Sandy is a qualified International Mountain Guide, awarded his international carnet in 1993. He has guided world wide from gentle walks to technical climbs and 8000 meter summits, including Mount Everest. Sandy was the 5th Scots man to climb the mountain and the frst Scot to climb Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. He is based in Newtonmore, Scotland, but spends a lot of time in Chamonix, France and in many mountain places in between. The North face of the Eiger and many other Alpine Grand courses are part of his climbing CV.
His company Team Ascent is managed from his Newtonmore base. Sandy is also an IRATA assessor and Team Leader, providing assistance and consultancy services in difficuly to reach and awkward “work at height” locations utilising techniques developed from his passion in climbing and mountaineering.
Sandy’s first Himalayan climbing was on an Alpine style attempt on the North face of Thameserku in the Khumbu Himalaya. The team went on to try the unclimbed West Ridge of Nuptse reaching over 7200 meters on the very technical ridge but got stopped by a storm which prevented further progress. Since then Sandy has had been involved in many expeditions and has climbed many trekking peaks in Nepal, including Muztagh Tower, Pumori and Shivling.
His 8000-metre summits are Cho Oyo, Lhotse West Summit, Mount Everest and Nanga Parbat. Some of these ascents were as a professional mountain guide with clients. When not guiding Sandy believes in climbing in a lightweight Alpine style and is passionate about this method of climbing. With Doug Scott he shared leadership on the North-East ridge of Mount Everest and has also tried the Mazeno ridge of Nanga Parbat. With Doug they put up a fine technical climb on Latok named “the Indian Face Arête” in Pakistan.
Sandy teamed up with his best friend Andy Nisbett in the early 1980s and this almost legendary team of Scottish climbing activists have been responsible for many outstanding first ascents in the Highlands. Typical of this is their continuous 40 hour push to climb one of Scotland’s early grade VIII climbs, “The Rat Trap” on Creag An Dubh Loch, a climbs which remain unrepeated today. Their climbing partnership continues with a prolific list first ascents in the Scottish Highlands.