Michael Spender joined the 1935 reconnaissance as a surveyor, mapping the 26 peaks over 20,000 feet (6100 m) of which that expedition was to make the first ascent.
After graduating from Oxford with a Double First in engineering he also worked as a surveyor on expeditions to the Great Barrier Reef (1928–29) and East Greenland (1932 and 1933). In addition, he was a talented musician and the brother of the noted literary critic and poet Sir Stephen Spender. Spender was often arrogant and tactless, but found a friend in Shipton, who appreciated his zest for life. In 1945 Spender became a Squadron Leader with the RAF. He died in a plane crash in the last week of World War II.