Adventurer inspires SACS pupils

SACS principal Brendan Grant, British adventurer Adrian Hayes, SACS pupil Matthew Lowe and SACS marketing employee Barry van Selm.

British adventurer Adrian Hayes has been to both poles and tamed Mount Everest and K2. Now he’s on an expedition of a different kind: a book tour.

Hayes, 60, from New Forest, England, is travelling the world promoting One Man’s Climb: A journey of trauma, tragedy and triumph on K2.

He gave a glimpse of the high drama waiting between the covers of his book when he spoke at SACS on Tuesday night last week.

Hayes is a former British Army Gurkha Officer, who also spent two years in the Special Forces. He is best known for reaching the three extreme points of the Earth – the North Pole, South Pole and the summit of Mount Everest – in a Guinness World Record-setting one year and 217 days.

But it was K2, the second-highest mountain on the planet and one of the most dangerous, where he faced the life-changing moments he deals with in his book.

In 2013, Hayes and about 20 other climbers were readying for a final push to the summit when a big storm moved in and an avalanche claimed the lives of two expedition members, Marty Schmidt and his son, Denali.

“We abandoned the exhibition because of the avalanche that killed two climbers,” said Hayes.

But a year later, in 2014, he took another crack at the killer mountain.

“I never really gave it a shot in 2013. We only got as far as camp two, never got an attempt to get near the summit, I had to finish this unfinished business.”

Hayes, who is also a business coach and keynote speaker, has so far promoted the book in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

After South Africa, he is headed to America and Canada.

SACS Grade 11 pupil Jake Lundy, whose grandfather, Mike Lundy, was a well-known Cape Town hiker and author, said Hayes’s talk had been inspiring.

“I heard about the dangers of the K2, though listening to Adrian; it was a huge eye-opener.”

SACS principal Brendan Grant said Hayes had spent the day at the school.

“He has been here since this morning, he spoke to all of our staff, they enjoyed it tremendously meeting him and hearing his story, our boys enjoyed it as well as the public that came this evening.”

Hayes said that for now he wanted to spend more time with his daughter, Charlotte, 18, but either next year or the year after he hoped to climb the Himalayas.

One Man’s Climb: A journey of trauma, tragedy and triumph on K2 is available at Exclusive Books and Amazon.

Visit for more information about the adventurer.