Alex Harris

Book Alex Harris

Alex Harris is an athlete whose interests are as varied as they are unique. He has been climbing mountains for two decades and has led more than 20 expeditions to some of the furthest corners of the planet. In 1996, Alex resigned from a career in sales and followed his passion for exploration. Within the year he led his first expedition to Mount Everest. He has climbed the seven summits, the highest mountains on all seven continents, and
has led expeditions to both the north and the south side of Everest. He is also a multiple South African Track cycling champion and in 2006 won a silver medal at the World Masters Track cycling champs. On the 17th of January 2008, Alex became the first African to walk unsupported to the South Pole, a journey that took 65 days and covered almost 1200km. Alex still has all his toes! Just…

Alex started his business career with The Hospitality Group International, and within the first year, became the number one salesman for Southern Africa. By 1996, with a chance to go to Mount Everest, he resigned and turned his passion for the mountains into a profession, by starting a mountain guiding business. Through this he not only guided people up some of the world’s highest mountains, but also motivated schools and organizations – through speaking and writing about his experiences.

Alex combines his experiences in business and the mountains to draw life-changing and relevant parallels to both organisational teams and individuals. His experience is varied, interesting and unique. Alex has a BA in Sport Psychology (Cum Laude) and graduated top of his class from the University of Johannesburg. In 2012, Alex started Xplore, a brand focusing on providing authentic experiences to iconic places.

Alex has been climbing and mountaineering around the world since 1989 and is South Africa’s most experienced and respected high altitude mountaineer. Alex’s easy-going nature and deep understanding of human potential has made him the first choice as expedition leader on some of the most significant South African mountaineering achievements. He has led more than 25 expeditions, which have taken him to all seven continents and the furthest corners of the world… from the jungles of Borneo, through the arid plains of Tibet, to the frozen wastelands of Antarctica. He finds in mountains a sense of purpose and destiny that give his life meaning and inspire those around him.

Some of Alex’s more note-worthy achievements are:

• June 2009 – Expedition to Broad Peak 8047m, in the Pakistan Karakorum
• January 2008 – 1st South African to walk unsupported to the South Pole (1130km in 65 days)
• June 2005 – Reached the summit of Everest from the North side
• June 2005 – Completed the seven summits, the highest mountain on all seven continents
• April 2003 – Led the Discovery Everest expedition to the South side of Everest
• May 2002 – Led the Discovery expedition to North America’s highest mountain, Denali (Mount McKinley) (6192m)
• April 2001 – Guided the first South African expedition to Cho Oyu (8201m)
• April 2000 – Led the first South African expedition to climb Australasia’s highest peak: Carstensz Pyramid (4894m)
• September 1996 – Led the first South African expedition to the North side of Everest – the youngest person to lead an Everest expedition
• January 1999 – First South African to climb on all seven continents
• December 1999 – Led the first South African expedition to climb Antarctica’s highest mountain: Mount Vinson (4897m)
• July 1994 – First South African ascent of a 7000m peak: Mt Lenin in Uzbekistan (7134m)
• 15 Ascents of Kilimanjaro (5895m) by five different routes
• 3 ascents of South America’s highest mountain: Aconcagua (6960m)
• 3 Ascents of Mount Kenya (5199m)

Desert Experience

For the last few years Dubai has been the base for some exiting & pioneering desert adventures. One of the last great adventure problems was to cross the Rub Al Khali, or Empty Quarter as the Arabs call it, unsupported and on foot. Known commonly as the Arabian desert, it is the hottest and most hostile of all the worlds deserts, and splits the Arabian Peninsula in two. For the past three years Alex and a small team had been researching and training for this unprecedented challenge, which involved pulling a cart across 1200km across barren desert. March 2013 saw this dream become a reality.

– January 2014 – Alex pioneers a desert hike ascoss the Liwa Crescent with some clients. Successfully facilitates a corporate team build in the high dunes of Moreeb South of Dubai.
– February 2014 – The first crossing of the empty Quarter on fat bike 1000km from Salalah to Dubai.
– February / March 2013 – Alex and team succeed in becoming the first people to cross the Empty Quarter unsupported. The journey took 40 days and covered 1208kms!
– January 2012 – unsupported crossing on foot of the Ramlat Al Garbinyat, Arabian Desert – Oman. 7 days and 150kms.
– January 2011 – supported crossing on foot of the Liwa section of the Arabian Desert – United Arab Emirates. 6 days and 120kms.
– December 2009 – unsupported crossing on foot of the northern tip of the Naukluft Desert – Namibia. 3 days and 50kms.

Track Cycling

Alex is a committed Christian and following a call from the Lord, Alex began track cycling. Alex had never been on a track bike but after five months of hard work, Alex became the new South African Track Champion for the 1000m Time Trial and the 1500m in his 35 to 39 yrs category! Five months later he won silver and a bronze medal at the World Masters Track Cycling Championships in Manchester. He is ‘nervous’ about where the Lord might call him next!

• 2006 – SA Track Championships
2 Gold and 1 Silver medal (35-39 yrs)
• 2006 – World Masters Track Championships
1 Silver and 1 Bronze Medal (35-39 yrs)
• 2007 – SA Track Championships
1 Gold and 2 silver medals (35-39 yrs)
• 2010 – SA Track Championships
5 Gold and 1 silver medal (35-39 yrs)

Mountain Biking

• June 2015 – 5th place in the Tour Divide (almost 2 days faster than previous PB and 4 hours faster than race record). 15 days 12 hours.
• April 2015 – 1st Place Men: Parys 24hr; 408km
• March 2015 – 1st Place: Race to Cradock; 580km 47.5 hrs
• June 2013 – Alex came 3rd in the Tour Divide, the worlds longest unsupported mountain bike race. At 4500kms, the TD is the Grand Tour of mountain biking. Alexs time, 17 days 5.5 hours.
• June 2012 – Alex came second in this year’s race but still shaved a day and a half off his previous best. His time… 10 days 23 hours and 57 minutes.
• June 2011 – Alex successfully defended his Freedom Challenge title and set a new race record of 12 days and 15 hours!
• June 2010 – Alex won the Freedom Challenge – Race across South Africa. Arguably Africa’s hardest unsupported mountain bike race, Alex cycled from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl, 2300kms, in 14 days and 8 hours.

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