Andy Cave

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Andy Cave: Mountaineer, Speaker

Andy Cave is a British mountaineer. He was nominated for the Piolet d'Or for his ascent of the North Face of Changabang.


Born in 1966, Andy Cave grew up in Royston, a small coal mining village in South Yorkshire. On leaving school with few qualifications at 16, he followed family tradition and began work as a miner. This period also saw him begin climbing on the local Peak District crags. The miners' strike (1984–1985) gave Andy the opportunity to devote his time to climbing. In 1986, he left his job, returning to education and earned a degree in English (1993) and a PhD in Linguistics (2001). 1986 also saw him climb the North Face of the Eiger.

The Alps[edit]

On one of his first visits to the Alps, Andy did several climbs in just a few weeks. After soloing the north face of the Col du Plan, he climbed: the Bonatti Pillar, Aiguille du Dru; the Freney Pillar directissima, Mont Blanc; Gervussutti Pillar, Mt Blanc du Tacul; Walker Spur, Grandes Jorrasses; Brenva Spur, Mt Blanc; Eiger north face, Droites north face.

On a subsequent visit, he climbed • Brandler/Hasse on the Cima Grande • Fish on the Marmolada • solo climbed Piz Badile north face • Harlins/Robins direct on the Dru • Divine Providence on Mt Blanc • New route on the East face of the Grandes Jorrasses.

Expeditions to Himalayas[edit]

• Laila Peak • Gashebrum IV, south ridge • Ogre north face • Tupopdan • Trango Tower • Hispar La Towers • Shishapangma • Konga Shan Massif • Changabang • Ama Dablam • Annapurna III.

Expeditions to Alaska[edit]

Mt Kennedy north spur, first Alpine style ascent.

Expeditions to Patagonia[edit]

• Fitzroy • Mascara, Torres del Paine • Rio Turbio • Guillamet


Andy has written two autobiographies and numerous articles for climbing magazines and books. His first book, Learning to Breathe, won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature (2005), joint winner; the Best Adventure Travel Book at the Banff Mountain Book Festival (2005); the Premio Mazzotti prize (2006) and the Banca de Veneto Voce de Lettori in Italy in (2006). His second book, Thin White Line, has also received many accolades. His books have been translated into Italian and German. Reviews in major newspapers led to appearances on TV and radio, as well as invitations to lecture at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Andy has also made contributions to The Red Bulletin (2009), The Travellers' Handbook, (2009) and Water: The Essence of Life, Mark Niemeyer (2008), and was invited to write an introduction to James Salter’s novel, Solo faces.

TV and Radio[edit]

Andy has presented ‘Andy Cave’s Expedition Underground’, BBC Radio 4, exploring the history and significance of the Thirlmere Aqueduct. He has appeared on Dominic Arkwright’s ‘Leaving the Comfort Zone’, BBC Radio 4, and ‘Excess Baggage’ with Sandy Toksvig, BBC Radio 4.

TV appearances include: Coast on BBC2, climbing the Old Man of Hoy; Griff Rhys Jones' Mountain, BBC2, helping Griff motivate teenagers from a tough inner city school by taking them climbing; 'Wild Climbs', BBC2, an expedition to the sandstone towers of Teplice, Czech Republic; 'Eiger: Wall of Death’, BBC4; and ‘The Ogre’, ITV, his expedition to the north face of the Ogre in the Himalayas aged just 23yrs.

Academic qualifications[edit]

BA (Hons) English Language (1993), Sheffield Hallam University [1]

PhD Linguistics (2001), University of Sheffield [2]

D.Litt.h.c. from Sheffield University in 2015.[1]

Charitable activity[edit]

Andy is a trustee of the charity Adventure Learning Schools [3].

Along with Chris Bonington, Andy is a patron for the Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust [4].


External links[edit]