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Andrew Lock OAM Offers Advice to Scouts

Andrew Lock OAM is Australia's most accomplished high-altitude mountaineer and an Ambassador for Scouts Australia. He is the only Australian, the first person in the entire British Commonwealth, and just the 18th man in the world, to climb all fourteen of the world’s 8000 metre mountains. His achievements encompass 18 summits of those 8000 metre peaks, including Mt Everest (twice), three times that of any other Australian, placing him in a select group of the world’s best alpinists. Additionally, Andrew accomplished the first Australian ascent of 6 of those mountains, a record that can never be broken. Andrew began his journey of mountaineering and adventure through Scouts. He offers some advice to Members as he reflects on his own life.

Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting year of Scouting.

I’ve been reflecting for the last week on how I spent my Christmas/New Year break and why I had such a good time. Certainly I had plenty of outdoor adventures but there was an added element to those adventures that made them all the more enjoyable. 

In early December I went mountaineering in the Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand with a friend from Australia. We spent a couple of weeks in the Alps climbing various mountains before completing the adventure with an ascent to the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.

On Boxing Day, I set sail in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Ausreo, a beautiful 47.7 foot Benetau.  For 24 hours we ploughed into a lunch losing headwind, before a northerly breeze let us hoist the spinnaker as we cranked up to a slicing 18 knots across Bass Strait. It wasn’t all plain sailing but after three and a half days we reached Hobart, tired but very happy.

And to top all that fun off, I travelled to Queensland for a week, learning to ride a Stand Up Paddle board and generally playing in the sun with friends.

Now I’m no stranger to climbing, I’ve done several long ocean sailing trips, and I was born and bred a beach kid long before I got into climbing. 

So what made the adventures so much richer this time?

I realised today that there were two factors that enhanced these latest trips – learning/teaching new skills and making new friends

In New Zealand I climbed with a younger friend who is just getting into mountaineering and who was keen to learn and practice with someone more experienced. It was a joy to share what I knew and to see him develop as a climber. While I’ve sailed before, it was learning the skills of racing a big yacht in tough conditions with a whole team of people I didn’t know, that made the Sydney to Hobart such a great adventure. Similarly, on the coast, it was learning new surfing skills and making new friends that was so much more fun than just going to the beach and doing the usual thing.

And that, I think, epitomises what Scouting is about. Learning new skills and making new friends. New challenges, whatever they may be whether indoor or outdoor, are such fun because we have to extend ourselves beyond our comfort zone and it’s that extension into the unknown that provides the learning. And friendships developed in those situations are the strongest ever.

So at the beginning of this New Year, may I encourage all Scouts and Leaders alike to set their goals on lofty objectives, strive to achieve them, learn from the journey and enjoy great camaraderie. Have a fabulous 2015.


Andrew Lock OAM

Ambassador for Scouting  



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