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Move Mountains For Malcolm

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On August 24th, 2020, Malcolm Bass was a world class British mountaineer  who had climbed first ascents and new routes in the Himalaya and Alaska, and had just finished two days of joyful climbing in the Scottish Highlands, doing what he loves most.

Less than a day later, Malcolm was lying in a hospital bed in Dundee, barely able to move, see or speak. Two days after that he was rushed into life-saving cranial surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, ending up on life support in the ICU.

Without warning or any known underlying causes, Malcolm had had a devastating  stroke, suddenly collapsing while visiting his climbing partner and close friend Simon Yearsley. Fortunately, Simon and his wife, Sarah, were able to identify the signs of a stroke and called an ambulance - their quick thinking almost certainly saved  Malcolm’s life. The stroke hit without mercy and flung this immensely fit athlete, adventurer and National Health Service psychologist into the abyss.

As soon as Malcolm’s wife, Donna James, received the shocking and terrifying news she sped from their home in the north of England to be with him, unsure if he was going to survive.  Malcolm spent many harrowing months in hospital and since the craniectomy surgery he’s been wearing a special helmet until he has another operation to repair his skull with a protective plate.

The catastrophe has turned Malcolm and Donna’s world upside down.

Malcolm was recently able to return home  to continue his gruelling rehabilitation. Even as someone who’s pushed himself to the limits of his courage and endurance on technically hard, new routes on high altitude peaks, he’s now facing the toughest challenge of his life.

We, a group of his oldest and closest friends, want to get him back out into the mountains as soon as possible. But you have to walk before you can run, let alone climb, so we’re raising funds to provide our incredible mountain athlete with the care, equipment and treatment he needs for the mission of getting back on his feet - literally - and ultimately back out into a world of adventure in whatever form that’s feasible.

We’re reaching out now because time is of the essence in this crucial phase of his recuperation.  The more and the sooner Malcolm can have extra physical, occupational and cognitive therapy the better chance he has of the fullest recovery possible. He’s making gradual progress but there is still a long way to go.


Malcolm is a person of courage, vision, wisdom and compassion. He’s also a ridiculously modest, kind, generous and hilarious bloke, and a great cook. He is a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, colleague, neighbour and friend.  He has always been a rock of support and loving advice for family, friends and colleagues - for anyone who’s ever needed him.

It’s now our job to be there for this extraordinary man when he and Donna need us most.  

Donna is no stranger to challenges either, as a duathlon champion, triathlete and triathlon coach, and she’s taking care of her husband at home, working tirelessly to help him with his therapy to improve his motor skills , and surrounding Malcolm with the love and support that’s crucial to his recovery.  But she can’t do it alone and, on top of that, the pandemic has made it impossible for family and friends to visit and help out.


By mid-February, six months after his stroke, Malcolm has to be pushed along in a wheelchair but is learning to stand up and walk with assistance, a few steps at a time. His left side is still grievously affected, as is his eyesight, and while his cognition is good and speech improving, Malcolm is racing against time to make more progress.

We aim to raise funds to help provide Malcolm immediately, and in the longer term, with vital (but expensive) assistance, including:

-As much top class physical and occupational therapy as possible to try to restore movement to Malcolm’s affected left side, in hopes he can move independently again and be able to do things such as shower and dress without assistance. He dreams of being able to cook Donna one of his superb Indian dinners again. 

-Home care helpers for some of the basic needs of his day.

-Other forms of therapy to improve his speech and cognition, maximise impaired vision and aid his psychological well-being.

-Equipment such as an off-road wheelchair and a specialist tricycle to allow Malcolm not only to get around with greater ease but to explore again some wild outdoor spaces that are so central to his life and spirit. 

-A variety of home alterations that range from some basic improvements now for easier wheelchair use, right up to adapting Donna and Malcolm’s barn into a rudimentary rehab gym, and other important items, such as an adapted vehicle.

Some of these facilities are needed as soon as possible - stroke patients make their biggest improvements in the first year, so we’re up against the clock.

Other needs will emerge over the coming months as it becomes clear how fast and how far Malcolm can progress.

We are determined that this will not be the end of Malcolm’s sporting endeavours, independence and irrepressible vitality. He is filled with hope and spirit, committed to battling onwards and upwards in a bid not only to restore as much of his function as possible but also to do what he can in the longer run to help others who find themselves in a similar predicament. 

We all want to do everything we can to get him back to doing the things that are so close to his heart. Will you help us #MoveMountainsForMalcolm?


When Malcolm, at only 55, suffered the stroke he had many ambitious climbing projects in the pipeline, including leading new Scottish winter routes and Himalayan expeditions. Sadly these will remain unfulfilled, but we aspire to get him back out into the mountains that inspire him.

He’s spent many years pursuing his passions, achieving world class climbs in the mountains of Europe, China, India, Pakistan, the US and UK, and rock-climbing in his beloved North Yorkshire. 

One highlight happened in 2018 when Malcolm led the first ascent of Janhukot , a goal he’d pursued for many years, and, with teammates Guy Buckingham and Paul Figg, stood exhilarated atop the spectacular peak in the Indian Himalaya (6,780m/22,244 feet).

He’s made so many good friends along the way and is universally known as a mountaineer quick to share his knowledge and ideas in ways that inspire and coach others and have helped advance the sport as a whole, not with ego but joy and a huge heart.

Malcolm’s talent and dedication, including serving for two years as vice-president of The Alpine Club, have done much to boost British climbing.

In earlier years in the wild outdoors he made his mark as an exploratory caver and cave-diver pushing the limits in many previously-uncharted subterranean systems, before he fell in love with mountaineering - all crammed into his spare time outside of a high-pressure job.

Malcolm trained as a psychologist after graduating from Leeds University and has spent his whole career working for the NHS, helping patients at their most vulnerable.

In recent times, Malcolm began writing a book about the psychological aspects of high altitude mountaineering, and the good news is he’s still working on that during his rehabilitation.

He’s also now charting his recovery efforts and is collaborating with a research project and charity in hopes of helping other stroke victims and injured athletes through the development of new equipment.

We’ll have more details on this and other news in future updates.

Meanwhile, please join us and be part of our effort to #MoveMountainsForMalcolm.



  • Anonymous
    • £250 
    • 14 d
  • Leif Andrews
    • £1,245 
    • 1 mo
  • Christine Farnsworth
    • £50 
    • 1 mo
  • Ed Pratt
    • £25 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • £25 
    • 1 mo

Fundraising team (5)

Lisa McNulty
Donna James
Emma Crome
Team member
Guy Buckingham
Team member
Joanna Walters
Team member
Simon Yearsley
Team member

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