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Glasgow graduate given climbing award after surviving avalanche that killed his friend

Tim Miller survived the avalanche in 2018 after chewing through his tent


A Glasgow University graduate who survived an avalanche back in 2018 has been presented with an award.

Tim Miller has been awarded the Piolet d’Or, or Golden Ice Axe, for his pioneering ascent of Nepal’s notorious Jugal Spire after he chewed his way through his tent.

Described as the Oscars of Mountaineering, the award is given to climbers who pursue uncharted territories with a deep-rooted admiration for the mountains, Glasgow Live reported.

Tim was a former geology student at the University of Glasgow, having graduated five years ago, and his efforts after being caught beneath an avalanche, have now been recognised.

Having chewed through his tent, Tim battled through six feet of snow to save his climbing partner, Bruce Normand, before discovering his other friend, Christian Huber, had sadly not survived.

The survivors then spent two days in their fragmented tent, waiting for weather to ease before being airlifted to safety by a Pakistani military helicopter. Tim was described as a ”hero” by Normand.

Speaking about the experience of the avalanche, Miller commented: ”It was a turning point, a moment where the mountains taught me lessons beyond climbing. I didn’t take it in immediately because I was so focused on finding what I needed to survive – warmth, food, liquid, and shelter.

”When I came down, it all hit me and I saw how much the whole thing had terrified my mum, dad, and girlfriend. But it made me realise how much I need to climb. It made me appreciate being alive, and climbing makes me feel alive. We’re all humans, and we all experience fear, but I think some people experience it differently.”

”I learned a lot from that experience — we made silly mistakes. Now I prepare meticulously, I’m more experienced, I have my qualifications, and I’m way more knowledgeable, so I take more control. It can be scary at times but I feel far more stressed when I’m off the mountain and my phone starts pinging. You’re in flow when you’re in the mountains, and I find it quite hard to deal with getting off it and living a ‘normal’ life.”

Tim went on to speak about his achievement: ”I’m incredibly proud to receive a Piolet d’Or, but I never got into climbing for awards: The award, for me, is being able to explore the unexplored, and the adventure itself. On an expedition you don’t have to think about anything else for six weeks; you read, you chat, and you climb.

”It’s purely a psychological sport. You have to switch yourself off to be alert. All your actions have consequences so there’s no choice but to focus entirely. It’s like nothing else on Earth.

”There are only a handful of unclaimed peaks out there, and there’s so much hard work scouring books and Google Earth before you get there, but it’s still unknown until you’re on the mountain.”