News / Bristol old vic

Retired professor is climbing the height of Everest in his own house

By martin booth, Sunday Sep 27, 2020

A retired professor who helped design space flight hardware for NASA has entered the second week of a charity fundraising challenge that requires a head for heights.

Ian Sutherland is climbing the equivalent height of Everest in aid of Bristol Old Vic by ascending from the basement to the roof of his house in Clifton.

He is climbing the route 573 times in ten days in memory of his wife Rosamund, who died in 2019, with the pair often visiting the theatre together.

The 74-year-old has had a long and distinguished research and development career in biomedical engineering, with Rosamund an internationally acclaimed professor of mathematics education at the University of Bristol.

“My wife Rosamund and I both loved attending Bristol Old Vic performances and I know she’d think this is the sort of mad thing I would do,” said Ian, who lives on Canynge Square.

“As a supporter of the theatre, I have got to know both the staff and the actors and my interest in what they are trying to achieve has grown.

“I am now committed to raise a significant amount of money for them to help them through this Covid-19 crisis.”

Ian added: “Also, as I reach the age of 75 this December, this is the closest I’ll get to climbing Everest, which I’ve always wanted to try since 2006, when my son Andrew climbed as part of the EverestMax Expedition.

“He’s even leant me his climbing suit, tent and Tibetan prayer flags. At least I don’t have to worry about altitude sickness!”

Ian is aiming to raise the height in metres of Everest in pounds sterling – £8,850 – for the Bristol Old Vic. To donate, visit

Main photo by Jon Craig

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