''It's all bullshit on Everest these days''
Rob lives near Petworth, West Sussex and went to school with James at Christ's Hospital. He was given the opportunities to pursue his outdoor interests at the school, and cut his teeth on some of the most technical routes on the ancient school buildings and nearby road bridges. He still maintains that his most difficult move was negotiating an overhanging ledge atop a cast iron drainpipe, with the purpose of hanging a six-bedsheet banner in readiness for the leaver's ball. He is very appreciative of the opportunities and inspiration that was provided to him by a handful of committed teachers. They devoted much of their time to unravelling the students' thirst for adventure, and Rob is similarly motivated to return this favour and enable other young people to share these opportunities in the future. Rob gives all or nothing: he cycles to and from his work on the building site each morning, goes for a pack walk in the evening and then works out on his bedroom gym. It must be noted that he climbed over 6000m before he could drive (the former took 1 attempt, the latter 3...). Rob always has time for his friends and family, who form the core of his support team, and he shares with them a wide variety of interests beyond mountaineering: cycling, swimming, running, skiing, cheesy music and a good sense of humour.
James lives in Wellington, Somerset and also went to school at Christ's Hospital, where he too saw a different attraction of the imposing red brick buildings, and used his great stature to reach high up the walls to his girlfriend's bedroom window. The crucial difference however is that James proudly was never caught. James shares a thirst for the outdoor life and the all the elements that it offers, and he is a hugely reliable and solid partner, combined with a natural ability at most things: from academic work to cycling, from singing to running and from climbing to comedy. James cares deeply about those closest to him, and he also devotes time to helping younger climbers or cyclists enjoy the opportunities that he appreciated so much from those who placed trust in him. The blessing of a charity education is such that importantly he has an intrigue and care for the people of the countries in which he climbs beyond life in the high valleys and the climbing communities. He also takes notorious care over his hair, and expeditions are usually not complete without persuading him to sample the local peroxide concoctions on his head. James approaches his training with an unshakeable resilience to personal suffering, and fits his surveying, building or waitering work around this schedule. He is ever keen never to let anyone down, not least his family, and correspondingly he is very well supported by their generosity and media expertise.
James and Rob have climbed together all over England, and in the Alps, Pakistan and Nepal, and their different approaches and unique understanding of each other are vastly complementary: they grew up together in the same boarding house as inseparable friends, and it is a rare and fortunate situation for two people who know each other so intimately to be working together for existence and achievement on the slopes of Everest.