Currently based in Ijmuiden, Netherlands, Simon has just finished a 5 year stint working in West and South Africa for Oilfield Services company Schlumberger. Though relatively new to the use of kite as a method of propulsion, Simon has extensive mountaineering and polar travel experience.
As a member of the 5th Cambridge Venture Scout Unit, Simon went to Iceland in the summer of 1995, where he experienced his 1st taste of ice cap travel, to Austria in 1996 and to East Africa in 1997, where he visited Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya on an unforgettable trip, which included two weeks helping to build a a week long camel trek and a climb on Mt Kenya.
From September 1997 until May 1998, Simon taught English in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad. After this, he joined up with a Swiss ski-moutaineering expedition to Muztagh Ata in China, where (despite the language barrier – everybody else on the trip was speaking Swiss-German) he reached an altitude of 7200m before turning back due to concerns over his feet. The return to base camp, three days away on the way up, only took three hours as most of the route was skiable.Addiitionally, Simon organized and joined up with his family for a trek in the Hushe valley, to the South of the K2 massif.
During the summer of both 2001 and 2003, Mike and Simon climbed together in the Chamonix valley, France. This involved both mixed and rock climbing and was a period in which Simon and Mike learned how to deal with the eccentricities of each others characters, as well as their technical strengths and weaknesses.
As part of a two man team together with Mike Dann, Simon successfully climbed the West Buttress route of Mt Mckinley in July 2002.
The climbing part of the trip involved 3 weeks straight in icy, stormy and high altitude conditions, without the luxury of backup supplies and personnel offered by larger expeditions.
The expedition attracted sponsorship from Imperial College of Science and Technology, where both Mike and Simon were students at the time.
Together with Tim Tottenham and Mike Dann, Simon competed in and won the 2006 Sony Polar Challenge. This is despite him having to overcome mild frostbite incurred early in the trip whilst helping another team to erect their tent in bad conditions. His main duties were as “head chef” to melt water and heat food in a efficient manner such that the team minimized down time when making camp in the evening and setting off in the morning. However, Simon was glad of the main benefit of this task: he was the 1st into the tent upon making camp and last out of it when camp was broken.
The team, called the All Terrain Pigs, were sponsored by the engineering firm GKN and also helped raise more than £10k for the Laura Crane Trust, who fund cancer research in young adults.