The Limbless Mountaineer: Jamie Andrew’s Matterhorn climb to air on C5

Posted: March 25, 2014 by kirisyko in Climbing, High altitude mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Winter Alpinism
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Channel 5 will follow quadruple amputee Jamie Andrew as he climbs the Matterhorn in new documentary The Limbless Mountaineer.

Andrew lost his hands and feet to frostbite 15 years ago when he became stranded in a blizzard in the French Alps which killed his climbing partner Jamie Fisher.

Jamie Andrew in The Limbless Mountaineer

© Channel 5

Andrew’s hands and feet were amputated after he was taken to hospital by helicopter, but after physiotherapy and prosthetics he began snowboarding within a year, as well as taking part in marathons and triathlons.

The Limbless Mountaineer will now follow Andrew as he faces the Matterhorn, an Alpine peak from which 1,200 rescues are made each year.

During the training period for the ascent, Andrew’s partner Roger Payne was killed in an avalanche, while Andrew has admitted that the Matterhorn is the “wrong kind of climbing” for him.

Jamie Andrew in The Limbless Mountaineer

© Channel 5

“If it was a bit steeper, I could get my arms onto the rock and climb quickly,” he said. “If it was less steep I could use my trekking poles and walk upright. As it is, I have to stumble from rock to rock, balancing as best I can, lunging with my arms to stop myself teetering back on my prosthetic legs.

“It’s back-breaking work. The terrain is incredibly broken and it is impossible for me to keep up any pace. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that bravery is not always about taking tough challenges, but about taking tough decisions.

“Hopefully I have done my part to push back the boundaries of what disabled people can achieve, and Channel 5’s The Limbless Mountaineer is an edifying documentary about the journey.”

Jamie Andrew in The Limbless Mountaineer

© Channel 5

Meanwhile, executive producer Paul Crompton described working with Andrew as “nothing but inspirational”, saying: “He’s not just a man on a mission, he’s also a true gent. It was a delight to spend almost two years with him making this film.”

The Limbless Mountaineer will air on Friday, April 4 at 9pm on Channel 5 and will screen a day later at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival.

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