Alasdair Mckenzie: mountaineering in the blood

Breton by birth, nothing predestined Alasdair Mckenzie to become the world's youngest mountaineer to climb a peak over 8000 m. However, on 15 May 2022, at just 17 years of age, Alasdair found himself at the top of the iconic Lhotse, at 8516 m. Now, he aims to become the youngest climber in the world to reach the 14 ""8000s"" . We found out what makes him tick. 


Blatant precociousness

With a passion for his way of life, Alasdair is a mountain prodigy. The passion has been his guide since he discovered this world as a child. Or when a young boy's carefree and confident attitude cause sparks to fly.


""I had the chance from a very young age to go to the mountains with my parents every winter to ski and I caught the bug very quickly. For my ninth birthday, they gave me the best present I could have wished for: a move to Tignes. That's where I started the whole range of sports you find there. At the age of 11, after a serious knee ligament injury, I decided to devote myself to alpine skiing and leave everything else behind. It took me to the highest level, but I felt something was missing. When I was 15 years old, I went on a fun trip to the mountains and I remember calling my mum to tell her that I wanted to quit ski racing completely and devote myself to the mountains. What I was missing was the freedom to roam the mountains as I wanted to. I have this innate desire to discover new things. From that moment on, I had only one thing in mind: to climb an 8000 at least once in my life.""

On top of the world

One year of preparation later, he was ready. 

""2021 was really the year of the launch. I did various legendary climbs in Europe: Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa. Then, in October, I went on my first Himalayan expedition, where the idea was to go gradually by doing a peak at 6000 and 7000. Everything went perfectly.""


In the spring of 2022, it was time. To achieve this monumental feat, Alasdair surrounded himself with the best: Nirmal Purja aka Nimsdai and his team.


""The meeting with Nims was incredible and unexpected. I cheekily sent an email to his agency ""Elite Exped"" telling him about my project. Very quickly, I received an answer: he was ready to support me with my endeavours. A few months later, I had the great honour of meeting him. We set off on a 60-day expedition with the aim of attempting to climb Lhotse, my first 8000 m peak. It was a complete success. Crazy. The joy I felt when I got to the top was indescribable.""




When opportunities are scarce, you can't let them pass you by. 

""In good physical and mental form, with the weather conditions favourable, we decided with the team to then do my second 8000 m, Makalu (8463 m).""


2 down, 12 to go. 

Alasdair is 17 but already has the makings and mindset of a great. Including the characteristic humility.  

""Through my projects, I want to show young people my age that anything is possible when you give yourself the means. I'm not the best, just a mountain enthusiast who wants to push his limits. And I don't forget that sometimes this world can be difficult to tame. That's why you always have to listen, surround yourself and learn from the best.""


Making history in his sport

Thinking big, high and far. This is what defines Alasdair's quest today. Breaking one record is good, but breaking them all is better.  

""I flew to Kathmandu on 2 March and headed to Annapurna Base Camp to begin the first of a three-part series across the Himalayas. The sections are very dense and intense. The first, the one I'm currently doing, is ascending three summits including Everest. A second part this summer will be in Pakistan with five summits, including Nanga Parbat. Then, in the autumn I will head to Tibet and Nepal for, I hope, the last four peaks. I hope to complete my project by the end of November.""

If he succeeds, Alasdair will become the youngest climber in the world to conquer the 14 ""8000s"". This is a monumental achievement. And a great way to get your name in the history books. 


Therm-ic: an obvious collab

Getting ready for the cold is one of the major challenges for any mountaineer. For Alasdair, Therm-ic is a partner of choice.  

""The partnership I have with Therm-ic is a great opportunity to access reliable, high-quality and innovative equipment. Heated equipment is becoming more and more important and Therm-ic is one of the pioneering brands in this field.""

And, as in any good story, there are twists and turns. 

""When I was climbing Lhotse, I accidentally broke a battery in one of my Therm-ic heated socks. So, I decided to call customer services and ask if they would be interested in working with me. The soon agreed and got on board with my project.""

A collab reinforced by the human touch. 

""It's also very important for me to highlight the Sherpas: without them, there is no expedition. Thanks to this collaboration, I am lucky enough to be able to provide them with equipment that kits them out better for climbs.""

And let's not forget the money side. 

""One of the big challenges in this type of project is the very high financial cost for logistics. Here again, Therm-ic helps me a lot, and I'm very grateful.""



The essential - neck warmers""It helps me in all my expeditions, both to protect me from the cold and to prevent sunburn."" 

The technological marvel - heated socks""Ever since I discovered this wonderful invention, I won't be separated from it. The socks keep the heat constant and give you a great feeling of wellbeing.""

The little luxury - heated gloves""Having cold hands is surely one of the worst things that can happen to us when climbing a peak. With these gloves, problem solved."" 

The absolute comfort - heated jacket: ""The perfect combination of lightness, performance and efficiency.""


Follow Alasdair's adventures: Alasdair Mckenzie