Jamie Clarke grew up in Calgary, Canada in a family that loved to travel to the nearby Rocky Mountains to hike and ski. From a young age Jamie would come along, pulled in a sled by the family’s two malamutes. “One of my earliest memories of the mountains is sitting in a sled, all bundled up in a sleeping bag, being pulled by our dog Nanook on a hike into Shadow Lake.” Clarke remembers hiking in his telemark boots as a child because children’s hiking boots were not available.
As a teenager Clarke sought out mountains to ski up and down, just “looking for good terrain, to get out, and have fun.” He started reading books about outdoor adventures such as Chris Bonington’s Annapurna, Tom Horbein’s The West Ridge, and Don Starkell’s Paddle to the Amazon. Mt. Everest soon captured Jamie’s imagination.
In 1991 Jamie traveled to Mt. Everest with the Canadian expedition Climb For Hope, sponsored by Cathay Pacific, AG Foods, and Midland Communications. A team of 21 members climbed the north side of the mountain, making it to over 25 000ft before bad weather forced them to turn back.
Upon his return to Canada, Clarke immediately began planning and fundraising his return to Everest. The 1994 Lungs Without Limits expedition was for the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Lung Association, sponsored by Emergo Group of Calgary and Sun Ice Clothing. Clarke spent the years leading up to the expedition fundraising by speaking to students about his previous trip to Everest. The North American team of 14 climbed the north route, making it within 150m of the summit before poor weather and altitude sickness forced them to descend.
Following his return from the 1994 expedition, Clarke once again began planning and fundraising to return to Mt. Everest. The 1997 expedition was sponsored by Colliers and Lotus Notes/IBM. A team of about a dozen approached from the south side of Everest, summiting on May 23, 1997.
In 2007 Jamie began to plan a fourth return to Everest. The expedition was sponsored by HanesBrands. Clarke fundraised by touring across North America, speaking about his previous expeditions at colleges and universities.
The Climb With Us expedition focused on inspiring observers and gear innovation. The Champion Super Suit was designed for the expedition to be lightweight, flexible, and warmer than down; especially in high-wind situations that compress down to the point of being completely ineffective. Using aerogel insulating technology, the “Super Suit” is only 3mm thick.
Jamie and his team of six summited Everest from the south side on May 17, 2010.
The Empty Quarter
In 1999 Jamie became the first Westerner to cross the Empty Quarter of Arabia in fifty years. His team of six (including three Bedouin) spent 40 days crossing the desert with a caravan of 13 camels.
The Seven Summits
Between 1993 and 2008 Jamie summited all of the seven summits; the highest peaks on each of the seven contents.
Jamie Clarke is married and lives in Calgary, Canada with his wife and two children.