Andrew shared a permit with a number of friends for his climb on this mountain in the post monsoon of 2003. Although climbing independently of the others, who were supported by Sherpas and guides, Andrew quickly made his own way up the mountain. On his summit attempt he reached the Central Summit of 8013 metres in good time but the knife edge ridge to the true summit was out of condition and he was unable to complete the climb. Whilst most climbers claim to have ‘summitted’ Shishapangma with an ascent of the Central Summit, Andrew did not consider that he had climbed the mountain and vowed to return.
He did just that in 2005, again in the post monsoon season, immediately following his ascent of Cho Oyu. Accompanied by one client from that expedition, they made the short drive to Shishapangma basecamp and trekked into advance basecamp a day later. After a brief recce to camp 1, they rested for a few days before launching their summit bid ahead of predicted bad weather. They quickly gained camp 3 but were forced to wait a day there in high winds before setting out in cold conditions the following morning. Again Andrew was able to guide his client to the Central Summit but felt that the conditions were too risky to take his client across the tricky summit ridge to the true summit, so he determined not to make an attempt on the true summit and they descended to safety ahead of a major blizzard. Indeed theirs was the last climb of the central summit that season but Andrew was still left without the true summit, just 14 metres higher.
2007 pre monsoon
Andrew returned for his second real attempt on the true summit in the premonsoon season of 2007 as part of his Shishapangma/Annapurna double header expedition. Andrew had hoped to make a traverse across a crevasse field near camp 3, to attempt a different ridge than the normal one and thus avoid the dangerous conditions higher up but after opening the route most of the way up the mountain in deep snow conditions, his climbing partner was too exhausted to continue the ascent. With his partner out of action, Andrew lost his opportunity to go for the top, so he saved his energy and headed for Annapurna.
2007 post monsoon
Andrew came back for another look in the post monsoon but after a quick recce to camp 1 saw that conditions were too poor for any attempt on the mountain at that time and put it off for a safer year.
2009 post monsoon
Andrew returned once again to the north face of this mountain in September 2009. He teamed up with Welshman Neil Ward and were joined by a third team member, Kinga Baranowska from Poland. After several weeks of preparing their camps and acclimatising on the mountain, they launched their summit attempt in a bid to beat encroaching bad weather. Kinga decided not to attempt the summit with them, so just Neil and Andrew climbed quickly up to their camp 3 at 7400 metres. On 2nd October, they started a traverse across the north face before heading directly up the face to the summit. Conditions were poor but they reached the true summit at 5.05 pm before racing back down to beat the deteriorating weather and darkness. Caught in a storm, they bivouaced in minus 30 degree temperatures but survived the night to get back down to basecamp 2 days later. In reaching this summit, Andrew completed a 17 year project to climb all the 8000ers.