The merry band of gentleman adventurers that make up the Virgin Summits team are drawn from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds. We met in various places; on the hill, through friends of friends, in seedy bars in the back streets of Kathmandu, and even on the Internet. Although a diverse bunch, we all share a love of the hills and the need to look beyond the crowds to less travelled mountains.

As a group we are very active and are always seeking new adventures. So if you are planning an interesting expedition attempting new routes or making first ascents, and need a few extra bodies, why not drop us a line - one of us is bound to be looking for a project!

The whole team can be reached via the


Adam Thomas from the UK is 31 years old and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. During the winter, our hard ice guru can be found skulking in various steep gullies throughout the Scottish Highlands, reserving his summers for forays into the most obscure backwaters of the Himalayas and Andes. Adam co-led the Raksha Urai Expedition 2001 that attempted the unclimbed peak of Raksha III. Other accomplishments include the exploration of the little known Tres Marias area in Bolivia (including numerous first and second ascents) and the first ascent of the 5995m Uddin Zom in Pakistan . Expedition duties include porter liaison, research and planning and circumnavigating the endless yards of bureaucratic red tape, which (by a series of strange coincidences) lead to him deciding the current corporate colours of the Pakistani Post Office!



Walter Keller, a 33 year old physicist from Pennsylvania is our most experienced expedition climber. His interests range from first ascents and new routes, to climbs on classic high peaks, sometimes combining the two with accomplishments such as a new route on the east ridge of Mustagh Ata (7546m) in July 2000. Walter reached 8,300m on Everest in May 2001 and has participated in expeditions to Cho Oyo, Pumori and Aconcagua. He has also climbed new routes in Pakistan and made the first ascent of the previously unclimbed Nico Sar (c5800m). Walter's drive and enthusiasm for climbing are such that in the summer of 2000 he was involved in three back-to-back Himalayan expeditions and still had enough time (and energy) for a trekking holiday in the Everest region with his family! Expedition duties include being up for everything, all the time and making the rest of us insanely jealous with talk of his next adventure!



Simon Woods is a 35 year old Englishman, terminal Asiaholic and veteran of six Himalayan expeditions. Although he has climbed in the European Alps, Poland, Spain, Bolivia and Peru, his recent activities have mainly revolved around exploratory climbing in the Himalaya, with a number of first ascents and new routes to his name. Expedition duties include planning and recruitment, post expedition reporting, listening to Goa Trance at an irresponsibly loud volume and (when social obligation dictates) acting as lead dancer, offering a totally bitching red-hot blend of Nepalese folk dancing and pure Bollywood. Simon's climbing CV/resume can be found here



Jock Jeffery is a 41 year old Kiwi and a very well known face on the Queenstown climbing scene. Recently described (hilariously) as "Queenstown's quiet adventure hero" by a New Zealand newspaper, Cobber Jock has been, to name but a few; a highly successful road haulage entrepreneur, a farmer, an insurance salesman, an accountant, a tour guide and the guy who waves orange table tennis bats around on airport runways. He has been on three Himalayan expeditions, has made a number of first ascents and new routes in Pakistan and Bolivia and has climbed very widely in New Zealand. Expedition duties include being a cheeky, chirpy, lovable Kiwi and the violent, ritualistic slaughter of sundry farmyard animals for the team's consumption.



Dave Benton is a 28 year old Canadian hardcore traveller (having visited a mind numbing 75 countries) and an accomplished writer with a number of articles published in the climbing press. He is our sport and aid climbing machine and when he's not nailing his way up Yosemite A5's he can be found chilling on a beach in Thailand, clipping bolts and flashing 5.13's. Dave has also done his fair share of high altitude climbing with ascents in Nepal and Mount Logan in Canada to name but two. Expedition duties primarily involve scaring the crap out of everyone by getting his toes horribly frostbitten.



Graham Rowbotham is a 45 year old software engineer and has the dubious privilege of being our oldest member. British in a former life, Graham emigrated to Vancouver 14 years ago, where it seems he has spent every subsequent weekend in the hills. He has climbed very widely all over the world including ascents of Bhagirathi II in India, the first ascent of Sahan Sar and Khan Sar in Pakistan and was part of the Raksha Urai Expedition 2001. Graham is a haute cuisine legend within our clan and can be relied upon to turn up with the most extensive and exotic array of high altitude provisions imaginable. Expedition duties involve supplying sublime home made dried meals that leave the rest of the team feeling distinctly under fed. Graham's climbing CV/resume can be found here



Tom Gleeson is 27 years of age and also hails from Vancouver. He is a hardened career traveller and (occasionally) a rather less committed student, holding a degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences. Tom has climbed widely at home and throughout the world with ascents in Nepal, Pakistan, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. Tom's greatest expedition moment came when he was inconveniently crushed by a rather large boulder, which landed on his tent whilst he was inside and resulted in a fractured arm. Expedition duties include entertaining fellow climbers and local people with his ear splitting laugh, unintelligible street jive and frankly ridiculous taste in trousers, which apparently purport to be "TOTALLY INTENSE MAN".



Thomas Mamic is a 36 year old Canadian and the last of our plague of four Vancouverites. He is virtually unique amongst our crew in that he actually has a proper job as a C.F.O. for a biotech company, but has still managed a creditable array of "potentially career limiting" expeditions. Tom has climbed very widely at home in The Rockies, Costal Range, and Selkirks and internationally in New Zealand and Nepal (twice). "Digger" Tom's expedition duties involve whipping up gold fever in the troops and leading frenzied excavations of abandoned equipment buried under 4 feet of snow.



Jim deBank is 33 years old and from Aviemore in Scotland, where he runs a well known outdoor equipment shop. Retiring from architecture at the ripe old age of 21, Jim has since had various jobs in the outdoor trade and "a stint designing things", but has proudly maintained the Virgin Summits tradition of ensuring all his jobs come a poor second to climbing. He has climbed extensively in the UK and the European Alps, but can't decide if Fontainebleau is better than the Ben or Chamonix, so joined our Raksha Urai expedition to run away to the Himalayas instead. Jim is the resident equipment expert and his expedition duties involve supplying the team with such obscenely cheap kit that some of us have even had to throw out our old tweeds. Jim's climbing CV/resume can be found here



Bryan Godfrey is a 34 year old Kiwi farmer from Queenstown, but (still) temporarily marooned in the UK. He has climbed widely in New Zealand, has been on four Himalayan expeditions and made the first ascent of Khan Sar and Sahan Sah in Pakistan in 2000. Bryan's major contribution to the climbing community and the world at large is to provide a continual and relentless supply of "Bryanisms". These are moments of profound and deeply moving insight, an example of which is the revelation that sucking the air out of a Thermarest mattress will in fact make it lighter to carry (?!). Bryan's expedition duties involve the manufacture, repair and modification of expedition equipment and acting as livestock consultant when purchasing team meat supplies.



Phil Amos from the UK is a 32 year old agricultural waste management consultant, which is obviously a polite way of saying he spends his time up to his waist in, well - something unpleasant. When not ridding the world of bovine manure, Phil can be found irritating motorists by driving tractors down the A1 at 15 mph, and was listed in the Ministry of Transport's annual report as being the sole cause of the UK's traffic problems. Phil has climbed extensively in Britain and the European Alps, joined Adam in the highly successful Tres Marias expedition, made the first ascent of Uddin Zom in Pakistan and was part of the Raksha Urai Expedition 2001. Given his profession, Phil's expedition duties primarily involve implementing the team's low impact, environmentally friendly sewerage management strategy (he digs the toilet pit).



Peter Ford is a 36 year old interaction designer and although formerly from the North of England has recently defected to London. As an apprentice Cockney geeza, Pete has readily adopted the ways of the Southerner and is currently amassing sufficient sequins to become a Pearly King (apologies to our international visitors who haven't a clue what we're talking about!). Pete has climbed extensively in the UK and European Alps, has visited Poland and the US in search of mountains and was part of our Hindu Raj expedition in 2000. Expedition duties involve being the short, amusing northern bloke with the silly hat and seriously not enjoying deep river crossings one little bit.



William Cadell is a 23 year old student from Scotland, our youngest member and president of the Aberdeen University Mountaineering Club. A great lover of the Scottish hills, he can be found marauding around the highlands in all weathers, accosting strangers to extol the virtues of being Scottish and eating porridge with salt. Whilst most student mountaineers spend their holidays (and grants) in bars in Chamonix talking about climbing, but not actually doing any, Billy Boy made his first Himalayan trip on the Karambar Expedition in 1999 at the tender age of 21. Expedition duties involve being the quiet, thoughtful one, who happily takes all the stick he gets for being so young, because he knows the rest of us are only jealous!

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