The Limbless Mountaineer – Documentary that follows quadruple amputee Jamie Andrew as he attempts to climb the Matterhorn.
The ascent is hard going for any experienced mountaineer with 1,200 rescues made on the peak every year, but 15 years ago Jamie lost his hands and feet to frostbite. This film pays tribute to his extreme courage and determination as it follows him up the one of the most dangerous peaks in the Alps, and his fight with the inevitable setbacks that his disability brings him. Will he make it to the top?
In January 1999, Jamie and his friend and climbing partner Jamie Fisher became stranded in a violent blizzard at the top of a mountain in the French Alps. Perched on an icy ledge with no food and water, and unable to move, they were exposed to the elements for five days. Jamie Andrew was eventually rescued by helicopter in one of the most dramatic missions in the history of the Alps. But his friend was less fortunate – by the time the rescue services found them, Jamie Fisher had frozen to death.
Jamie was rushed to hospital with hypothermia and severe frostbite. A few days later, surgeons had no option but to amputate his limbs. For many this would mean the end of all hope, but not for Jamie. With the help of physiotherapy and prosthetics he not only learned to face his disability head on and walk again with the use of prosthetics, but within a year began snowboarding. Then came marathons and triathlons, and, perhaps inevitably, he returned to mountaineering.
Now taking on the biggest challenge of his life, Jamie goes back to the Alps to climb one of its most dangerous peaks, the Matterhorn. The perilous nature of the challenge is brought forcefully home during the training period when his partner Roger Payne, one of Britain’s leading climbers, is killed in an avalanche. Jamie knows better than most that mountaineering is about making big decisions in extreme conditions.
Channel: Channel 5
Producer: Channel 5
TX: 4th April 2014
Source: Channel 5 press release