Andy Cave

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Leaving school with no qualifications, Andy kept to family tradition and became a coalminer. His friends laughed when he started climbing, but within three years he ascended the north face of the Eiger. As in his book Learning to Breathe, Andy explains how he made it from 3,000’ below ground to the Himalayas, and why he now returns to search for new routes to the summit. It’s about the joys of exceeding others’ expectations and breaking new ground.


Andy Cave's journey to the summit of the world's most difficult and dangerous mountains began 3,000 feet underground in the Yorkshire coalfields. His story of overcoming adversity and rising above expectations has inspired business audiences all over the world, many with no interest in mountaineering whatsoever.

Andy’s story tells of how he left school at 16 and, following family tradition, started work as miner at Grimethorpe pit. At 17, he did his first rock climb and became instantly hooked. He soon began dreaming of scaling the world’s most challenging climbs, though many laughed at the ambition in one so new to the sport. Just three years later, he succeeded on the infamous north face of the Eiger. In the Himalayas he and his team endured a 17-day epic climb of the gruelling north face of Changabang, a 24,000 foot peak in the Himalayas noted as one of the steepest, most testing mountains in the world.

Surviving that expedition and returning to the mountains once more is a story of great courage, resilience, team spirit and the ability to manage risk. The teamwork and planning Andy used in scaling the world’s toughest peaks are the same as those he and generations past used in the coal mine. In his acclaimed presentations, accompanied by stunning images, Andy highlights these themes which resonate with many organisations today.

Andy’s story has also been read by tens of thousands in his two award winning books, Learning to Breathe and Thin White Line - a journey of an ordinary boy growing up to achieve extraordinary things.

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