Past Expeditions

Welcome to David Lim's website on Singapore mountaineering expeditions to Everest, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Salar de Uyuni, climbing virgin peaks, and the greater Himalayas. Scroll down for information , dispatches and pictures.

Himalayan Traverse expedition 2016 in Nepal
Kinabalu One-day ascent , 23 August 2013. David makes the first 1-day mobility-impaired climb of Borneo's summit
Qinghai Virgin Peaks Expedition 2012: Tackling 6000m virgin peaks in the Tanggulashan area of Qinghai, China
1st Singapore Everest Expedition: online dispatches of the landmark 1st Singapore Mt Everest Expedition, led by David Lim
Aconcagua 2000: David Lim and Tok Beng Cheong tackle the Polish Traverse in Feb 2000, as part of David's comeback climb from disability
Tien Shan Expedition 2000: David and members of the 2001 Everest Expedition lead and trained a team of novices in the first ever Singapore expedit...
Ojos Del Salado - Chile 2001: The Everest 2001 Expedition’s major warm-up climb prior to the Everest climb in 2001.
Singapore-Latin American Everest Expedition 2001: A climb on the North Rodge of Mt Everest, led by David Lim
Climbing the fabled Mount Ararat in 2001: ” I was fascinated by the tale of Noah’s Ark since I was a kid. In 1986 I took the opportunity to tra...
Ascent 8000: Expedition to Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, two 8000m peaks in 2002 by disabled Singaporean mountaineer David Lim
Alpine Rock in Borneo -2010:Why We Need Heroes: Climbing with Borneo alpine rock with Sir Chris Bonington, the legendary British mountaineer.
Extreme Desert Crossing 2007:David and Shani make the 5th ever recorded crossing on foot of the Salar de Uyuni
The “Spirit of Singapore Expedition 2009”, makes 3 virgin peak ascents including the tough peak later named Majulah Peak
Iran Expedition 2006: Multi-peak ascents in Alam-Kooh, and a climb of the long north ridge of Damavand in the Alborz peaks.
Ojos del Salado 2005: The highest volcano in the world --"Of my many adventures and climbs worldwide, there are a few which taught me the lesson t...
Nike Timing Mt. Fuji Climb 2004: David, Ting Sern and Masaharu make an attempt on Mt Fuji in the winter from the Yoshida trailhead.
Mountain of the Star Expedition 2003: An all-disabled mountaineers’ ascent of Pico de Orizaba, 5700m, Mexico’s highest peak and North America...
Maccoffee Tienshan Virgin Peaks Expedition: David leads his team to make the first virgin peak ascents by a Southeast Asian expedition. The team cl...
Kilimanjaro 2011: David Lim returns to Kilimanjaro to climb it from the Rongai Route.
Elbrus 2003: Climbing highest summit of Europe - in 2003. David teams up with Grant and Rudolf in Russia...
Kilimanjaro Challenge 2004: Four disabled mountaineers atempt a remote route on the northern icefields of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m), the summit of ...

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Partially disabled in both legs since 1998 from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, David’s passion for high places remains unquenched. Keep track of the adventures of Singapore’s most prolific high-altitude mountaineer, leadership coach, author and motivational speaker through this site.

David’s perspective: ” Once I knew that life would not be the same again after my disabilities, I wanted to push the envelope – to see what a partially disabled climber can do,  with minimal support. If you’re keen on following my adventures, where I don’t fancy having myself and all my gear dragged up the mountain by guides, Sherpas etc, stay tuned, and thanks for visiting.”

Since 1999, David has delivered more than 600 motivational keynotes and team improvement solutions in 30 countries and 71 cities, and is the first (and only) Singaporean to earn professional speaking’s highest credential, the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation. Find out more about his leadership programmes and presentations at:

Read More here


Sleeping Systems on a budget revisited:

Expedition 2016  preparation continues.

Instead of spending $800++ on a new 1.4kg four season bag, I’ve created a highly modular system using my decade-old Mountainsmith,  1kg -7º degree bag, and layering it with a China-made, 800-fill down quilt (400gm) – about $150. Most non-climbers just dont know how much thinking needs to go into a sleep system that works in extreme cold and one which you (yes, you, not a porter!) carry.

