Page 3 Profile: Jamie Andrew, mountaineer


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The Independent Online

Ain’t no mountain high enough?

Not for him. Last year he became the first quadruple amputee to attempt to scale the 14,500ft Matterhorn.

Has he previous experience?

Plenty. Mr Andrew, 45, has climbed since he was a teenager. In January 1999 he and his friend Jamie Fisher were caught in a storm after climbing the north face of Les Droites in the Mont Blanc massif. For five nights they battled winds of 90 mph and temperatures of -30°C. Mr Fisher died of hypothermia but Mr Andrew survived.

I take it he didn’t escape unscathed?

He developed severe frostbite and hypothermia. When he awoke from an artificially induced coma, both of his hands and both of his feet had been amputated. “Nothing can prepare you for waking up to find that your hands and feet are gone,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “It was an incredibly tough time. At times, I didn’t want to live any more.”

So how did he fare in the Alps?

That would be telling. A documentary about the whole experience, entitled The Limbless Mountaineer, will be broadcast on Channel 5 on Friday. This year he also hopes to tackle El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in California’s Yosemite National Park. “When I’m climbing I feel most alive,” he said. “There will always be risks involved, but to fail to make the most of life is a far bigger risk.”