Gordon Stainforth - author of FIVA etc


November 2014

Major new non-fiction book deal to be announced soon.

... spotted in the August edition of 'Trail' magazine ...

Fiva recommended for Wild Camping

Oli Read wrote in the August issue of 'Trail' magazine: 'We were relentlessly savaged [by midges] as we assembled our tents in record time, then forced into our canvas dormitories at least two hours before light vanished from the sky. The good news was I had a good book and a bag of Kettle Chips for company...' Click here to see the book Oli took as part of his wild camping kit to the Arrochar Alps.

Our apologies that some gallery pages and the 'visual diary' are no longer working, owing to an update in the PHP coding used by the server. Rectifying this may take some time :(

Fiva - revised reprint cover

'Fiva' success continues

After 32 months, Gordon's award-winning true adventure 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 58 5-star and 3 4-star reviews on Amazon.co.uk.

All reviews & comments.

Belper Arts Festival

Belper Arts Festival

On Tuesday May 27, as part of the Belper Arts Festival, Gordon co-hosted a lively and interesting discussion on ’The Power of Reading’ with Kathy Fairweather. He looks forward to returning to the Arts Festival next year to discuss his present book project, George and His Dragons, a biography of his great uncle George Stainforth, a famous test pilot who in 1931 was the first man to fly over 400 mph.


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 November 21, 2014 —


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 putting the finishing touches to his science-fiction novel, many years in the making, The Last Days of P-Ship, which is being published as an ebook in the autumn.

Other projects in the pipeline include: a biography of Gordon's great uncle, George Stainforth, aviator extraordinary, who broke the world speed record in 1931; a book on his 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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