Category Archives: Leadership

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 […]

‘On The Edge’ – 5 reasons I Love Ridge Climbs

I’ve always enjoyed reaching the summit of a mountain via a ridge climb. Whether working as a leader on a well-worn classic route or trying a first ascent, a good ridge lingers long in the memory. But what makes them so special?

The first day climbing – staying calm under pressure

Being a mountain guide is about being a leader, finding the way and making big decisions. But it is also about being a mentor, enabling others to be the best they can be.

One element I have always enjoyed is coaching people to rock climb. Sometimes people have climbed a lot and want to improve so they can realise a particular ambition, for others it is a completely new experience.

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.

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.

Survival tips for mountaineers #3 – Top 10 tips for reducing avalanche risk, part II.

So you have done your research at home and now you are in the mountains. What next?

1 ‘The Mountain has no idea that you are an expert!’
I try and remember this phrase. Even if you have been climbing for years, or are an experienced leader, or have been to a particular mountain many times before, remain vigilant. A good leader will use intuition and observation before setting out and will continuously re-assess en route: always try and view things with fresh eyes.

Survival tips for Mountaineers & skiers #2 – snow, avalanches & reducing risk

It is mid-December and in many mountains of the northern hemisphere snow has arrived. In the Alps, the avalanche hazard is so high that last week the Mont Blanc Tunnel was closed. Already, in the UK plenty of people have […]

Survival tips for mountaineers # 1 – Get the Information!

A key part of reducing a team’s exposure to risk on a climb is the quality of the information about the mountain and the conditions they are likely to encounter.

Whether it is a day climb in Scotland or a Himalayan peak, time spent researching is an investment. Climbers are good at setting clear goals; successful ones are masters of making the right decision in view of conditions.

What can Everest teach us?

Although I am known for pioneering new routes on some of the world’s highest, most difficult mountains, I think I learnt some of the fundamental rules of survival much closer to home very early on in my climbing career. Aged 17, I spent a week with two mountain guides in Scotland, climbing and learning everyday. The guides were extremely experienced mountaineers, having climbed, among other things, new routes on Mount Everest.