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Paul started climbing in 1960 at the age 14. In the early years he made regular visits to Derbyshire and the local Chew Valley outcrops, climbing with limited knowledge and very basic equipment.


Fortunately he survived these early experiences and over the following years went on to climb at the highest standards in Britain, The Alps and the worlds greater ranges in both summer and harsh winter conditions. He eventually became recognised as a leading British mountaineer of his generation


Over the years Paul has climbed most of the steep and difficult mountain faces in the Alps and the Dolomites.  In addition he has been a member of many successful mountaineering expeditions to some of the most extreme and remote regions of the world, including Arctic Canada, Alaska, South America, Russia, Nepal, Tibet,and Africa. During these expeditions he climbed numerous first ascents. He played a major role in the successful first ascent of Everest South West Face in 1975. 


At the age of 53, encouraged by his son, Paul took on a new challenge, the extreme sport of downhill mountain bike racing. In 2006 at the Worlds Masters Downhill Championships in Sun Peaks, Canada he finished runner up World Champion in his 60+ category, gaining a UCI silver medal. Amongst his other accomplishments away from the mountains, Paul competed for a number of years, in one and two day BHS events with his horse Thomas the Grey. 


He is a former President of The Alpine Club and Vice President of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), he is currently a trustee of Community Action Nepal, (CAN), a charity which raises funds for the people of Nepal. CAN is responsible for the construction of schools, health posts and porter shelters in the remote, poorer regions of the country. 


Paul owned and ran Paul Braithwaite Outdoor Sports Shop for some 25 years. During that period he founded Vertical Access, a successful specialist access company, utilising mountaineering technology and techniques while working in extreme locations on high buildings and structures throughout the UK and beyond. 


After 26 years as Managing Director of the company, he recently retired to concentrate on future projects. Paul freely admits that many of his achievements wouldn't have been possible without the friendship and support of many like-minded, extremely talented, committed and at times crazy friends.


  • Paul's lecture includes stories about his early years as a mountaineer and extraordinary career including a famous early climb of Everest during the 1970s. 

  • His talk will also include climbs of difficult mountain faces in the Alps and Dolomites, and his adoptions of the dangerous sport of downhill mountain bike racing at the age of 53 years old. 

Paul Braithwaite


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