Jamie Andrew OBE is a Quadruple Amputee Mountaineer, Marathon Runner, Author and Motivational Speaker.
Jamie Andrew was born on the 3rd August 1969 and brought up in Bearsden, just outside Glasgow. He went to school in Bearsden, then Glasgow, and left to study for a BEng in Electrical Engineering at Edinburgh University. After a brief spell at Bangor in North Wales to complete an MSc, he returned to Edinburgh and has lived there ever since.
In 1995, Jamie gave up engineering and took up a career as an Industrial Rope Access Technician, carrying out various maintenance and construction projects on high buildings and structures by means of abseil. Projects included building oil rigs, repairing viaducts, cleaning power stations and painting the Forth Rail Bridge. He soon progressed to being a Team Leader, Safety Supervisor and Rope Access Trainer for an Edinburgh based company.
Mountaineering 1986 – 1999:
Jamie Andrew was an active mountaineer and rock climber for well over a decade, making many successful expeditions to mountain ranges and rock faces across Europe and throughout the world. He has also made many first ascents of rock climbs in Scotland.
Climbs made included:
The Walker Spur on The Grandes Jorasses in The French Alps, the North Face of Cima Ouest in The Dolomites and the North Face of Piz Badille in Bregalia.
In Yosemite Valley, California he climbed The Nose on El Capitan, North-West Face of Half Dome and The Prow on Washington Column. In South Africa he climbed the North Face of Dutoitsberg, and in Morocco all of the 4000m peaks of The Atlas Mountains.
During this period he also did a lot of competitive hill running, skiing, and many other outdoor sports and I was the president of the Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club.
At the height of his climbing career, tragedy struck unexpectedly when his climbing partner and himself where caught for five days in a terrible storm after completing the North Face of Les Droites in the French Alps. The ensuing helicopter rescue was one of the most spectacular in the history of the Alps and made news headlines around the world.
Unfortunately the rescue came too late for his partner Jamie Fisher but Jamie survived despite severe frostbite and hypothermia. Later in hospital, all of his hands and feet had to be amputated.
Rehabilitation 1999 – 2002:
After Jamie’s accident he made a surprisingly swift recovery, the story of which has been described by many as inspirational. Within three and a half months he had learnt to walk on prosthetic legs and had sufficiently re-learnt everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and feeding to be able to leave hospital. He immediately returned to full time work as a manager for the same rope access company he had worked for before and was soon considered a valuable and fully productive member of the management team.
In June 2000 his long term partner, Anna Wyatt and Jamie were married.
Since the accident, Jamie Andrew has participated in many sporting activities including swimming, running, skiing, snow-boarding, paragliding, caving, orienteering and sailing. But it was returning to mountaineering that was to provide the greatest goal and the biggest challenge.
To begin with, his local hills in and around Edinburgh and other small Scottish hills were testing enough. But in June 2000 he climbed Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, raising over £15,000 for charity in the process. A 30 minute documentary, called ‘Climb Back’, was made of this ascent, screened on BBC Scotland and featured at the Kendal Mountaineering Film Festival.
Jamie also returned to active rock climbing and ice climbing and has climbed various routes in Scotland, England, Wales and France, including Little Chamonix (VDiff), Christmas Curry (HS), Bloody Chimney (VS) and Left Twin (III).
In May 2001 he returned to Chamonix, and with one of his doctors and his rescuers, he climbed the Cosmiques Arete on L’Aiguille du Midi, subject of a 50 minute documentary for French television called ‘Le Defi de Jamie’, broadcast on France 3 and winner of several film festival awards.
In April 2002 Jamie ran the London Marathon, raising over £22,000 for charity on the way.
He returned to the Alps several times in 2002 and climbed several mountains including Mont Blanc du Tacul (4200m) and The Monch (4099m). He also made an attempt on Mont Blanc (4800m), Western Europe’s highest mountain, but was forced to turn back just 300m below the summit due to closing bad weather.
In 2000 Jamie was presented with a RADAR (Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation) People of the Year Award. He was also the winner of a Junior Chamber of Commerce Young Scotland Personal Achievement Award.
In 2002 he was the overall winner of the Lloyds TSB / Sunday Mail Great Scot Award.
In 2004 Jamie climbed Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain at 5906m. The expedition was the first ever all-disabled mountaineering expedition and as such it was a great challenge for the four team members to find ways of playing to their individual strengths and working round their weaknesses.
Starting from scratch in February 1999, Jamie has progressed so much in the last few years, yet there is still so much for him to achieve. He can cook a three course meal but he can’t do up the top button of his shirt. He can wire a plug yet he can’t hammer a nail. He can drive a car but not ride a bike.
Jamie wants to continue climbing mountains and to run more marathons. He wants to run a hundred metres in under twelve seconds and cross Greenland on skis. He wants to continue to write about all these things and to talk about them, in the hope of inspiring others.
Jamie Andrew’s story is quite simply one of the most gripping and profound you will encounter and it is guaranteed to leave any audience moved, inspired and uplifted.