Andy is one of a handful of pioneers exploring new routes in remote mountain ranges. He and his team mates test their resources and resolve to the hilt, relying on their skill and on each other, as there are rarely rescue options.
His story of overcoming adversity and rising above expectations has inspired audiences all over the world.
Andy left school at 16 with no qualifications and followed family tradition starting work as miner at Grimethorpe pit. The work was brutal, and yet he claims it gave him an invaluable insight. “In that filthy, dangerous hell, I learnt essential lessons about teamwork; without it you could not survive.”
What distinguishes Andy from other speakers is that he excels in multiple fields… He brings all this experience to bear to make his speeches engaging and relevant to his audience.
At 17, he did his first rock climb and was instantly hooked. He soon began dreaming of scaling the world’s most difficult mountain climbs, though many laughed at the ambition in one so new to the sport. Just three years later, he succeeded on the infamous north face of the Eiger.
After four years as a miner, Andy quit his job so he could dedicate himself to climbing. He also returned to education, eventually studying for a degree in English, then a PhD in Linguistics.
He has led expeditions around the world. In the Himalayas, he made the first ascent of one of the 20th Century’s greatest climbs, and in the Alps he summited on ‘Divine Providence’, considered to be the hardest climb. In 2000, he travelled to Alaska to tackle Mount Kennedy’s North Face; his team succeeding where many others had failed.
His story has been read by tens of thousands in his two award winning books, Learning to Breathe and Thin White Line. He has appeared on radio and TV, as both presenter and subject, and has inspired many with his journey of an ordinary boy growing up to achieve remarkable things.