A tribute to an iconic hotel steeped in Everest history…

When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first stood on the top of Mount Everest, only a handful of people knew the debt of gratitude they owed not only to the mountains of North Wales but also to a little hotel in the lee of Snowdon.

 It was at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel that the members of the 1953 Everest Expedition stayed during their training for that historic adventure, and it subsequently became – and remains – a place of pilgrimage for mountaineers the world over.

 A new book to celebrate this iconic hotel known as ‘the home of British mountaineering in the heart of Snowdonia’ will be launched on 20 July 2016.  The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room includes an introduction by Jan Morris, the Times reporter who accompanied that first successful expedition and broke the story to the world, and Jan will be joining the guests at the book launch. 

Presenting the story of ‘one of the great climbing inns of Europe’ through a series of anecdotes, reminiscences and tributes, the book includes contributions by a veritable who’s who of walkers, climbers and writers.

The book’s delightfully easy-to-digest vignettes cover a broad cross-section of extraordinary people. These include contributions from many of the world’s greatest living climbers and adventurers: Welshman ‘Crag’ Jones, American Ed Webster, Indian climbers H.P.S. Ahluwalia and Neeraj Rana, as well as English climbing superstars Chris Bonington, Joe Brown, Doug Scott, Julian Freeman-Attwood and Rebecca Stephens. There are also contributions from Peter Hillary and Norbu Tenzing Norgay, respective sons of the first men to climb Everest on 29 May 1953.

Behind the bar of the hotel, guests frequently gape in awe at the historic Everest memorabilia which includes the rope that held Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay together on the summit, a wealth of photographs and engraved beer tankards as well as the signatures of the famous mountaineers scrawled on the ceiling of the ‘Everest Room’. 

The curious thing about the hotel—‘A venerable, modest and celebrated inn’—as Jan Morris so eloquently describes it, is that the premises are not nearly as important as its remarkable patrons. And so, this book is not about the hotel as much as it is about everything around (and inside) the Gwryd; stories about people, their observations and adventures, achievements and celebrations.

The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room is compiled and edited by Rob Goodfellow, Jonathan Copeland and Peter O’Neill.  It will be available for £14.99 from all good bookshops and online retailers or directly from the publisher Gomer Press on



Biographical details

The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room

Compiled and edited by Rob Goodfellow, Jonathan Copeland and Peter O’Neill

ISBN 9781785621499

hardback, 260 pages

Published by Gomer Press



For more information, review copy, jpeg of the book cover, or images from inside the book please contact:  / 01559 363090




Built in 1810 as a remote mountain farmhouse, extended and used as a coaching inn and later as the training headquarters of the first successful Everest climbing expedition in 1953, and now run as a haven safe from the relentless grind of modernity, there are few hotels that can boast such a unique history and location as the Pen y Gwryd. 


For more information, see the hotel’s website:



‘A venerable, modest and celebrated inn.’

Jan Morris


‘The thing I like about the Gwryd is it has atmosphere.’

Joe Brown


‘As a climber, I very much wanted to stay at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel.’

H.P.S. Ahluwalia


‘The Pen y Gwryd, where my father so often came to see his friends.’

Norbu Tenzing Norgay


‘The hotel oozes atmosphere from every dark-beamed crevasse and slate-clad fireplace.’

Rebecca Stephens


‘I will always hold PyG so very dear and long may it never change.’ Chris Bonington


‘The PyG, undeniably the centre of British climbing life.’

Doug Scott


‘There are few more fitting places for a mountaineers’ party than the Pen y Gwryd Hotel.’

Anna Lawford


‘The Pen y Gwryd lets me in these days.’

Caradoc ‘Crag’ Jones


‘Virtually all the “giants”, my British climbing heroes, have enjoyed many a convivial evening in the PyG’s much loved Smoke Room.’

Ed Webster


‘Today’s PyG is evidence of the enduring power of the mountains.’

Emily Pitts



Dr Rob Goodfellow (PhD) is a cross-cultural risk management specialist, writer, historian and educator. He is the author, co-author or editor of a number of books on Australia, Indonesia and China, as well as in the broad field of comparative cultural studies. He worked at the bar of the Pen y Gwryd in 1979.


Jonathan Copeland (LLB) was a solicitor in the City of London for a quarter of a century and is now a writer and photographer. He has written books on Bali, Bangkok and Rye, East Sussex. When not writing or photographing he helps his Balinese partner Murni in her hotel in Ubud, Bali.


Peter O’Neill OAM (BA Fine Arts) is an arts administrator, writer and educator with over 40 years’ experience in the development and management of art museums and representative organisations within the cultural sector. Although not a climber himself, he lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, a World Heritage Site that attracts climbers from all over the world.


Jan Morris
Rupert Pullee
Geoffrey Pocock
Neeraj Rana
Chris Bonington
Rosemary Hocking
Desmond Hall
Michael Ward
John Blackmore
Ken Jones
Kay Mitchell
Peter Hillary
Katharine Anne Lerman
Ffion White
Tony Astill
Rebecca Stephens
Paul Newby
Eliza Winkler
Rosie Lloyd
Neil Robertson
Jim Perrin
Betty Humphreys
Alice Burton
Joe Brown
Anna Lawford
Dane Tobias
Rob Collister
Ed Webster
Elaine Travis
William ‘Bill’ Roache
Caradoc ‘Crag’ Jones
Ben Reedy
Doug Scott
John Neill
Ann Verity
Mike Dent
Andy Harbach
Chuck Evans
Joseph Blackburn
John Disley
Chris Warren
David Matthews
Nick Longland
Nicola Maysmor
Harvey Lloyd
H.P.S. Ahluwalia
Gwyn Berry
Gordon Lindsay Jones
Norbu Tenzing Norgay
Margaret Clennett
Chris Lloyd
Hugh Brasher
Paul Carling
Miryam MacPherson
Piers J. Hale
Julian Freeman-Attwood
Christine Birch
Ken Smith
Michael Smith
Jim Milledge
Mike Conlon
Emily Pitts