152: Andrew Alexander King/I Know Who I Am

Andrew Alexander King, Mexico, March 2021. Photo: Tozer

I’m used to chatting guests with massive goals or awe-inspiring achievements under their belts. Think of Ross Edgeley’s Great British Swim, or Christina Koch’s record-breaking spaceflight.

And this week’s guest Andrew Alexander King is right up there. Andrew is a surfer, climber and mountaineer who is at the beginning of an audacious attempt to become the first African-American to climb the seven highest mountains and volcanoes on each continent. 14 peaks in all, each with their own dangers and unique challenges.

Andrew and friend. Photo: Tozer

As a life goal, it is frighteningly ambitious. And that’s before you factor in his Between Worlds Project, through which he hopes to subvert the “lottery ticket of birth” that currently sets your cultural path, and dictates who gets to see these environments as viable playgrounds; a subject that is currently the subject of much transatlantic discussion and controversy.

Photo: Tozer

Like I said, it is ambitious stuff, and about as far-removed from the “because it’s there’ orthodoxy that has shaped the narrative of exploration for the past two hundred years as it is possible to get. Andrew’s infectious personality and compelling backstory only add to the intrigue.

Naturally, I was keen to speak to him for the show, and find out more about his quixotic quest, so in March 2021 we caught up over Zoom to discuss the whole thing. It’s a good one this. Listen to the episode below:

Connect with Andrew

Show Notes

  • The Shed
  • The daily routine
  • Training regimes
  • Mountains, and being mentored by Melissa Reid
  • The plan
  • Being more than just a hashtag
  • The Between Worlds Project and life’s lottery ticket
  • Diversity in the mountains
  • Looking to the community and not taking the trips for granted
  • “Nature is the safest place for someone of colour”.
  • Breaking the opportunity barriers
  • Mental stamina
  • Climbing 50 mountains
  • Family support growing up
  • The importance of conversation around equal opportunities
  • The media, BLM protests and the Capitol Riots
  • ‘..what privilege means to me..’
  • Economic advantage in outdoor spaces
  • Why representation matters
  • The riots, and choosing how to use privilege
  • The Manhattan Beach incident
  • Action being taken after the fact.
  • Leaving Live Nation to see a change through
  • Seeing a positive change happening
  • ‘..I’m probably not going to be around to see this tree grow..’
  • Seeing human rights protests unfold across the world
  • Progress with The Between Worlds Project
  • Falling in love with a journey
  • The message came first
  • Not wanting to just absorb resources and culture
  • Why it’s the right vehicle for the message
  • The scope and ambition of the project and getting brands on board
  • ‘..when we get to the top of Everest, it’s someone else’s turn..’
  • Mentor Stan Evans
  • Learning how to navigate the space
  • Sponsors and being self financed
  • Finding a brand that believed in Andrew’s core values
  • Brands not backing athletes of colour
  • Using an athlete’s image appropriately
  • Paying more than just lip-service to an issue
  • Defining your core values and learning how not to be exploited
  • Alternative options for athletes away from brands
  • Doing more and not being a one dimensional athlete
  • Getting sober and choosing your own path
  • Links and more information
  • European plans

Names Mentioned

  • Chuck Patterson
  • Izzy
  • Melissa Reid
  • George Floyd
  • Phil Young
  • Ahmaud Arbery
  • Selema Masekela
  • Sean King
  • Hunter Jones
  • Ryan Harris
  • Stan Evans
  • T-Pain
  • Shane Dorian
  • Laird Hamilton
  • Greg ‘GT’ Tomlinson
  • Tyler Wilcott

Places Mentioned

  • Southern California
  • Mavericks
  • Jaws
  • Denali
  • Mt Everest
  • Mt Elbrus
  • Russia
  • Mt Kilimanjaro
  • Puncak Jaya
  • Aconcagua
  • Vinson Massif
  • Antarctica
  • Detroit
  • Michigan
  • Hawaii
  • Mt Fuji
  • Mt Kinabalu
  • Mt Jade
  • Taiwan
  • Indonesia
  • America
  • Portland
  • Washington DC
  • DisneyLand
  • Malibu
  • Compton
  • Inglewood
  • Mount Whitney
  • Mount Baldy
  • Santa Monica
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Puerto Escondido
  • Mexico
  • La Punta
  • Playa Zicatela
  • Santiago
  • Bolivia
  • Mexico City
  • Huntington Beach
  • Matterhorn
  • Mt Blanc
  • France
  • Nazaré


Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned

  • Instagram
  • Between Worlds Project
  • The Patriots
  • Lego
  • Ticket Master
  • Wal Mart
  • The North Face
  • Moorehouse
  • Surf Splendor
  • MIT
  • REI
  • Live Nation
  • Black Diamond
  • Sea to Summit
  • Deep End Fitness
  • Mammut
  • VonZipper
  • NFL
  • Clubhouse
  • TikTok