About Mount Everest Foundation


Patron: H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T.

The Mount Everest Foundation is the original – and still the most important – charity in the United Kingdom devoted to the support of exploration in mountain regions.

Founded after the successful 1953 Everest Expedition, and financed from surplus expedition funds, the royalties of John Hunt’s ‘The Ascent of Everest’, and a nationwide lecture tour by expedition members, the Foundation was established to encourage ‘exploration of the mountain regions of the Earth’.

Since its inception the MEF has dispensed over £1,000,000 in grants from the income generated by its investments, which now amount to about £1.5M. The majority of the grants now go to small expeditions, though in the past the Foundation has supported expeditions to the Earth’s highest peaks. Examples of these were first ascents and new routes on Everest, Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Xixabangma, Nuptse, Kongur and the Ogre. Over 1,000 expeditions have been helped so far. Approval from the MEF, even without a grant, is often highly valued by expeditions seeking sponsorship elsewhere.

Venues have ranged from Antarctica to Alaska, from South America to Greenland, and all across the Himalaya and Karakorum. Outstanding examples have been new routes on Ama Dablam, Asgard, Changabang, the Central Tower of Paine, Spantik, Siguniang, Taulliraju, Taweche, Xuelian West and Vasuki Parbat. However, in recent years an increasing proportion of supported expeditions have failed to achieve their primary objectives, often because of bad weather and poor conditions on the mountain.

There have also been ventures devoted principally to scientific research. Notable among these were the RGS Mulu (Sarawak) Expedition, the RGS International Karakorum Project, and the high altitude physiological studies during the first ascent of Kongur (Xinjiang). In 1987 the Foundation initiated the publication of a Map and Gazetteer of the Mountains of Central Asia. On the basis of recommendations made by the Gar Parau Foundation the MEF also supports a number of caving expeditions taking place in mountain areas.

The Foundation, which encourages the protection of mountains, their peoples, culture, fauna and flora, requires teams to follow strict environmental policies. It is administered by a Committee of Management and a Screening Committee whose members are nominated by the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society: all committee members, and the Hon Secretary and Hon Treasurer, are unpaid. Donations and bequests to further the aims of the Foundation will be gratefully received.

An annual fundraising lecture is now held in the RGS Ondaatje Theatre. In 2016 this will be held on November 1st, and the lecturer will be John Porter. Check this website for full details.

Applying for support

The MEF is a registered charity. Its aims are to encourage and support expeditions exploring mountain regions, and both education and research pertaining to a wide range of subjects in mountain areas. Both education and research in subjects such as geography, glaciology, and the effects of altitude are encouraged. Unless an expedition has research as a primary objective, it must have a strong exploratory element to be deemed eligible for support. Expeditions planning geographical exploration, first ascents or major new routes on high or remote mountains are likely to qualify. Applications from expeditions proposing to visit little-explored or formerly inaccessible areas are particularly encouraged, as are those pursuing worthwhile research. Normally the MEF will only support expeditions where the majority of members are from the UK and/or New Zealand, these being the nationalities of the members of the 1953 Everest Expedition, from whose success the MEF was originated. The Foundation also administers the Alison Chadwick Memorial Grant for deserving female expeditions, or individual female climbers, who have applied for MEF support.

Grant applications must be made electronically, using the Application for Grant Form down-loadable from this website, and submitted as an e-mail attachment addressed to the MEF Hon Secretary. The form can also be used as the basis for applications for support from the British Mountaineering Council

The main obligation of an expedition accepting support is to provide a Summary Report within four weeks of the end of the expedition, and a more detailed Final Report as soon as possible afterwards. Failure to observe this requirement is likely to result in expedition members being refused support in the future. Copies of the Final Reports are held by the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society. The Alpine Club is in the process of putting all MEF reports onto their website, and this process should be complete by the end of 2016.

The Screening Committee meets to consider applications twice a year, in November and March. Closing dates for submission of applications are 30th September and 31st January respectively.

These dates are strictly observed, and expeditions will not be considered in retrospect.

For all correspondence see: Contact information

For further detailed information on support for expeditions including guidelines, grant application forms and referee forms

Summaries of supported expeditions from 2000 onwards are available to view on this site

The Mount Everest Foundation is a Company Limited by Guarantee (No 543 894) and a Registered Charity (No 208206)

Registered address: Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR