Nigel Gifford

Nigel has been at the forefront of adventure, exploration and expeditions for the last 40 years.

He has a unique relationship with Mt Everest, having been a high altitude climber on the successful expedition in 1976 that put two SAS soldiers on the summit, as well as leading his own expedition to the remote Lho La of Everest through Tibet, and organizing the first Everest Skydive which introduced freefall parachuting to the Himalayas… An Everest trilogy without comparison.

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As an entrepreneur, Nigel brought the Merrell Outdoor Footwear brand to UK from the United States establishing Merrell as the undisputed top European footwear brand in the mid 1990s. It still holds that position today. What he learnt, and still learns, from the world of adventure he often applies to business risk assessments, strategies, tactics and what he calls “guerrilla marketing”.

Nigel has written books on the planning of expeditions and adventures (notably Telegraph “Adventurous Traveler”) and has been a consultant editor to “Geographical”, the official magazine of the Royal Geographical Society. He was instrumental in the structuring and launch of BS 8848 the British Standards Institute’s benchmark for fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities.

In October 2008, he organized the first skydiving from 29,500ft in front of Mt Everest with the international skydivers landing on the highest drop zone in the world. This adventure received more media coverage than any Himalayan expedition since the first ascent of Everest in 1953 projecting Nigel late in his career into the limelight.

He was instrumental in the structuring and launch of BS 8848 the British Standards Institute’s benchmark for fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities. In 1996 he was made an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II.

Highlights of Nigel’s Career

An Everest Trilogy

Creating, planning and leading the First Everest Skydive 2008; leading a lightweight expedition to Everest’s remote and seldom visited Lho la in Tibet 2006; being a high altitude climber of the successful 1976 expedition that climbed Mt Everest via the South Col, Nepal.

Rafting the “Everest of Rivers”

Through the Siang Gorge of the Brhamaputra. One of the most spectacular, forbidding and unforgiving rivers in the World in the remote tribal Areas of NW India.

The Sámi Reindeer Migration

Living and working with a Sámi family in the Artic circle while escorting their reindeer herd deep into their grazing grounds during three separate migrations.

Climbing the Lotus Flower Tower

2000ft granite wall of Lotus Flower Tower, in the Yukon’s Cirque of Unclimables, where the grizzly bear and wildlife have seldom seen people and have no fear of humans.

Thar Desert Expedition

With the Clifton Scientific Trust. Reconnaissance and leadership of a science based expedition with 30 Indian and British young people to study the socio-economic and health impacts of irrigation in arid lands.

Chronological History of Events

1969: First British Ascent of the multi pitch Squamish Chieftain Grand Wall, Canada

1970: First Ascent of “the Curse”, the biggest overhanging climb in Britain

1975: One Day ascent of Mt Kenya (170,25ft)

1975: Nuptse South Face Expedition (25,790ft) ~ Greater Himalaya

1976: Everest South Col (29,028ft)

1976: Old Man of Hoy Sea stack

1978: Solo Ascent of Mt McKinley (20,320ft), Alaska

1978: First Sherpa-less Himalayan expedition – Himal Chuli (25,890ft) East Face

1979: Multi pitch Big Wall Climbs ~ El Capitan, Half Dome- Yosemite USA

1980: Big Wall Climbs USA ~ Devils Tower, Wyoming. Diamond Wall, Colorado

1980: First Continuous Traverse of the Palisade Range ~ California

1981: Lotus Flower Tower’s Big Wall ~ Yukon Territories

1981: Member of British rock climbing delegation to Japan

1981: Represented the Royal Geographical Society at Pakistan’s Mountaineering conference

1982: Chairman of National Mountaineering Conference

1983: British Record 50 way freefall attempt

1985: Rhine Army Parachute Championships

1987: Crew Member ~ World Record Parachute Stack and British 50 way record attempt

1988: Journey from Kashmir to Ladakh on the World’s highest road and Reconnaissance of Masheru Kangari (20,030ft)

1990: Lightweight Alpine style Expedition to Kulu Himalaya

1991: Balloons over Everest ~ Design and provision of High Altitude camera platforms

1992: First British Ascent Hanuman Tibba West Face (19560ft), West Himalaya

1994: Thar Desert Expedition (Indo- Pakistan border) ~ study of irrigation in arid lands

1996: Round the World Balloon Project with Richard Branson

1998: Facilitated a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Palace of Westminster.

1998: (1999 and 2001) White Tiger Protection Programme with the Maharaja Pusperaj Singh of Rewa at Tala Bandhavgah, India

2000: Made a journey searching for the history of the Lama Ferra healing practices practises used by Buddhist monks over the last 2500 years ~ Sikkim and West Bengal

2004: Parikrama over the Charang La (17,596ft), Kinner Kailash

2005: (also 2006 and 2007) Arctic Reindeer Migration with the Sámi

2005: Second descent of the Siang Gorge of the Brahmaputra, Tribal Areas NW India

2006: Mt Everest Lho La Expedition Tibet/Nepal border

2007: GKN Mission Everest- Permits, Permissions and all preparation and logistics for Bear Grylls and Neil Laughton

2008: Mt Kilimanjaro (19,340ft) with two times British Para Olympic Representative David Padgen

2008: Created the highest Drop Zone in the world at 12,350ft and test skydived in front of Everest onto it

2008: Project Director and Leader of the first Everest Skydive from 29500ft in front of Mt Everest (29,035ft)

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