Gordon Stainforth - award-winning author
renowned photographer and film music editor


May 2015

New website coming soon

This rather antiquated website, which I handcoded using CSS and PHP over a decade ago, will shortly be consigned to the dustbin and replaced by a completely new WordPress-based design suitable for 2015. The changeover is likely to be around the end of May - sorry, pressure of other work means it keeps on getting delayed :(. The main new feature will be a blog, mostly to talk about creative and contemporary issues. I'll also be talking about the huge challenge of my latest book (a biography of my great uncle, the first man to fly at over 400 mph) that is looking like it's going to be about 650 pages long at the first draft. Despite being very concise :( Such is the intensity of the life being narrated ... Gordon, May 2015

Fiva - revised reprint cover

'Fiva' success continues

After 34 months, Gordon's award-winning true story, Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong, continues to sell very strongly in Britain and America, with all the signs that it appeals to a wider readership outside mountaineering. It has now received a grand total of 61 5-star and 3 4-star reviews on Amazon.co.uk.

All reviews & comments.


Gordon & John at top of Fiva Route, 2013

On Thursday July 11th 2013, 44 years and 4 days after their epic near-death experience on the Fiva Route on Store Trolltind in Romsdal in Norway (described in Gordon's best-selling book 'Fiva'), Gordon and his twin brother John returned to the exit 'hole' at the top of the route with climber/reporter Iver Gjelstenli and guide Bjørn Bergsvik. They then completed the route to the summit of the mountain. But perhaps the Trolls were angry, because it came at a price! As a direct result of his poor eyesight, Gordon was badly affected by vertigo near the summit, something that had never happened before in 47 years of climbing.

Gordon & John on the summit of Store Trolltind, 2013

On the most dangerous part of the descent, Gordon had to make two abseils and on each nearly passed out. During the remaining four hours of the descent he was having frequent dizzy spells with vomiting. Iver and Bjorn were absolutely superb throughout, and got us safely back to the road after a 13-hour round trip.

On the summit, John took some amazing movie footage with a helmet camera. First clip, second clip, third clip, fourth clip. See this picture explaining the downward view in clips 3 and 4.

See article Iver Gjelstenli wrote about it in the Romsdals Budstikke, 13 July 2013. (Translation).

Above right: Gordon & John at the exit 'hole' of the Fiva Route. Left: Gordon & John on the summit of Store Trolltind.
Photos: Iver Gjelstenli
. More pictures: exit hole, summit, approach.

See all latest online comments about Fiva.


On March 11 2013, Alex Roddie interviewed Gordon about his work. Go to interview.

BBC Radio Derby logo

Gordon on BBC Radio Derby, Monday 30 April 2012

Gordon was interviewed by Andy Potter on BBC Radio Derby at 2.15-2.55pm on BBC Radio Derby.

Apart from discussing 'FIVA', Andy asked Gordon about his taste in reading and his previous careers in the film industry and as a landscape photographer. Click for archived complete interview.

Nov 2 2012 - Fiva wins BEST BOOK OF MOUNTAIN & WILDERNESS LITERATURE at the Banff Mountain Festival.

Banff Awards Ceremony

Gordon Stainforth's Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong won the coveted Jon Whyte Award for the Best Book of Mountain and Wilderness Literature at the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival in Canada against tough opposition among a particularly strong shortlist of five finalists.

The judges' citation described "the breathless teenage voice" of the narrator as "an unrelenting force, sweeping the reader ever higher … as events spiral out of control…. An evocative period piece, Fiva is human, innocent, and unflinchingly believable. This little, unassuming book stands among the classic tales of climbing 'epics.'"

The judges were:

Bruce Kirkby (Canada) - Traveler, adventurer, author of two bestselling books, and well-known outdoor columnist for Canadian Geographic, Explore Magazine and other journals.

Barbara Brownell (USA) - Former Editor-in-Chief for National Geographic Books and currently president of Rivanna Publishing Ventures.

Jim Perrin (UK) - prolific author of fourteen books, twice winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize, and twice winner of Banff Mountain Book Festival Awards. Fellow of the Welsh Academy and Honorary Fellow of Bangor University.

Gordon and his twin brother John (who played a major part in the Fiva epic in 1969) attended the Banff Mountain Festival for four days, and were given a wonderful time by their Canadian hosts.

Gordon receives Banff Award

Judges' full citation, and details of the 2012 finalists for the Banff Mountain Book Competition

Public reactions to the prize.

Click pictures to enlarge

July 6 2012 - Joe Simpson gives Fiva the big thumbs up

Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson, author of best-selling 'Touching the Void', gives this great accolade to 'Fiva' on Twitter:

Joe Simpson ‏‪@TouchingTheVoid‬
FIVA by Gordon Stainforth - Wonderful, nostalgic, gripping, classic epic yarn with great humour deserves to win many many awards - read it :)

... and on July 20, Stephen Venables, mountaineer and author of 'Higher Than the Eagle Soars' etc., called it

the most intelligent disaster story to appear for years.

— Site last updated May 17, 2015 —


Internationally acclaimed award-winning author and mountain photographer Gordon Stainforth is perhaps best known for his lavishly illustrated photo-essays on the British hills and mountains: Eyes to the Hills, Lakeland, The Cuillin, and The Peak: Past and Present, and for his gripping true life story Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong, which won the coveted Best Book of Mountain and Wilderness Literature at the Banff Mountain Book Festival in November 2012. In the course of his career, however, Gordon has been involved in a wide range of other creative pursuits - film and music editor (notably on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining), book and exhibition designer, and novelist (see Biography). He now works full-time as a writer.

He is currently writing a biography of his great uncle, George Stainforth, aviator extraordinary, who broke the world speed record in 1931. Other projects in the pipeline include a book on Gordon's experiences of working in the film industry, and particularly with Stanley Kubrick, and a major work on philosophy aimed at the intelligent layman.

Gordon & John Stainforth on 40th anniversary return trip to Norway, July 2009

Gordon talking about Kubrick and 'The Shining' music at Sensoria Festival, April 2009

Gordon with Griff Rhys Jones in Wasdale for the BBC series 'Mountain'

With BBC TV crew in Burbage valley

Gordon with TV crew at Burbage in 2007 for BBC2 'Balderdash & Piffle'

The Crux at Rheged

'The Crux' exhibition at Rheged, Jan-July 2007

Read the Printed Word!

Click images to enlarge

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