Vinson Challenge

is climbing the highest mountain in Antarctica in support of the CINI and Marie Curie charities...


Lord Forsyth

Michael Forsyth was born in Montrose, Scotland in 1954, and served in the United Kingdom Government for more than a decade – as Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State at the Home Office and Department of Employment, and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary. He represented the parliamentary constituency of Stirling for 14 years.

After leaving parliament in 1997, he joined merchant bank Flemings as a director of Corporate Finance, and following its sale to JPMorgan Chase became Vice-Chairman Investment Banking Europe at JPMorgan, and later Deputy Chairman of JPMorgan UK. He is currently a Senior Advisor to Evercore Partners.

He is also a Director of NBNK Investments plc, J&J Denholm Ltd and the Centre for Policy Studies, and is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs.

He was nominated to the Privy Council in 1995, knighted in 1997 and appointed a Life Peer in 1999.

Michael Forsyth is married to Susan and they have three grown up children. His outside interests include fly fishing and mountaineering. He started hillwalking in Scotland as a child, before graduating in his teens to more serious rock, snow and ice climbing. In 2005 he successfully climbed Aconcagua (at 6,962m the highest mountain in the Americas) and Mount Kilimanjaro (at 5,893m the highest mountain in Africa). It was while preparing to climb Kilimanjaro that he hit upon the idea of using the expedition to encourage friends to support DebRA, a charity that helps people suffering from epidermolysis bullosa EB – a rare genetic condition in which the skin and internal body linings blister at the slightest knock or rub. Mount Vinson is his latest challenge.

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Lord Forsyth training on the Ben Nevis Range in the Scottish Highlands in 2010
Credit: Rob Jarvis (
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Lord Forsyth training on the North Face of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands in 2010
Credit: Rob Jarvis (
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Lord Forsyth training on Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands in 2010
Credit: Rob Jarvis (
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Lord Forsyth training on Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands in 2010
Credit: Rob Jarvis (
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Lord Forsyth on Mont Blanc in 2006
Credit: David Johnston
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Lord Forsyth (right) on Mont Blanc in 2006 with David Johnston
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Lord Forsyth on Aconcagua in 2005
Credit: David Hamilton (
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Lord Forsyth on Aconcagua's summit in 2005
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Lord Forsyth on Mount Kilimanjaro's summit in 2005
Credit: David Johnston

David Hamilton

Lord Forsyth will be supported on the Mount Vinson climb by David Hamilton (right) – one of the world's leading high-altitude mountain guides. A professional expedition leader since 1987, he has led more than 100 climbing, trekking and skiing projects in the world's great mountain ranges.

David has guided 20 separate expeditions to Himalayan peaks higher than 7,500m; 12 of them to peaks over 8,000m. Included in this total are five trips to Mount Everest in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009 and David is one of the few people who has climbed to the summit of Everest from both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides. In 2003 he led the expedition that enabled Sibusiso Vilane to become the first black African to summit Mount Everest. In 2005 his clients included veteran British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

His expeditions over the years have visited most of the world's major mountain ranges, from the Himalayas to the European Alps, the Russian Caucasus and the Andes of South America, and to the mountains of East Africa and the frozen wastes Antarctica. He has organised and led expeditions in Nepal, Pakistan, China, Greenland, Norway, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Russia, Mongolia, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, USA and Antarctica.

He has climbed each of the continental ‘Seven Summits’ more than once: Everest (four times), Aconcagua (three times), Denali (twice), Kilimanjaro (four times), Elbrus (three times), Vinson (12 times) and Carstensz (twice).

David has worked as guide in Antarctica for six seasons, leading a variety of mountaineering and ski projects for Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE), including four ‘Last Degree’ to the South Pole ski expeditions and 12 ascents of Mount Vinson. For much of the year he runs his own guiding business – High Adventure – and he works in Antarctica for ALE.

David Hamilton
David Hamilton on Mount Everest