Andy started climbing in his teens on the gritstone outcrops of Yorkshire, but a trip to Chamonix in 2001 opened the door to a whole new world of adventures in the mountains. A talented and experienced alpinist who draws inspiration from the feats of great British climbers such as Alex MacIntyre, Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker, Andy Cave and Mick Fowler, he enjoys making fast and light ascents of the classic north faces, including the Matterhorn, Eiger and Grandes Jorasses, but he also relishes high-altitude expeditions to the Greater Ranges.
Birthdate: 21st July 1981
Homebase: Yorkshire / Chamonix
Favourite Book: The Poet - Michael Connelly
Favourite Film: The Bourne trilogy
Favourite Food: A Sunday roast
Favourite Song: Foo Fighters – ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’
Biggest Dream: To stand on a summit with good friends.
Best advice: Work hard, play hard; and follow your dreams, not what others expect of you.
What inspires you? People who work or train hard to achieve their goals against all the odds. And the odd mountain or two…
Favourite other fitness exercise: I do a lot of road cycling and running.
I don’t leave home without my…. The North Face Thermoball Jacket
The North Face - Link Sar
Movie: Link Sar
It is the mental and physical challenges of alpinism that keep him coming back for more. He enjoys the sense of achievement and adventure that comes from making rapid ascents in technically difficult environments without back-up camps and fixed lines, but also the freedom of not being weighed down by kit. His passion for the Greater Ranges stems from a deep desire to explore the unknown and to embrace new challenges: the more technical complications and the more physical demands, the more intense the climbing experience.
Andy’s ascent of the unclimbed north face of Chang Himal, Nepal, with his climbing partner Nick Bullock earned a nomination for the prestigious Piolet d’Or 2010. But his most memorable ascent was a repeat of the Slovak Direct on the nearly 3000m south face of Denali. Again climbing with Nick, four days of amazing climbing and harsh Alaskan weather lead to a truly unique and memorable mountain experience.
In recent years he has ventured back to Alaska and Nepal and in 2015 he completed a first ascent of the west summit of Link Sar (6938m) in Pakistan along with Jon Griffith. A keen outdoor athlete, he also enjoys trail running and completed the 100Km Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc CCC (Courmayeur Champex Chamonix) in 2014.
Andy currently divides his time between Yorkshire and Chamonix. His focus for the years ahead is to plot one major expedition a year in locations such as Pakistan and Nepal, as well as to enjoy technically challenging rock climbing challenges in the Alps. What matters most to him, however, is enjoying the time he spends in the mountains, soaking up the spectacular terrain and savouring the feeling of pitching himself against the mountain in the company of good friends.
- First Ascent of the West Summit of Link Sar (6938m) in Pakistan, with Jon Griffith via a new route called Fever Pitch (2015)
- First attempt on Link Sar (7041m) in Pakistan, but expedition curtailed by illness (2013)
- Attempt of a technical new route on the North Face of Chamlang (7319m) Nepal (2012)
- First British ascent (and sixth overall ascent) of the Slovak Direct route (5.9, WI6, M5, Alaskan Grade VI) on the South Face of Denali, Alaska together with Nick Bullock (2012)
- The Winter Needle, VIII 8 260m, Cairngorms, Scotland, fast ascent of this Scottish classic (2011)
- Second expedition to attempt the South Pillar of Kyashar, this time abandoned because of too much snow (2011)
- Too Late To Say I’m Sorry, ED M6 1000m, Aiguille Verte, France (2010)
- Expedition to attempt the unclimbed South Pillar of Kyashar, 6769m, Nepal. We got one day into the attempt but had to bail due to my partner suffering from altitude illness (2010)
- First free ascent of the Grand West Couloir with a variation start, ED WI5+ M6, 700m, Aiguille du Plan, France (2009)
- Link of Russian Roulette into Gaby/Silvi, ED2, Aiguille Sans Nom (2009)
- First ascent of the North Face of Chang Himal 6802m, Nepal, ED+ M6, an 1800m face climbed in alpine style over five days (2009)
- Expedition to attempt the unclimbed South summit of Peak 41 6575m, Nepal. Expedition abandoned after base camp was robbed and everything taken (2008)
- First ascent of new start to Country Couloir, TD+ M5 WI5, East Face Mont Maudit, France (2007)
- 2nd ascent after 24 years of the French Route, ED3 WI6 M6, Moonflower Buttress, Mont Hunter, Alaska (2007)
- Winter ascents of a number of big alpine routes including Colton–MacIntyre, ED3, Grandes Jorasses, 1938 Route North Face of Eiger, There Goes The Neighbourhood/Cohen-Collister, ED2, Aiguille Verte. Omega (free ascent to summit) ED+ Petite Jorasses (2007)
- Ski descents of many classic couloirs and faces around the Mont Blanc massif (2007)
- Expedition to the rarely visited Cordillera Oriental, Peru to attempt the unclimbed South face of Huaguruncho. Original objective was not possible but we made the first ascent of a smaller peak, Huarancayo South (2006)
- Original Route, 5.11- 750m, La Esfinge, Peru (2006)
- Nominated for the prestigious Piolet d’Or award for the ascent of Chang Himal.