Quilts are gaining favour as ultra light gear and can be used as a blanket, partially closed up or fully closed up but for the back area (which is normally squashed down/insulation and useless anyway). Pair this with a UL eggshell mat (also a $15, no-brand China made item at 350gms), and a R5 rated inflatable ($75)  from JR gear. You can search and review many of these China brand soft goods on ( the retail version of Alibaba) . You can form combinations of these four pieces to prep for anything from an alpine climbing sort of trip all the way up to a -15ºC expedition climate. Total weight: 2.2kgs – way lighter than a trad set up. I could shave off more by cutting the foam mat to a 3/4 length one too. The lightest combo would be 750grams and allow me to sleep in temps down to zero degrees. I’ll be updating the site as preparation for this year’s climb continues.

 Risk and Adventure: Not Child’s Play

Opinion piece from The Sunday Times, June 28th 2015

risk and adventure 28.6.2015 sundaytimes











Kinabalu in A Day: Aug 22 – 25, 2013

Click the link above to go to reports and updates on  the first Mobility Impaired 1-day ascent of Mt Kinabalu from Timpohan Gate 91866m) to the 4095m summit, Low’s Peak. Watch  a short clip of David’s training, ascent and

summit on August 23rd 2013 here.

Above: The Sunday Times news article from Aug 24, 2013

Adventures and Lessons from the Mountains of Bhutan

7 days of driving snow and rain with just 2 days of nice weather!

7 days of driving snow and rain with just 2 days of nice weather!

Just recently, I was privileged to visit the mountains of Bhutan. As it would take far too long to walk; and unlike the mystical Guru Rinpoche, who rode a magical flying tigress; I had to fly by DrukAir, the nation’s national carrier. ……

To learn what I learnt on the 10-day classic Chomolhari Trek, continue reading the story here



Does Singapore Deserve Its Mountaineers?

(Published June 2, 2009 in The Straits Times )

“…For a sport in which we excel on an Asian level, is not size-dependent, and is not gender biased, why does mountaineering and the those on the forefront of pushing standards here receive such a disproportionately modest amount of support to get the job done? Conversely, sports in which we perform at a mediocre level, and where success is often dependent of physical size, often receive far more political and commercial support.”
Read the rest of this feature here.


Qinghai Virgin Peaks Expedition: Latest media reports

Breaking news: David and Roz return from having made the highest virgin peak ascent by any SE Asian mountaineers- climbing a c.6000m peak in the Qinghai region of China. The peak has been named as Sangay Ri , or Lion Peak.  

Check out dispatches, photos of the climbs in this remote and exciting region (earliest on top – you will have to scroll down for the latest reports)


Top: Sunday Times‘ full length feature ont he expedition, Oct 6th 2012

Above Left: David, triumphant on the summit of Sangay Ri, a virgin peak in Qinghai, China, as covered in the Oct 3rd edition of myPaper. After extensive research, the team selected this region comprising of up to 12 glaciers and 10 unclimbed summits. Apart from the Dongkemadi Glaciers, no humans are known to have ventures forth on any of the other glaciers or peaks. Above Right: Rozani – in the Malay-language Berita Harian newspaper

Media coverage included ChannelnewsAsia’s “Singapore Today” on Oct 3rd, The Straits Times,  Berita Harian and an in-depth story on David’s challenges, and his recent expedition with Rozani in Maarof in the  SundayTimes Oct 7th 2012


See the TV news coverage on Youtube here:

 was awarded the SINTERCOM Asia-Pacific “Best of Asia-Pacific” websites list in 1997 and 1998 for content quality.


Pork Pies and Adventuring: The Role of Ethics and Style in the Game

Are mountaineers somehow immune to the pressures to cheat to succeed? Sadly not. I explore how the ethics of the game has from time to time taken body blows, and four steps to ascertain if a climb has been done in good style, and what Singaporeans can do to abide by the ethical standards climbing

June 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Adventure Clubs with an Interest in


June 13, 2012

Written in the Jan 1999 issue of CLIMB-ON magazine, this article, directed at Singapore adventure organisations, still appears timely and relevant


A View To Die For?

Reprinted with permission by The Sunday Times, Singapore, June 3, 2012
By David Lim©June 3, 2012

About 300 climbers on Mount Everest forming a long queue as they trek towards their ultimate goal of reaching the summit. Because there are only a few small windows of four to five days during the spring when climbers can reach the top in relatively good weather, the rush of mountaineers in these periods creates huge jams at bottleneck areas along the route, leading to people suffering from frostbite and other cold-related injuries while waiting. — PHOTO COURTESY OF RALF DUJMOVITS



Mount Everest is turning into a circus of danger as hundreds of climbers – including the ill-prepared – join the rush to the summit.The writer Ernest Hemingway once said that there are only three true sports in the world – the rest being merely games – and listed them as motor racing, bullfighting and mountaineering.

