James Grieve

James Grieve Interview taken in 2016

British mountaineer James Grieve reached the summit of Mount Everest on the 19th May 2016 via the South route.

I read that to climb Mount Everest was your childhood dream. How old were you and what made you want to climb Everest?

I wanted to climb everest since I was about 7, I saw some mountaineering programme and I was hooked.

In 2015 you were at Everest Base Camp when the deadly earthquake hit Nepal and Mount Everest. Did that not put you off from going back again?

I was not at base camp when the earthquake hit, I had just got through the icefall and we were hit by another smaller earthquake at camp 1 and our tents were destroyed up there, I told Dan Mazur almost immediately that I wanted to come back in 2016 and it did not put me off.

The Ice Fall is said to be a terrifying place to climb through, how did you find it?

Yes the icefall is earily very quite and everyone does not speak very much climbing through here, basically it was get through as quick as possible.

How hard is it to go to the loo at 8,000 metres?

I needed the toilet at 8300 and also around 8550 or more and it is very difficult as I was dehydrated and there are so many layers and the cold, very difficult indeed.

Your summit day took 26 hours, 14 hours up and 12 hours down, that seems long compared to other teams, did you have any problems?

Yes I had problems, we stayed at camp for around 4 days and I was dehydrated and could not eat very much, my boots were a problem too as I had rubbing in my feet, yes a difficult climb but I endured.

You stood on the highest summit in the world at 09.15 on the 19th May, how long did you stay there and what was your view like?

I can’t remember exactly how long we stayed but it was approximately 30 or 40 minutes. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and we took photos and left some small mementos, pictures of my father and mother and my family.

You had frost nipped fingers on your right hand, has this healed up now?

Yes my frost nip has gone, I also had 4 or 5 black toe nails which have fallen off and now grown again, my boots were too tight, too much socks.

Out of all your clothing and equipment which one item do you wish was designed differently and why?

I would have preferred a better mask and regulator as I had to come several times without the flow of 02 for several hours at a time (another reason why my climb took so long), so yes a specific modified mask would be preferable.

Nepal is considering to ban lone mountaineers and restricting people with complete blindness, double amputation, as well as those above 75 years of age, from climbing peaks, including Mount Everest, to minimise accident risks. What are your views on this?

I believe that each individual is different and some disabled people, blind etc, can perform as well if not better than some more able bodied people, I also believe that age should not be a limit as some older people are well driven and train very hard, so the individual should be looked at on his or her merits, not disability or age.

The Sherpas are the backbone of Mount Everest. In your view do you think they are well treated, looked after (mountain clothing etc) and paid?

I cannot speak highly enough about the Sherpas, these are wonderful people with a superb character and driven determination, I believe Sherpas are starting to get more and more help and recognition.

Have you any plans to climb any more high mountains?

I do want to climb a few more 8000 metre peaks, the mountains have a wonder that is difficult to convey to the none climber.

Do you think that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine climbed the Second Step?


If you would like to find out more about James Grieve then head over to his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/james.a.grieve1

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