Quadruple amputee sets his sights on climbing world’s tallest wall


A QUADRUPLE amputee is setting himself the ultimate challenge by scaling the tallest climbing wall in the world.

Mountaineer Jamie Andrew, will attempt the climb of a life time at Groningen, Holland using prosthetic “climbing feet” in his second attempt at conquering the wall, which is known as Excalibur.

A 121ft-tall structure, Excalibur is one of the toughest climbs in the world – its height and curved structure is only suitable for the most experienced climbers.

Copyright - Jamie Andrew
The mountaineer is optimistic about his latest challenge
Photo: Jamie Andrew

Mr Andrew, from Edinburgh said he would relish the chance to tackle the wall again.

He said: “I was in Switzerland recently and thought I might as well swing by Excalibur on the way home.

The weather wasn’t very good that day, it had been raining and the holds were quite slick, so I only got about quarter of the way up.

“I wanted to do something difficult, but also something that was reasonably safe – I have kids now and you have to put them first.”

It has been a long road to recovery for the 43-year old, who has climbed in some of the harshest conditions on earth and has even scaled the London Olympic Stadium.

Mr Andrew lost his hands and feet aged 29 after being trapped at 12,000ft in the French Alps by bad weather.

Stuck with climbing partner, Jamie Fisher, the pair were in a life threatening situation during their climb at Les Droites.

Mr Andrew fell victim to frost bite in the -30C temperature and as a result had his hands and feet amputated almost immediately after being rescued.

Mr Fisher died hours before the rescue helicopter arrived.

But Mr Andrew said he still loves climbing: “As anyone who has ever climbed the wall will tell you, it can be quite scary – you do run a very real risk of falling – but the adrenalin rush is all part of the fun.

“I only fell once last time, so I’m hoping one more attempt will do the trick,” he added.

“Climbing is what I’ve always loved doing the most and the accident didn’t change that.

“However, I had felt like my climbing had stagnated slightly because I hadn’t set myself any new challenges and also because my time is taken up more with family commitments.”

“Obviously there are technical challenges – having no hands makes it difficult to clip and unclip the carabiner climbers use to secure themselves.

“I do design and adapt my own equipment and created a variation on a carabiner that I can clip and unclip with my stump.”