In 2006, along with his best friend and expedition partner Rob Gauntlett, James became one of the youngest Britons to Summit Mt. Everest, followed in 2008 by completing the first ever human-powered journey from Pole to Pole, an expedition for which Rob and James were awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2008. Following Rob’s death in a tragic climbing accident in January 2009, James began an undergraduate degree in Geography in Seoul, South Korea in 2010.

In 2014, following his graduation, James moved to Wollongong, Australia to undertake a PhD in the field of Earth and Environmental Science. James was awarded his Doctorate in 2019 and is currently pursuing a career in research. During this time James has delivered hundreds of talks and presentations to a wide range of businesses, organisations and schools/universities in every continent barring Antarctica. He has also appeared in and hosted a variety of TV programs and Radio shows in addition to being a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines.

  • National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, 2008
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, 2009
  • Honorary Citizen of Jeju Island, South Korea, 2012


James’ adventures began while he was a 15 year-old at school, along with his best friend Rob Gauntlett. Since then he has climbed Mount Everest, and travelled from North Pole to South Pole using only human and natural power. Expeditions for which the pair received the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award in 2008. James believes that Adventure can play an important role in everyone’s life through the way that it inspires, opens eyes and encourages continual learning.

James’ expeditions have been featured in numerous TV programmes, newspapers and magazines internationally

Road to Everest

Cycling across Europe, rock climbing, alpinism and first Himalayan Ascents


Mt. Everest

Becoming the Youngest Britons to summit
Mt. Everest, aged 19


180 Degrees

A world first manpowered expedition from the
North to South Pole

2007 - 2008

One Mile Closer

A tragic accident,
a different direction and
a new adventure




Dr. James Hooper specialises in quantifying the impact of anthropogenic activities on dust and particulate matter emissions using a broad range of analytical tools.


James’ research expertise is centred around investigating geochemical and biological changes in sedimentary archives in order to create detailed geo-chronologies of environmental and climatic changes. In particular, he is interested in the use of aeolian (dust) flux as a regional scale proxy for these changes, and the impact that human activity has had in affecting dust emissions. In addition, James has focussed on the role of dust flux in the climate system and the effect that dust deposition has on recipient environments and ecosystems (for example via enhancing primary productivity in Fe-limited Ocean regions), a complex research field in which he has begun to develop new methodological approaches. James has won competitive grants in excess of $50,000 to undertake this research from funding bodies such as the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) and others.


James’ has been able to draw on his expedition experience in remote and extreme environments to conduct fieldwork expeditions to retrieve the peat and ice cores which are central to his research from the Andes, Patagonia, Hokkaido and the sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia.

Watch research grant application video:


James is an experienced communicator across a wide range of formats, from in-person motivational and after-dinner speeches to print media articles, and television/radio programs to peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences. James believes that effective and accessible science communication is key to addressing the multitude of issues that we face as a society, and is equally passionate about inspiring and encouraging others to fulfill their potential. James continues to develop his media profile to achieve these two aims.

James has delivered hundreds of presentations to schools, universities, events, clubs and businesses around the world in every continent except Antarctica. These speeches, in both English and Korean, have been to audiences ranging from a few dozen to a few thousand people and to organisations as diverse as Samsung, Adidas, Lloyds of London Insurance brokers, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremonies.


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