowdon. In addition to its use by club members Tan y Wyddfa is in almost constant use by other mountaineering clubs. Such activities provide reciprocal rights to Oread members in mountaineering club owned properties throughout the UK.

The tradition of extended travel to remoter areas has remained with the Oread and in the intervening years there are few mountain areas where Oread boots have not trodden: Greenland, Ruwenzori, Tien Shan, Ladakh, Tibet, Andes north and south, Yosemite to Alaska to Aconcagua, Mt. Kenya to Kulu ~ someone's always just going or coming back and there is no shortage of subjects for the usual round of Winter Indoor Meets.

But the European Alps have always been regarded as the basic training ground for bigger things and an Alpine Summer Meet has always featured on the Annual Outdoor Meets List. The 1970's were particularly noteworthy. In one or two seasons three separate Oread Parties climbed (without mishap) the celebrated Eiger north face. Others were successful on the north face of the Matterhorn, made first British ascents of other face climbs, winter climbs on the Croz and Walker Spurs of Les Grandes Jorasses, and a multitude of other Chamonix/Courmayeur major routes.