St Andrews student to return to Everest following deadly earthquake

Andrew Whyte of St Andrews'Everest
Andrew Whyte of St Andrews'Everest

An adventurous student with a passion for mountain climbing is responding again to the lure of the world’s highest peak.

Andrew Whyte is going back to southern Asia next month for another attempt onMount Everest – almost a year after the deadly earthquake in Nepal which shocked the world.

Andrew (22), was part of the group whose ascent was cut short by the natural disaster – but he is determinded to realise an ambition and make it to the top of the tallest mountain.

He is also raising money for Motor Neurone Disease research and Madras College maths teacher Donald Grewar – Mr G – who has the condition and has been the subject of numerous fundraising ventures in and around St Andrews.

An ex-Madras pupil himself, Andrew is now a third-year student in mathematics at St Andrews University. He has been combining his studies with training for the climb and working in the town’s BlackHorn bistro and burger bar.

Andrew’s mum has said he always had an interest in climbing things, and Everest seemed like the ultimate challenge, if unlikely at first .

“I always thought you’d have to have special skills, and money was a big issue,” he said. “But the ambition is still there – it’s definitely an adventure. With hard work, anyone can do it – you have to be determined and want to get there.”

Andrew recalled when the earthquake struck last year, triggering an avalanche on the mountain which killed over 20 people.

“I was quite lucky – I was on the north side of the mountain,” he said.

“We felt the quake and it was quite surreal – the ground started to move and then, suddenly, it really took hold. Everything in the mess tent fell down and there was an avalanche.”

Later, Andrew and his companions heard there had been fatalities at the base camp on the south side, around two miles away.

“ We were trying to find out what had happened – people at home knew more about it than we did,” he recalled. “Two days later, that was the end of our trip.”

However, he is set to leave again on April 2 and meet up with several British climbers who were also there last time. They have allocated two months to the climb and begin on April 10 from the Chinese side of the mountain.

“The ‘quake didn’t really put me off,” he said.

“I was just sitting at the base camp and thought about everything – the effort and time that had been put in – and wanted to try again. Everest will always draw me back until I do it.”

If you want to support him, you can visit