WTM FAQ 3.16  What is Tim Macartney-Snape’s background? / What is Tim Macartney-Snape’s role in the WTM?


Tim Macartney-Snape

A Founding Director and Patron of the WTM, Australian mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape, AM OAM, is best known as the only person ever to climb Mount Everest’s entire 8,874 metres from sea to summit, reaching the peak on 11 May 1990. Although he began the three month expedition with a small film crew on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, he climbed alone from Base Campwithout the assistance of Sherpas, fellow climbers or bottled oxygen. The documentary of this achievement, Everest: Sea to Summit, won prizes in seven countries for the best mountain film.

This feat followed twelve years of successful Himalayan ascents on ten major expeditions, all of which were achieved without bottled oxygen in a lightweight style and, in most cases, up previously unclimbed routes.

In 1984, Australian climbing was put on the international map when Tim and a fellow climber reached the summit of Mount Everest by forging a new route up the North Face. The ascentfilmed by Timwas also shown to world-wide television audiences.

In 1986, as part of a small US/Australian team, Tim climbed a new route on Gasherbrum IV in Pakistan. The documentary of this climb was also shown to audiences around the world. In addition to his extensive Himalayan experience, Tim has climbed throughout Australia, Africa and South America.

Tim spent the first twelve years of his life in Tanzania, where he was born in 1956 to an Australian father and British mother (his father had gone there as a prospector and pioneer farmer in 1927). The family moved to Australia in 1967 to a small farm in north eastern Victoria. Tim occasionally returns to East Africa where he is active in developing walking expeditions in wildlife parks and reserves.

Tim was educated at Geelong Grammar School (GGS) in Victoria, Australia, which, significantly, was also attended by a number of other WTM members, including fellow WTM founding directors, Jeremy Griffith and his brother Simon Griffith. As such they are all beneficiaries of the influence of the soul-rather-than-intellect-cultivating, Platonic, education system established by Australia’s greatest ever educator, Sir James Darling, who was headmaster of GGS from 19301961. (By the end of Darling’s tenure, GGS had become one of the most highly regarded schools in the world. The current heir to the English throne, HRH the Prince of Wales, was sent there from England for part of his education.) It is also not insignificant that Tim’s great-great grandfather H.B. Macartney, the first Dean of Melbourne, was one of GGS’s founding fathers, and that both Tim’s father, and Jeremy and Simon’s father, also attended the school. (You can read more about Sir James Darling’s vision to foster the ability to undertake the ‘paramount’ task of solving the human condition in order to ‘save the world’ in Part 10:5 of Jeremy Griffith’s book Freedom Expanded: Book 1.)

After leaving school, Tim gained a Bachelor of Science degree from the Australian National University (ANU). It was at ANU that Tim’s passion for mountaineering developed; he was the only summiteer on the university’s 1978 Dunagiri expedition in the Indian Himalaya and the first Australian to do so. An advocate of the value of the outdoor experience in developing the individual, Tim is also a qualified outdoor instructor who regularly introduces groups of novices to climbing. He is also the author of three books: Mountain Adventurer (1992), Everest: From Sea to Summit (1992), and Being Outside (1993).

Tim was a founder and director of outdoor equipment business Sea to Summit for 26 years, and is a consultant to World Expeditions, one of the world’s leading travel adventure companies. He is also Chairman of Leave No Trace Australia and a member of the Fred Hollows Foundation.

In 1987 Tim was awarded an Order of Australia medal (OAM) for his achievements in mountaineering, and in 1993 was made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) for services to mountaineering and international relations.

Tim was introduced to the understanding of the human condition in 1987 by Jeremy Griffith and became one of the Founding Directors of the WTM in 1990, and a Patron of the WTM in 2009. In addition to his many contributions to this all-important project, Tim wrote the foreword to Jeremy’s book Beyond The Human Condition (1991); accompanied Jeremy on his national tour promoting A Species In Denial (2004); and introduced Jeremy’s definitive work, FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition, at its launch at London’s Royal Geographical Society in 2016. Tim narrates the podcasts of the Freedom Essays series and the audio versions of Jeremy’s books, Transform Your Life And Save The World and Death by Dogma, and is currently recording FREEDOM.

When he is not travelling the wilds of the Himalaya or Africa, Tim lives in the country, about 100km south-west of Sydney, with his partner, Stacy Rodger.


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To find presentations by Tim, as well as articles written about his extraordinary achievements, enter the term “Tim Macartney-Snape” into the search facility in the menu section of the WTM’s website.