Will Steffen

During his 35-year career in the mountains, Will Steffen, a Canberra resident, has climbed on every continent except Antarctica and has combined rockclimbing in Australia with alpine climbing in New Zealand and expedition climbing in the Himalaya. He was a member of the 1988 Australian Baruntse Expedition. He has a keen interest in the development of Australian mountaineering, and has written two surveys of Australian Himalayan climbing as well as profiles of several leading Australian climbers.

In his academic life, Will Steffen is Executive Director of the Climate Change Institute at The Australian National University, Canberra, and also serves as a Climate Commissioner. From 1998 to mid-2004, he served as Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, based in Stockholm, Sweden. His research interests span a broad range within the fields of climate change and Earth System science, with an emphasis on incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis; and on sustainability, climate change and the Earth System.

Himalayan Dreaming »

Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, 1922–1990

Authored by: Will Steffen
How did climbers from the world’s flattest, hottest continent become world-class Himalayan mountaineers, the equal of any elite mountaineer from countries with long climbing traditions and home ranges that make Australia’s highest summit look like a suburban hill? This book tells the story of Australian mountaineering in the great ranges of Asia, from the exploits of a brash, young colonial with an early British Himalayan expedition in the 1920s to the coming of age of Australian climbers in the 1980s. The story goes beyond the two remarkable Australian ascents of Mt Everest in 1984 and 1988 to explore the exploits of Australian climbers in the far-flung corners of the high Himalaya. Above all, the book presents a glimpse into the lives – the successes, failures, tragedies, motivations, fears, conflicts, humor and compassion – themselves to the ultimate limits of survival in the most spectacular and demanding mountain arena of all.