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Michael has thrown his support behind little-known Andrew Lock, Australia's most successful high altitude mountaineer, offering to handle all the publicity during Lock's 2009 expedition to climb Mt Shishapangma and nearby Everest.

Lock aims to be the first Australian to reach all of the world's peaks over 8000m, of which there are 14. When he summits Mt Shishapangma his dream will be realised after 15 years. He plans to celebrate with his third summit of Mt Everest,

Michael first became aware of Lock after hearing him interviewed on local ABC radio.

"I was astounded that I'd never heard of him and I couldn't believe he'd achieved so much while working full-time. Here was a guy who climbed for the sheer enjoyment of it - certainly not for the fame or the money. I love the occasional adventure but Andrew really is a freak," said Michael.

The pair met and, with Michael's wife Penni, created a partnership designed to generate media for Lock during the expedition and speaking engagements when he returns to Australia in June.

"I really think people should take notice of this guy who has such passion for what he does and is so bloody good at it. I believe we can all learn from his experiences and the way he approaches and plans for each very dangerous expedition.

"Did I mention he generally climbs without oxygen?" said Michael, shaking his head. "He is crazy."

Lock hopes to reach the summit of Shishapangma in April and Everest in May, returning to Australia in June.

Photo: Andrew Lock is Australia's most successful high altitude climber.

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