Frank Smythe

Frank Smythe

Francis Sydney Smythe, also known as Frank Smythe (6 July 1900 - 27 June 1949) was a British mountaineer, author, [cite book |title=An Alpine Journey
author=Smythe, F. S.
publisher=London, Victor Gollancz
] cite book
author=F. S. Smythe
title=The Kangchenjunga Adventure
publisher=Victor Gollancz Ltd
] cite book
author=F. S. Smythe
title=The Valley of Flowers
publisher=W.W. Norton
] [cite book
title=Frank Smythe: The Six Alpine/Himalayan Climbing Books
author=F. S. Smythe
id=ISBN13 9780898867404
] [cite book
title=The Spirit of the Hills
author=Smythe, F. S.
publisher=London, Hodder & Stoughton
] [cite book
title=Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
author=Smythe, Frank S.
publisher=London, Hodder and Stoughton
] [cite book
title=Rocky Mountains
author= Smythe, Frank S.
publisher=London, Adam and Charles Black
] [cite book
title=Peaks and Valleys
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=London, Adam and Charles Black
] [cite book
title=Over Tyrolean Hills
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=Hodder and Stoughton
] [cite book
title=Snow on the Hills
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=Hodder and Stoughton
] [cite book
title=The Mountain Scene
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=London, Adam and Charles Black
] [cite book
title=Mountains in Colour
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=London, Max Parish
] [cite book
title=Climbs and Ski Runs: Mountaineering and Ski-ing in the Alps, Great Britain and Corsica
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=William Blackwood
] [cite book
title=Camp Six: An account of the 1933 Mount Everest expedition
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=Hodder and Stoughton
] [cite book
title=Kamet Conquered
author=F. S. Smythe
publisher=Victor Gollancz
] photographer and botanist in the early years of high altitude mountaineering.

Smythe trained as an electrical engineer and worked for brief periods with the Royal Air Force and Kodak before devoting himself to writing and public lecturing. Smythe enjoyed mountaineering, photography, collecting plants, and gardening; he toured as a lecturer; and he wrote a total of twenty seven books.cite book |title=The Six Alpine/Himalayan Climbing Books |last=Smythe |first=Frank S |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2000 |publisher=Baton Wicks |location=Appendix V |isbn=1-898573-37-9 |pages=pp933 and 934 |url= ]

He was best known as a mountaineer. The highlights of his climbing, summarized below, included first ascents of the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc and of Kamet, and attempts on Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest in the 1930s. It has been stated that the man had a tendency for irascibility, that some of his mountaineering contemporaries said "decreased with altitude" [cite book
title=Everest: The Official History
author=George Band
publisher=HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
] Smythe's focused approach is well documented, not only through his own writings, but by his contemporaries and later works.

Among his many public lectures, Smythe gave at least several to the Royal Geographical Society, his first being in 1931 titled "Explorations in Garhwal around Kamet", his second in 1947 titled "An Expedition to the Lloyd George Mountains, North-East British Columbia".

Smythe was a prodigious writer and produced many popular books. However his book "The Kangchenjunga Adventure" launched Smythe as a legitimate and respected author. [cite book |title=Smythe's Mountains: F. S. Smythe and his Climbs
author=Harry Calvert

During the Second World War he served in the Canadian Rockies as a mountaineer training officer for the Lovat Scouts. He went on to write two books about climbing in the Rockies, "Rocky Mountains" (1948) and "Climbs in the Canadian Rockies" (1951). Mount Smythe (10,650 ft) was named in his honour.

In 1949, in Delhi, he was taken ill with food poisoning; then a succession of malaria attacks took their toll and he died on June 27th 1949 two weeks before his 49th birthday.

Climbing Highlights

* 1927 and 1928 Smythe, together with T. Graham Brown, made the first ascent of two routes on the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc, the Sentinelle Rouge and Route Major. These were the first routes to be put up on the face.
* 1930 Smythe was a member of the international team (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Greate Britain), to attempt Kangchenjunga. Under the leadership of Professor Dyrenfurth.
* 1931 Smythe was the leader of the first successful expedition to climb Kamet (7,756 m) in 1931, at the time it was the highest peak yet climbed. During the Kamet expedition Smythe and Holdswordth discovered what is now called the Valley of Flowerscite book |quotes=no |author=F. S. Smythe|year=1949|title=The Valley of Flowers|publisher=W.W. Norton] in the Himalaya, now in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
* 1933 Smythe was a member of the Everest expedition lead by Hugh Ruttledge.cite book |quotes=no |author=Hugh Ruttledge|year=1933|title=Everest 1933|publisher=Hodder and Stoughton]
* 1936 Smythe was again a member of Hugh Ruttledge's 2nd Everest Expedition.
* 1938 Smythe was a member of Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman'scite book |quotes=no |author=H. W. Tilman|year=1938|title=Mount Everest 1938|publisher=Pilgrims Publishing] expedition to Everest.


The following is a list of the books written by Frank Smythe; cite book |title=The Six Alpine/Himalayan Climbing Books |last=Smythe |first=Frank S |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2000 |publisher=Baton Wicks |location=Appendix V |isbn=1-898573-37-9 |pages=pp933 and 934 |url= ]
* "Climbs and Ski Runs" (1930) Blackwood, Edinburgh
* "The Kangchenjunga Adventure" (1930) Gollanz, London
* "Kamet Conquered" (1932) Gollanz, London
* "An Alpine Journey" (1934) Hodder, London
* "The Spirit of the Hills" (1935) Hodder, London
* "Over Tyrolese Hills" (1936) Hodder, London
* "Camp 6" (1937) Hodder, London
* "The Valley of the Flowers" (1938) Hodder, London
* "The Mountain Scene" (1937) A&C Black
* "Peaks and Valleys" (1938) A&C Black
* "A Camera in the Hills" (1939) A&C Black
* "Mountaineering Holiday" (1940) Hodder, London
* "Edward Whymper" (1940) Hodder, London
* "My Alpine Album" (1940) A&C Black
* "Adventures of a Mountaineer" (1940) Dent
* "The Mountain Vision" (1941) Hodder, London
* "Over Welsh Hills" (1941) A&C Black
* "Alpine Ways" (1942) A&C Black
* "Secret Mission" (1942) Hodder and Stoughton, London
* "British Mountaineers" (1942) Collins
* "Snow on the hills" (1946) A&C Black
* "The Mountain Top" (1947) St Hugh's Press
* "Again Switzerland" (1947) Hodder, London
* "Rocky Mountains" (1948) A&C Black
* "Swiss Winter" (1948) A&C Black
* "Mountains in Colour" (1949) Max Parrish
* "Climbs in the Canadian Rockies" (1950) Hodder, LondonMany were subsequently re-published in the USA, some of the best have been gathered into collections.



*Arnold Lunn, ‘Smythe, Francis Sydney (1900–1949)’, rev. A. M. Snodgrass, [ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography] , Oxford University Press, 2004
* [ Royal Geographical Society—Imaging Everest ]
* [ Simon Smythe - Grandson's recollection]

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