David has explored frozen summits everywhere from Pakistan to Patagonia but his greatest passion is for the harsh and beautiful high-altitude terrain of 8000m mountains. He has already conquered five of the 14 different 8000m peaks on Earth, reaching the summits of Gasherbrum II (8035m), Broad Peak (8051m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Lhotse (8516m) and Makalu (8481m), as well as ascending to 8200m on K2 (8611m). This hostile landscape of ice and snow, where the thin air slows the body and the mind, continues to fascinate him and he enjoys knowing that every decision and movement has major consequences. It is this feeling of being exposed and vulnerable on a mountain which makes him feel most alive.
Spain and Chamonix, France
I hope that I will still enjoy the mountains when I am 80 years old.
How do I focus
By prioritising what is important.
To trust your gut feeling, in life in general, but particularly while mountaineering.
What inspires you?
Climbing history is full of stories and people who inspire me; sometimes isolated climbs or sometimes an entire lifetime can be inspirational. For example, the British climbers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were way ahead of their time with climbs like Gaurishankar’s West Face, and have always been an inspiration to me.
Words to live by
Enjoy, be happy and respect
Favourite other fitness exercise
I don’t leave home without my...
Top 5 career highlights
- "Supercanaleta" on Fitz Roy in Patagonia (2003)
- 8000m peaks summits: Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, Dhaulagiri, Lhotse and Makalu
- Nuptse summit in spring 2012
- Winter attempt of Nanga Parbat in 2013/2014 with an altitude reached of 7200m
- Winter climbs of the 3 big famous north faces: Eiger, Grand Jorasses and Matterhorn
The mountains were not always such a happy playground for David. On his first rock climbing adventure at the age of 10, he started crying in fear when he reached 50m, and didn’t climb again for three years. But he persevered and eventually fell in love with the mountains, so much so he differed – indefinitely – entry to university to become a mountain guide.
David always climbs ‘light and fast’ and without the use of oxygen and takes his passion for climbing seriously. Climbing is a source of inspiration, fulfilment and confidence and a vehicle for new life experiences and adventures. When he climbs a mountain it’s not just about exploring incredible new places, but also a way of exploring himself. He has become a truly measured climber, never letting his passions overrule cool judgement and decision making. This has kept him alive on some of his more challenging ascents, most recently attempting Everest for the third time – he turned back at the South Col because he didn’t feel well.
The Himalaya remains his favourite place to climb and he’s summited a plethora of 8,000m+ peaks, including Shishapangma (8013m), Nanga Parbat (8126m) Kangchenjunga (8586m), Gasherbrum II (8034m), Broad Peak (8047m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Lhotse (8516m) and Makalu (8485m). He’s also climbed the Eiger, Grand Jorasses and the Matterhorn in winter.
Fun, good company and always energetic, David is a popular member of the global climbing community who pushes the boundaries of light and fast mountaineering.