Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton: Profile

 

Matthew was introduced to climbing when he was 7 years old through a trip to the UK Lake District, however for many years, played squash at national level. The early years outside school and university were spent mostly on the squash court, however in 2010, the opportunity arose for Matthew to venture out and live in the French Alps for 3 months. This experience ignited a true hunger for the great outdoors which had been bubbling away for over 13 years. It was in the basement of a French hotel in 2010 when Matthew finally decided that he was physically and mentally prepared to take on the challenge of training and fundraising, to ultimately climb Mount Everest.

Since that first climbing trip aged 7, Matthew has completed many climbs both in the UK (mainly Scottish winter ascents), and in the French, Italian and Austrian Alps. More recently, Matthew has been on a number of expeditions to climb some of the world's highest mountains including to the remote Gorno-Badakhshan region of the Kyrgyzstan Pamirs and to the Nepalese Himalayas which included a successful ascent of Everest in 2012 for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as part of the youngest team to climb the mountain.

Whilst climbing mountains is a large part of Matthew’s life, his first passion is flight. Matthew flies as much as possible, enjoying the adventure of paragliding and paramotoring, but specialising in flying small, agile canopies known as speed wings. Speed wings give endless options in the high mountains, both on foot for speed flying, or on skis for speed riding. Whilst speed wings were designed primarily to fly in close proximity to mountainous terrain at the lower altitudes, it is the high altitude flights which Matthew prefers, carrying the comparatively small weight of the wing to the top, and subsequently enjoying often ‘sporting’ launches typically making it back to the valley in little over 3 minutes.

Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton


Whilst seemingly fundamentally opposed, climbing and flying go hand in hand due to the unparalleled possibilities of combining both sports with the evolution of modern climbing and flying equipment. Flying is currently revolutionising the world of climbing and will continue to do so as it opens up projects which were previously not possible; the number of mountain guides now trained as paragliding pilots is testament to this successful integration of both sports.

Working with partners and sponsors, Matthew is currently focusing on a number of climbing and flying objectives with paramotors and speed wings. The latest projects are an alpine traverse, and a high altitude project known as #RidingGiants which is currently being pieced together in order to take a speed wing higher than ever before.

Matthew is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and whilst not on expeditions, flying, surfing or training on the road bike, can be found at the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Said Business School, University of Oxford, driving diversity and engagement for Goldman Sachs.

Finally, Matthew supports a number of companies and organisations who make it their mission to make the world a safer, more inclusive and cleaner place. Matthew represents the GetOutside initiative for the Ordnance Survey, clean water projects at Global Angels, and campaigns for equality and diversity in the outdoors. Matthew is grateful for the support from SunGod, Insta360, SLICK, and Yell Group.