Paul Deegan

Motivational and Leadership Expert, Everest Mountaineer and Award-Winning Author

Paul Deegan's passion for remote and wild places began on 20th April 1985 when he was thrown through the back window of a car in a high speed crash. Luckily, his head broke his fall.

Hours later, whilst he was trying to remove a shard of glass lodged in his back, a policeman came up to Deegan's hospital bed and said, "You should have died today." With these words ringing in his ears, Deegan vowed that at the end of every subsequent day, he would do something that would enable him to say that he’d had a great day.

Two years later, when he was 17, Deegan proposed and subsequently co-led a 47-strong team which cleaned up three decades of rubbish that had accumulated at the base of Mount Everest. Whilst picking up used medical equipment, discarded plastic containers and empty tins of caviar, Deegan looked up and wondered for the first time what the view was like from the summit.

Turning his back on a promising career in refuse collection, Deegan went on to climb, trek and explore many of the world's most popular—and also some of its more esoteric—mountain regions. He also travelled to some decidedly non-mountainous destinations such as the Galapagos, Antarctica and Mos Espa. Magazines and newspapers have published over 250 of Deegan's stories.

Everest remained at the core of many of his adventures. However, after becoming embroiled in the infamous 'Into Thin Air' tragedy on Everest in 1996, Deegan gave up his dream to reach the top of the world, and vowed never to go back to the mountain.

But the dream refused to die. After a hiatus of eight years, Deegan decided to return to Everest to make a final attempt to reach the summit. And 15 years after first looking up, he looked down on the rest of the world on a really great day.

An award-winning author and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Deegan is an ebullient speaker. His aid and environmental policies include donating a minimum of 1% of his gross income to charitable causes, delivering a minimum of 20% of his talks pro bono and carbon offsetting all his air travel.

Deegan has been interviewed on the BBC, ITV, C4 and Sky, and was one of 10 finalists from 2500 applicants in the BBC’s nationwide search for new television experts. The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Baghdad Times have all covered Deegan’s expeditions. Deegan has also been featured in The Sunday Times’ popular “Life in the Day” column.

Since reaching the summit, Deegan has returned to the Everest region to thank the Sherpas who helped him realise his dream, assisted scientists studying ocean acidification on a slab of floating sea ice in the Arctic and worked on the set of Tim Burton’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.

Deegan loves trying new food. He has eaten raw chicken in Tokyo, curried yak stomach in Zangskar, and 10 year old boneless pig in Yunnan. Deegan acquired a taste for fermented mare’s milk whilst on an exploratory expedition to the Pamirs, but found that the horse hairs and lumps of fat had a tendency to catch in the back of his throat. When he's not writing in private or speaking in public, Deegan is most likely to be found in the kitchen attempting to recreate an exotic dish from his most recent journey.

Deegan still picks up rubbish, one piece at a time.