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- Born in Manchester, England





After a family holiday in Austria, begins rock climbing.  Apprentices with world-renowned climber, Joe Brown.




- Climbs in Switzerland and the Italian Dolomites.





Graduates from Bolton School (an English public school). Leads a 4-member expedition to Arctic Norway and climbs unexplored mountains within the Arctic Circle.



1965 - Returns to Norway to make the 1st ascent of the 5,000 ft. “Vertical Mile” Troll Wall – the highest sheer rock wall in Europe.  Spends 10 days sleeping on foot-wide ledges. Begins his speaking career lecturing about this experience at climbing clubs in England, Scotland and Wales. Click here to read about this historic ascent


1966 - Joins the 6-man British Andean Expedition to Peru, which achieves the 1st complete ascent of the north ridge of Nevado Alpamayo (20,000 ft) and produces the award-winning film, “The Magnificent Mountain”, which is televised worldwide.  Click here to read more about the Alpamayo Expedition


1967 - With Rusty Baillie, makes the 6-day first ascent of the North Face of Sondre Trolltind in Norway, a 3,000 ft rock wall so featureless that no ledges are visible after a snow storm.


1968 - Graduates from Durham University in northern England and emigrates to Canada.  Starts his education career as a school teacher in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a small town located in the western prairie.


1969 - Marries Peggy Ann Hagel, a native of Saskatchewan.


1970 - Guides for an American expedition climbing in the Coast Range mountains of British Columbia.  Speaks at the American Alpine Club annual meeting in Philadelphia.


1973 - Moves to the mountain town of Banff, Alberta, in the world-famous Canadian Rockies.  Qualifies as a member  of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.


1974 - Leads a student expedition to Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, which makes a number of 1st ascents of unexplored mountains.  Five more expeditions to the Arctic follow.


1975 -
Recruited to develop a School of the Environment at The Banff Centre for Continuing Education, a post secondary institution located in Banff National Park.  Graduates from the Banff  School of Advanced Management.


1976 -
Organizes the 1st Annual Banff Festival of Mountain Films, now recognized as the world’s most important celebration of mountain life.  Establishes the Banff Wilderness Seminar program, a lifestyle retreat for senior business executives. Click here to see more on the Banff Festival of Mountain Films


1979 - Recruited as Expedition Manager for the first Canadian expedition to attempt Mount Everest (29,035 ft).  Responsible for raising $1 million in sponsorship and assembling 20 tons of equipment and food.


1981 - Leads a 4-man expedition to Western China, which skis up Mt. Muztagata (24,757 feet) in training for the Everest climb. Click here for more info on the Muztagata Expedition


1982 - A leader and climber on the 1982 Canadian Mount Everest Expedition, Sponsored by Air Canada, which after 4 tragic deaths early in the climb places 6 people on the summit. Appears on national CBC television and on ABC Nightline.  Click here for the whole 'Everest' story


1983 - Becomes Managing Director of CanEverEx Promotions Inc., and organizes over 500 corporate presentations and public  appearances by Everest climbers across Canada.


1984 -

Establishes his own company with the intention of going ‘one step beyond’ Everest, to take the Everest experience and apply it as a metaphor to the challenges faced in corporate and professional life.  Delivers the closing presentation for the Million Dollar Round Table meeting before 6,000 people at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.   Click here to see more about John's professional speaking career



1985 -

Develops on-going professional relationships with all major speakers bureaus in North America.  Over the following two decades delivers more than 1,500 keynote presentations and seminars to over 750,000 people in 35 countries worldwide.  Described in 1998 as “The World’s Best Adventure Speaker” by International Celebrity Management of Australia.  Click here for References page



1989 - Initiates the “Sir Alexander Mackenzie Canada Sea-to-Sea Bicentennial Expeditions 1989-1993”, in order to re-create the first crossing of the North American continent which occurred between 1789 and 1793.  Travels 2,000 miles to the Arctic Ocean in an inflatable ‘Zodiac’ boat in support of the expedition.  Click here for more on the Mackenzie expedition.


1990 - Sails across the Caribbean Sea from St. Thomas to Venezuela, the first of many sailing expeditions and corporate seminars undertaken in this area.


1991 - Collaborates with Alan Hobson to publish, “One Step Beyond: Rediscovering the Adventure Attitude”, now in its third printing and a North American best selling book.


1992 - Returns to Everest on a family trek to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Everest climb in 1982.


1994 - Writes his autobiographical, “Straight to the Top and Beyond: Nine Keys for Meeting the Challenge of Changing Times”, which articulates his “Adventure Attitude” philosophy for meeting the global challenges of the 21st Century.  Click here for more information on Straight to the Top and Beyond.


1995 Initiates the ongoing “Global Odyssey” project, an around the world circumnavigation by a Tall Ship crewed by international youth, with the objective of investigating issues of global concern for the future and preparing  “A Declaration of World Youth for the New Millennium”.


1996 - Joins the International Advisory Committee for the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, which “promotes understanding and appreciation of the world’s mountain places by creating opportunities for people to share – and find inspiration in – mountain experiences, ideas and visions”.


2000 - On the 25th anniversary of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, initiates the Banff Mountain Summit in which 30 leading climbers discuss the future of world mountaineering. Co-authors the book, “Voices from the Summit”, published by the National Geographic Society.


2002 - Contributing Author to "Extreme Landscape", a book developed in association with the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture which brings together the original work of 19 renowned writers, explorers, adventurers, and scientists who share a passion for, and a commitment to, the world’s extreme environments.


2004 Reaches the amazing milestone of having delivered his presentation to audiences totaling more than 1,000,000 persons in 44 countries world wide.




Anticipates continually going ‘one step beyond’ is search of exciting adventures in the rapidly-changing global community of the new century.

John Amatt














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