PSA speaker

Raising the Bar…

Since the dawn of time, the older generations have guided and inspired the younger.  Children have always looked up to their parents, guardians, teachers and role models and lived by the examples they set.  Whether these exemplars are in the family, in education, sport, exploration, business or politics, we have never failed to follow them.  This is why we, as elders, need to set the example and our generation holds a huge responsibility for future children.  What we do or say can have far reaching effects.  Let me explain…

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Hold Me Now…

Ice Climbing is a sport which many thing crazy, wrong or downright dangerous.  I disagree.  It’s a pure athletic sport, with routes that change year on year, challenging even the most skilled climber.  Variations in the weather can make or break a route, or a season.  It can be made as safe as you wish, but also as challenging as you like.  Physically it’s incredibly demanding, but the mental aspects come harder.  Youre climbing up water, which for much of the year is heading downhill.  Ive recently returned from a weeks climbing in Rjukan, Norway, where icefalls galore await…

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Is modern communication destroying adventure..?

TEDx

Technology has entered our modern lives with a vengeance.  Whether we like it or not, the digital age has crossed the globe and there seems little escaping it.  I recently spoke at TEDx Derby, and challenged an audience of creative and technology driven people to think differently about the umbilical cord of the mobile phone, wi-fi and worldwide web…

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Are you obsessed with your goals..?

Ama-Dablam-Window-Shot

I recently attended the PSAUKI MEGA Conference in Manchester.  There I caught up with fellow climber Cathy O’Dowd.  She was speaking about her part in a record-breaking climb to cross the Manzeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat.  Her stories and images were stunning, but one phrase Cathy said struck a chord with me.  It was ‘Goal Obsessed Society’.  Lets look at those two words…

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Making assumptions…

A few years ago on the slopes above Meribel I bumped into some of the RAF Telemark Ski Team.  They asked me if I had a light, I said no, but offered them a hip-flask full of Whisky.  One of them was a medical officer and noticed my shortened fingers. She asked “are you badly injured?” I explained my situation and within minutes I was having tea with a Major and stood surrounded by people shaking their heads in disbelief.  “You can’t ski telemark without toes!” they said.  It sounded like the same voices that said I’d never climb again after suffering severe frostbite. It was the start of a relationship that has seen me ski with the Army Telemark Ski Association, the GB Telemark Team, lecture at Sandhurst and the Royal Citadel in England, and Rauris in Austria.Read More »Making assumptions…

Taking a risk…

Life is based on risk. We would not have been born unless our mothers took risks, yet the modern world seems to be hell bent on removing them. When I say removing, should I say eradicating them and stersalising life. We have evolved as human beings by taking risks – from planting the first crops to crossing the great oceans of our world.

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20 Years in 1000 words and 5 minutes…



Christmas comes but once a year, and when it comes, it brings good cheer, oh and decorations, shopping, wrapping, panic and bedlam. The modern world is possessed with the desire of want rather than of need, and constantly demands more. I mentioned this to Zena Hawley of the Derby Telegraph as we talked about my recent invitation to Buckingham Palace (see my blog on a Royal Night to Remember).

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Kendal, but without the Mintcake…

The Kendal Mountain Festival is the highlight of the climbing calendar in the UK, but for me it wasn’t always that way.  I had visited the festival years back and even had my Discovery Channel documentary “Nightmare at 20,000ft” premiered there, but I always felt a little lost.  Was it because I was on my own?  Or the fact that I didn’t know a soul?  Who knows, but it all changed one day on the Hornli Ridge.

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Where did I put that Camera..?

As a professional speaker I find it difficult not to criticise others on stage about this or that.  Is their layout good?  Are their images of high quality?  Can the presenter speak well and engage their audience?  This was an evening where I had nothing to worry about.  Julie Summers presented ‘Everest needs you Mr. Irvine’ at Derby Guildhall and stunned us all with her incredible knowledge, depth of research, wonderful pictures and heartfelt passion about her Great Uncle, Sandy Irvine.

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