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Andy Cave is one of the most renowned mountaineers in the world today. He draws on the exacting skills his passion demands to deliver inspirational motivational lectures. In 1997, Andy reached the summit of the notoriously difficult Himalayan mountain, Changabang, by one of the most challenging routes ever recorded. What makes his story even more incredible is the realisation that this ascent began 15 years earlier, 3,000 feet underground.
Despite suffering from claustrophobia, at the age of sixteen, Andy followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and became a miner at the local Grimethorpe colliery. Enduring the 1984-5 miners strikes, the poverty, the division of communities, the broken friendships, Andy continued to pursue his newly discovered obsession with climbing. In 1986, he quit his job at the pit in order to devote himself to mountaineering, climbing the infamous North Face of the Eiger at just twenty years old. At the same time he decided to educate himself, acquiring almost from a standing start, academic qualifications including a PhD in socio-linguistics.
Andy had a leading role in the highly acclaimed BBC 2 series Wild Climbs and has featured regularly on national radio. His best selling book Learning to Breathe has won two literary awards and has been translated into German and Italian. Critics have called the story ...a powerful testament to human strength, courage and the will to survive, even when your idea of heaven has turned to hell. A remarkable story from a remarkable man.
Andy Cave's talk illustrates how motivation plus teamwork and an ability not to be limited by the expectations of others can lead to the realisation of extraordinary goals. Succeeding on the world's most formidable, inaccessible mountains requires innovation, effective planning and the ability to manage risk, sometimes in situations of extreme crisis. These themes, which are central to the business world, are weaved into a rousing, uplifting tale illustrated with stunning photographic images.
I was engrossed by the way in which you interwove your earlier experiences in school and the coal face with your climbing exploits and, more importantly, how these often-stark experiences shaped your approach to personal organisation, to leadership and to the zen of climbing.
I have attended a number of presentations by motivational speakers, not all of them meeting their aspirations. I was blown away by the images that you dismissed with a casual diffidence that I and a number of the audience found both endearing and admirable. Great job Andy!
David Dickenson, Fujitsu UK