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


Only a few months after returning from their epic Pole to Pole expedition, Rob tragically died in a climbing accident on Mont Blanc de Tacul in the French Alps. This was a turning point in James’ life, as he struggled to get to grips with losing his best friend. After a period of reflection, James began to consider adventure in a broader sense and started focussing on a variety of challenges, whilst pursuing an ‘adventurous life’ instead of large-scale expeditions. Embarking on this new ‘adventurous life’ philosophy, in 2010 he moved to Seoul, South Korea to begin an undergraduate degree in Geography. Since then, alongside Rob’s family and friends he has developed One Mile Closer – a charitable initiative to provide people with the opportunity to undertake a real adventure in a supportive environment through multi-day group cycling expeditions, while raising money to help 

others enjoy the transformational educational opportunities that both Rob and James were so lucky to benefit from. Along the way James has created some mini-adventures, such as the Han Challenge, in which he travelled from the peak of the volcanic Jeju Island 579km across the length of Korea to its capital Seoul, by human power in less than 100 hours. Since 2014, when James began his scientific research career his adventures have been mainly related to retrieving samples from remote and challenging locations in order to better understand the impact that humans are having on the Earth’s environment.


In 2008 James, along with his friend and expedition partner Rob Gauntlett, received the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award for their record breaking journey from North to South Pole. This was the first ever expedition from Pole to Pole using only natural power, a journey in which they travelled over 26,000 miles through some of the most diverse environments on Earth. The expedition, which started at the Geomagnetic North Pole in the high arctic and ended 13 months later, took them through North and South America and across the southern Ocean to the magnetic South Pole before finally coming to an end beneath the famous Sydney harbour bridge. They had skied and dogsledded across sea ice and glaciers, cycled

their yacht was flipped upside down by a 25 metre high wave in the Southern Ocean.


On the 17th May 2006, James and his friend Rob Gauntlett, reached the summit of Mount Everest (8848m) at the age of 19, becoming the youngest people from outside of Nepal to complete the feat at the time. This expedition was the culmination of three years of training and preparation that had begun after reading an article about the 

50th Anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest in May 2003. The expedition took 8 weeks, as they acclimatised, stocked camps and began their climb up the North and North-East ridges of the mountain from their basecamp in Tibet.


James’ adventures began when he was a teenager with his school friend Rob Gauntlett. The pair were inspired by the opportunities they had to explore the local environment through the cycle touring and climbing clubs, and this developed into a passion for adventure that they began to follow independently. They undertook cycling journeys through the norwegian fjordlands and around Europe, and at the same time began developing their climbings skills at UK crags and in the French Alps. Aged 17 they embarked on their first high-altitude 

mountaineering expedition to Mount Spantik (7027m) in the Pakistani Karakorum range, and although their attempt was unsuccessful they gained valuable skills and returned to the Himalayas the following year in October 2005 to successfully summit Mount Ama Dablam (6812m), a technical mountain just a few kilometres from Mount Everest – a dream that had begun on those first cycling trips in 2003.