“An ambitious young man with genuine determination, Geordie’s attitude is inspiring and I am proud to support his challenge. I wish him all the best in this record attempt and for his exciting future as an explorer.“
SIR RANULPH FIENNES – Patron
In the Spring of 2011 I returned to Everest and became the Youngest Brit to climb the 7 Summits. Having got painfully close, a mere 120m, in 2010, I returned to the Northeast ridge but this time even more focused and even better prepared! Over Christmas 2010, I climbed Vinson Massif in Antarctica before completing the 6th mountain in my 7 Summits attempt, Carstensz Pyramid, in Indonesia in March leaving just Everest to conclude my dream.
Ever since reading Bear Grylls’ book ‘Facing Up’ at the age of 17, it has been my dream to climb to the summit of Mount Everest as well the highest point in each of the other 6 continents – a challenge known as the 7 Summits. In 2008 I had a year out between school and university, which was the first opportunity I had to embark on my ambition, and I decided to attempt climbs in Argentina, Tanzania and Russia.
I have funded all of my climbing expeditions myself by working in a variety of jobs including waitering, marquee erecting and football coaching. It was as a result of my Scottish family that I gained an interest in mountaineering and a love for the hills, leading to completing the Three Peaks Challenge in 2007. However it wasn’t until February 2008 that I first attempted one of the Seven Summits – Aconcagua.
I became one of the youngest Britons ever to summit Aconcagua – the highest mountain in South America standing at 6962m – before climbing Kilimanjaro solo in May of the same year which I summited on my 19th birthday. My final expedition before starting at the University of St Andrews, where I am currently studying for a degree in History, was to Russia where I reached the highest point in Europe by summiting Mount Elbrus.
In July 2009 I climbed the highest mountain in North America, Denali. Our twelve person team was fortunate with the typically unpredictable weather as we summited under clear blue skies after two weeks ascending the mountain.
All of the above were preparation for Everest, and in March 2010 I flew to Kathmandu to climb precisely that. After 7 weeks on the mountain, I got to within 120m from the summit of my dreams before turning around, despite still feeling strong, because time was at a premium. I was heavily delayed on the ascent after helping a Sherpa and two teammates who were all suffering from severe altitude sickness.
As if I hadn’t been completely aware before, human life is far far more important than the summit of any mountain. These delays however, compromised my summit attempt.