Category Archives: Inspiration

The Art of Speaking – Part 2

Who Cares? When delivering a speech, just remember that because you’re the boss or someone of note, doesn’t mean people will sit up and listen. When preparing a presentation, a good starting point is to ask: ‘Why should anyone care […]

Paradise Regained: Deep Water Soloing in Mallorca

I have just returned from a Deep Water Soloing trip to Mallorca. The idea is that you climb the wonderful limestone cliffs, up to 15 metres high, without ropes and the sea is your safety net. It seemed de riguer to fall or jump in each day, just to get used to it. I must admit, I spent the first couple of days not falling in. It just seemed wrong!

5 Valuable things climbing on gritstone taught me!

I gave a speech at the Royal Geographical Society in London last month and I started by saying how the foundation of my climbing began on gritstone.

I always feel lucky that I learnt to climb on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire and Yorkshire. There is no better place to test yourself as a leader. People can be disparaging about the modest height of Stanage or Froggat Edge (20 metres or so, max) , but ironically that is what makes them so serious. On relatively small cliffs the ground is always close by, meaning even a short fall could end by smashing into the ground. And the ground beneath gritstone cliffs is not kind and often littered with sharp boulders.

The art of speaking and the ‘right to roam’.

After giving so many motivation speeches ‘indoors’ on teamwork and leadership at corporate events, it was a real treat to get to speak ‘outdoors’ recently. The Peak District National Park held an event to mark the 10th anniversary of CRoW. The Countryside Rights of Way Act has significantly increased open access in England for all. In The Peak District alone, On September 19th 2004, the public’s right of access grew from 240 sq km to more than 500 sq km, opening up a new world to be explored inside Britain’s first national park.

Naranjo de Bulnes; third time lucky.

The great tower of El Naranjo de Bulnes in the Picos d’Europa is one of the most famous mountains in Spain. Ever since seeing a photo of it as a teenager I wanted to climb it. However, for one reason and another, it would take me many years to succeed and teach me a few things along the way.

I first tried to climb Naranjo de Bulnes 20 years ago, alone and in winter, approaching on skis. I was working in Spain and I had a couple of days free. The weather was so bad I never made it to the base of the mountain and I had to take refuge in a shepherd’s hut overnight. I left without even seeing the peak.

Secret Switzerland – Top 5 Mountain Gems

One of the perks of working as a mountain guide – being the leader of groups – is the opportunity to explore off the beaten track. Over the years I have discovered some real Swiss gems, venues rarely crowded. Here are five of my favourites.

Exploring the Cordillera Darwin – Tierra del Fuego

In September 2013, Simon Yates and I set off to explore new routes in the mountains of the Cordillera Darwin in Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America. We would be the only people climbing in a mountain range as long as the Alps: the only access is by boat. On the map there are a few red lines denoting previous explorers’ routes. Most of the map is blank, totally unexplored – a rare thing in today’s world.

Eight tips for making a good winter climbing film!

When Award winning filmmaker Paul Diffley and I discussed where to make a mountaineering film, Scotland in winter leapt out. It is where I began my mountaineering 30 years ago and remains one of the most challenging environments I have faced. It is also one of the most magnificent.

Six reasons why winter mountaineering in Scotland is so hard-core!

I recently bumped into a French alpinist in Glencoe who explained that 10 top French Alpinists had come to Scotland in winter to train for a trip to the greater ranges. My own mountaineering career began in Scotland 30 years ago and, despite having climbed all over the world, it remains a very special place for me.
So what makes a day out in Scotland in winter so challenging?

Everest – An Enduring Legacy

Everest – An Enduring Legacy

The first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 was an inspiring story of human courage, great leadership, teamwork and motivation. Importantly, it was also an example of a famous event leaving a lasting legacy for future generations. Following that successful ascent, theMount Everest Foundation was formed, initially financed from surplus funds and royalties, ‘to encourage and support ‘exploration of the mountain regions of the earth’. 60 years later the charity is still going strong, handing out thousands of pounds to pioneering climbers and scientists each year.