But in the decades since the last of the giant Himalayan peaks fell to the boots of mountaineers, has the sport of mountaineering, at least where Mount Everest is concerned, changed irreversibly, and not necessarily for the better?

Each year, like part of a tick-list for driven people, Everest sees hundreds of climbers swarming its flanks, almost all of them attempting to scale it from either its standard routes from the south in Nepal or the north, from Tibet.

I applaud anyone who wishes to take on the personal challenge of the peak, as it is still not an easy accomplishment.

In its purest form, the sport of mountaineering is about freedom of expression. It’s about self-determination, route finding, working as a team, and challenging yourself in a pristine, harsh and remote arena. And yet, climbing Everest has lost most of the elements that make mountaineering what it is. For Everest at least, the aim of the game is summitting, and sometimes at all costs.

Ask those climbers this season who were told to turn around but did not, and then died on their descent, largely due to exhaustion and mistakes made in a hypoxic state of lacking oxygen. Veteran mountain guide Dave Hahn told me more than a decade ago on my second Everest expedition that ‘there is the sport of mountaineering, and then there is this thing called Everesting’. Mr Hahn should know; he’s climbed Everest an amazing 14 times.

In ‘Everesting’, it seems more and more people want to get to the top without investing in a long and often rewarding apprenticeship in mountaineering.

For the rest of the article, go here

2 Responses to David Lim, Mountaineer, Motivational Speaker-Expedition Base Camp

  • Morgan Victor says:

    Dear Mr. David Lim,

    My name is Morgan, and I am a budding Singaporean climber. I have thoroughly enjoyed your website and there are a few key messages that resonate with me.

    Namely from your 2009 Straits Times article, “The media has also often taken few pains to educate itself on the sport of mountaineering. Until it educates its reporters that mountaineering excellence has never been defined by an ascent of Everest alone, the sport is truly doomed. Our busy and time-starved public will never be able to fathom anything in mountaineering other then “Everest-ing”.

    I strongly share many of your views and would like to share with you my account of summitting Iraq’s highest mountain last week. The summit was of Mount Halgurd (3607m), in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in Iraq’s North. Iraqi-Kurdistan is a safe and stable region with a pronounced difference in security from the rest of federal Iraq. It none the less remains a region where few foreigners have ventured to, and wherein lies many virgin peaks.

    Last Thursday’s summit (9th May) was made by an International team of 4 British Citizens, Myself, and a Kurdish team member who was also our local translator. There lies a mountain to the North of Halgurd called Cheekar-Dar which stands at 3611m. But because it lies on the border of Iran, it is forbidden to be climbed for political reasons. The Kurds for the most part view it as a disputed mountain, and have historically always viewed Halgurd as their highest peak.

    As far as we know from local sources, the mountain has never been summitted in Winter conditions either. We made the first Winter summit of Halgurd. It was a true pioneering expedition in every sense of the word, in the true spirit of adventure. We spent days having to forge a route up the mountain, sometimes having to negotiate live minefields on the mountain, left behind from the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. We were interviewed by local Kurdish tv and appeared on the news that night!

    We witnessed two avalanches, one of which posed a direct threat to my safety on our first summit attempt which we aborted. Wolves, and unaccounted gunfire at night on the mountain also added to some of our concerns at the time.

    This has been a long seven month journey for me. It involved independent research, planning and funding with no external help. It also involved having to spend months establishing my own local contacts in Kurdistan to help me gain entry into the somewhat tightly regulated region. I was even denied boarding my flight from Dubai to Erbil and spent the most stressful 48 hours in my life dealing with airport staff. I finally managed to catch the last flight into Kurdistan for the week, with only 30 minutes to go until take off.

    There were so many points of my trip where the entire plan could have fallen through. But I believe that this is the kind of risk taking you seem to speak about. Where the journey can be often tumultuous and precarious. But it is all worth it, because I know that it was an extremely rocky road, just getting to the mountain alone, and one which could have cost me a dream of futhur mountaineering above all.

    I would very much like to share a photo with you of our very own red and white flying on the summit of Iraq’s highest accessible mountain. Please do share your email address with me! (:

    I was also wondering, if I could write an article which perhaps you may like to publish on your website, about the entire Halgurd experience and what it is like to climb and trek in the Zagros Mountain range.

    Here is also a link to my expedition facebook page.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Morgan Victor

    • David says:

      Hi Morgan – it’s be great to get a photo of the peak from some distance, as well as of you and the team. COngratulations for an off-the-beaten-track ascent. Truly an adventurous trip