Tents at Everest base camp

Destinations Finding Michael Matthews – Did Spencer Matthews find his brother?

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Finding Michael (2023)

Finding Michael was released on 7th March 2023 on Disney+ and tells the story of Michael Matthews, then aged 22 years, the youngest Brit to summit Mount Everest. He reached the summit on 13th May 1999 and was last seen 3 hours later between the summit of Everest and the balcony. Michael disappeared as conditions took a turn for the worse and was never seen again. He was declared missing, presumed dead.

This documentary sees Spencer Matthews travel to Nepal to search for his brother’s body 23 years after his record climb and his consequent disappearance. With scenes filmed in London, Scotland, Canada and Nepal, the film took 2 years to make and was set for release on Friday 3rd March. It was delayed by 4 days as it was decided last minute that footage and photos of dead bodies may be disturbing to some viewers. The delay interval was spent editing this footage and images of dead bodies, which are shown as blurred in the final film.

Who was michael matthews?

Michael Matthews was an amateur climber, adventure enthusiast and successful city trader who had enjoyed climbing in Europe and who had summitted Aconcagua, before attempting to climb Mount Everest with friend and colleague Mike Everett. The two young men were joined on their expedition by other climbers including Canadian, Dave Rodney, who became close to Michael on their trek. All who met him claimed Spencer Matthew’s brother Michael was well-liked and easy going and was determined to enjoy every moment of their ambitious climb.

Michael Matthews Everest expedition faced criticism by the Matthews family following the disappearance of Michael but the British Mountain Guides professional standards committee found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Climbers ascending Mount Everest

Who is spencer matthews?

Spencer Matthews was 10 years old when his older brother Michael went missing, aged 22. Spencer shot to fame in 2011 following the launch of reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, and is now a TV personality and is the founder of CleanCo non-alcoholic spirits.

Spencer was raised on the family estates of Caunton Manor, a 30-acre estate in Nottinghamshire, and Eden Rock in Saint Barthélemy and studied at Eton. In addition to his brother Michael, Spencer has another older brother, James Spencer Matthews who was a racing car driver and is married to Pippa Middleton, younger sister of Catherine, Princess of Wales. Spencer also has an older half-sister, Nina.

Married to Vogue Matthews, Irish reality TV star, model and TV personality, they share 3 children, one of whom was born just weeks before Spencer departed for Nepal.

What is Finding Michael about?

In 2017 the Matthews family received a photo of a body on Everest who was identified as possibly being the frozen body of Michael Matthews. Finding Michael is the story of Spencer Matthew’s journey in his brothers footsteps, first trekking to Everest Base Camp then coordinating the search alongside climbing experts and local Sherpa guides to search for the body of his brother.

On the advice of Bear Grylls, Spencer stays at Base Camp despite having a desire to climb Everest himself.

Climbing to Everest Base camp

Who helped in the search for Michael Matthews?

Dave Rodney – on original expedition with Michael

Spencer goes to visit Dave Rodney in the Canadian Rockies before he departs for Nepal. Dave recalls his memories of Mike and their journey, as well as showing Spencer the kit they were wearing at the time of Michael’s disappearance, in the hope this might help them identify the body, if found.

Bear Grylls – Executive Producer

Bear Grylls had met Michael Matthews before he died, when he had offered advice to Michael before his expedition, and encountered Spencer Matthews as a child in school. Spencer goes to visit him on his houseboat for advice after receiving the suspected photograph of Michael’s body.

Nirmal Purja MBE – Executive Producer

Nirmal Purja or Nims, is an experienced Nepali mountaineer who holds the world record for summiting all 14 8,000m peaks in an astonishing 7 months. Spencer recruits Nims to help search for Michaels’ body.

In addition to those mentioned above, Spencer recruits an experienced team of Nepali Sherpa, drone experts and guides to assist in their quest to bring Michael Matthews home.

Did they find Michael Matthews?

The big question on many of our lips is, does Spencer Matthews find his brother?

Before the search team even step foot above Everest Base Camp, the local Sherpa team were able to identify the photograph sent to the Matthews family. They recognised this body immediately as that of an unknown Indian climber.

This was a blow for Spencer, but their attempt continued regardless. Using drones to scour the vast search area and traversing on foot to identify the clothing of the several bodies found, they failed to find Michael Matthews during two attempts into the DEATH ZONE, that dangerous low-oxygen area above 8,000m.

Sadly, Spencer did not find Mike.

However, during the course of their investigations, they came across the body of Wang Dorchi Sherpa, a local Nepali guide. In a difficult but thoughtful decision, Spencer decides that if they fail to find Mike, they will do their best to retrieve the body of Wang Dorchi instead and make a difference to the local family who couldn’t otherwise afford to bring their father, son and brother home. In the end, this is what they did.

Mount Everest in Nepal


Notwithstanding the fact that Spencer Matthews has ridden the reality TV wave of fame to stardom, this documentary feels like an important journey of self-discovery for Spencer. We inevitably wonder if we found ourselves in the same position, and if we had the same resources and opportunity to find our missing sibling or child, wouldn’t we also go to extreme lengths to do so too.

Finding Michael shows dramatic footage of Everest and highlights the dangers of climbing to over 8,000m. For purist mountaineers, Spencer Matthews and Nims Purja, with a cameo appearance from Bear Grylls, as celebrity protagonists may be hard to swallow. However, for those interested in watching Spencer Matthews’s personal journey following in the footsteps of his big brother is emotive viewing and not to be missed.

Spencer: “Honestly I wasn’t expecting the trek to be as beautiful as it is. I thought it was very much a kind of head down, get on and go, the trek will be the boring bit, but actually I’m absolutely blown away by what we’re seeing.”

Experience Mount Everest with Kandoo Adventures

Follow in the footsteps of Spencer Matthews Finding Michael and experience the stunning Himalaya for yourself. Kandoo Adventures offer a choice of stunning routes to Everest Base Camp, including the Gokyo Lakes Everest Base Camp trek and climbing Island Peak and Everest Base Camp. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is an iconic hike which is achievable by anyone who is fit and healthy with a thirst for experiencing natural landscapes unlike anywhere else on earth.