Back in 2012 I took a self-timer photo of myself, naked on the snowy ridge of Crib Goch, Snowdon.

I had artistic intentions. I wanted to show how vulnerable humans are in this environment. The mountains are wild, potentially dangerous places and it's a priviledge to be amongst them. Without my winter climbing equipment this is even more obvious, it looks impossible, crazy, or fake.  I'll admit it that it also appealed to my cheeky sense of humour!

Taking the photo was reasonably safe.  It was well above zero, and the wet snow was slushy rather than slippy.  As a seasoned mountaineer, I understand risk.  We take small but calculated risks regularly.  We know what could go wrong, what we can control, and what we can't.  The real risk here was close to zero.  The power of the photo is that it looks dangerous.

A much bigger question for me, is would it be sensible to share this image?  To release a nude image on the web is an irreversible step that could affect my reputation and future careers or relationships.  Would it affect or embarrass my family?  I sat on the question for well over a year, but after most of my climbing friends were supportive, I decided to release it via my press agency.

It did well, going into print in The Times, and being picked up by the Mail Online, Telegraph and a dozen other publications around the world.  Feedback was generally positive.

However, I then realised that the Express had bought the image, and decided to run a story against me.  Someone with no knowledge of the mountains at the paper had decided I was irresponsible and wanted to prove it.  A friend at the British Mountaineering Council (Britain's main climbing organisation), told me they were calling round to try and find someone to condemn me.  The BMC did not comment, they understood the photo, and had published it in their magazine the previous month!  Eventually the Mail did manage to find a mountain rescue guy to say it was 'the most stupid thing he's ever seen', and that I was 'putting the lives of potential rescuers at risk'.  This is competely ridiculous, as the risk to me was negligible.  Usually mountain rescue are very understanding of walkers and climbers who have used reasonable risk assesment and still be unfortunate enough to have an accident.  They are quicker to condemn the ill-prepared thoughtless tourists who venture into the hills without proper clothing or experience, and then phone for help when they get cold.

Everybody's idea of acceptable risk is different.  In this case, I took a risk in being published and it backfired fairly badly.  But for me, a timid life of fear would be a lotless worth living.























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