By my by own admission I am an accidental speaker and author. I became an author after writing about two attempts to climb Mount Everest. Through no fault of my own, events so far have transpired to prevent me from stepping foot on Everest’s summit, events that have both times ended in tragic circumstances. I am the first to admit that I am not your stereotypical mountaineer. Having dreamed about climbing the mountain for twenty five years I have never let go of that goal and the belief that I will one day do so.
I am no stranger to adversity and rejection. I first tried to get the funds together to climb the mountain in 2002. Through a lack of interest from potential sponsors I tried again in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2013 before finally arriving at the foot of the mountain in 2014. Little did I or anyone else know what was about to happen during this attempt, an attempt that ended early when sixteen Nepali mountain workers were tragically killed early in the climbing season.
I was able to return to Everest one year later determined this time to reach the summit. Once again events conspired to end my attempt when a devastating earthquake hit Nepal and twenty-two people on Everest were killed. I narrowly survived being killed by an avalanche on the mountain and subsequent aftershocks over a 48 hour period.
In the summer of 2015 I began to write my story of being caught up in these two tragic seasons on Everest. In a book I called, Everest: It’s not about the Summit, I wrote very candidly about not only my experiences on the mountain but also what drove and propelled me towards Everest in the first place. Not able to entice a publisher to take the project on, I wouldn’t take no for an answer and decided to self-publish the book. After launching a successful crowdfunding campaign I was able to pay the editing and printing costs to release the book, which I did to largely favourable reviews in late 2016. Due to popular demand I launched a second campaign to bring the book out in a hardback format in January 2018. Once more I successfully raised the money and was able to release the book in a limited edition run of 250 copies. They sold out instantly. In early April 2018 the book went to the #1 spot in the Mountaineering category on Amazon and continues to receive mostly positive reviews.
Although being just a regular guy trying to climb the mountain I accidentally became a public speaker after being invited to share my dream with local community groups. This snowballed and before long I was speaking in front of up to 250 guests at corporate events across the whole of the UK. I guess in a way my story is a universal one of hope over adversity. I have been lucky enough to share my story with everyone from primary school children, a packed conference full of accountants, through to a large group of octogenarians.
In July 2016 I was presented to HRH Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh after being invited to present Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards to a group of young people from Cumbria.
Through my attempts on the mountain so far, I have raised several thousands pounds for the NSPCC children's charity and subsequently for several Nepal charities after the 2015 earthquake. I am planning on returning to Everest in 2020 by the north side in Tibet. That's if I am able to gain a sponsorship deal.