(Alta Via 1) Snow patches in the Dolomites

The Alpine Exploratory Team




Ailsa Gibson at Alpine Exploratory        Allan Gibbs at Alpine Exploratory        Anna-Maria Luton at Alpine Exploratory        Chrissie Hickling at Alpine Exploratory        John Nolan at Alpine Exploratory        Joy O'Flanagan at Alpine Exploratory        Keith Miller at Alpine Exploratory        Lucy Rushton at Alpine Exploratory
Ailsa (F,R)    Allan (L,R)    Anna-Maria (R)    Chrissie (O,R)    John (L,R)    Joy (L,R)    Keith (L,R)    Lucy (O,R)

Ollie Boyd at Alpine Exploratory        Pete Ellis at Alpine Exploratory        Rachel Law at Alpine Exploratory        Rob Gale at Alpine Exploratory        Simon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory        Stewart MacKenzie at Alpine Exploratory        Suze Connolly at Alpine Exploratory        Tim Ayriss at Alpine Exploratory
Ollie (O,R)    Pete (L,R)    Rachel (O,R)    Rob (L,R)    Simon (F,O,R)    Stewart (R)    Suze (O,R)    Tim (L,R)

Founder (F) Organising (O) Leading (L) Recces (R)


Ailsa Gibson
Ailsa on LinkedIn

Ailsa is an environmentalist and an experienced walker and skier, with trips to Iceland, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Slovenia as well as plenty in the Lake District and the Highlands.

Ailsa's environmental experience covers the fields of planning, conservation, local environmental quality and climate change. Ailsa spent a summer on the Isle of Skye while researching deer and forestry management for the John Muir Trust.

Plans for Summer 2017
Ailsa will be back in the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Alps - more details to come.
In the pipeline







Ailsa Gibson
Ailsa Gibson



Allan Gibbs
Allan on LinkedIn

Allan is a trek leader, having led trips to Alaska, Bolivia, India, Peru, Morocco, Nepal and of course the Alps. Allan was head teacher of a school and deputy head of an outdoor centre before turning his efforts full-time to expeditions and training.

Like all our leaders, Allan is an International Mountain Leader (in BAIML). Allan is also an Accredited Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (APIOL). He teaches outdoor First Aid and is a member of the Longtown Mountain Rescue Team, both in South Wales.

Plans for Summer 2017
Allan will open our Tour du Mont Blanc (Guided) season in July, combining recces and first guided trip. Please join Allan on the TMB and benefit from his engaging company and phenomenal experience in the mountains. Earlier in 2017 Allan will be in New Zealand.
In the pipeline







Allan Gibbs
Allan Gibbs



Anna-Maria Luton
Anna-Maria on LinkedIn

Anna-Maria is one of our route checkers. She is a keen walker and cyclist and has discovered the delights of multi-day hill-walking and mountaineering.

In 2007 Anna-Maria took 3 months off to bag Munros, the highest peaks in Scotland, starting with Ben Lomond (the most southerly) and finishing with Ben Hope (the most northerly). Before long she found herself chasing 4,000m peaks in the Swiss Alps. Anna-Maria has a keen interest in the specific challenges that women face in outdoor pursuits and in sporting endeavours in general.

Plans for Summer 2017
Anna-Maria's travels become more extensive as part of hers and Chris's time in Mallorca, Spain. Watch here for updates on recces and more!
In the pipeline







Anna-Maria Luton
Anna-Maria Luton



Chrissie Hickling

Chrissie is a seasoned traveller who has lived in Australia and spent much time in South Africa.

Chrissie deals with many of our accommodation bookings in the Alps and the UK, plus the other tasks involved in running our trips. She is a familiar voice (in French too) to our hotels and B&Bs.

Plans for Summer 2017
Chrissie will be contributing to 2017's exploration in the Alps - more details to come - as well as planning more extensive travels!
In the pipeline







Chrissie Hickling
Chrissie Hickling



John Nolan

John has had a varied career having been head of an outdoor centre and a maths teacher. He still teaches maths privately as well as for an independent school in Birmingham. However as soon as summer arrives, he heads for the mountains, usually the Alps. He has led many walking and trekking holidays in France, Switzerland and Austria.

John has a passion for nature and for understanding the people and landscape that he walks through; geology, trees and flowers through to culture, language and history, not to mention being a qualified wine taster!

John is a qualified International Mountain Leader and a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML).

Plans for Summer 2017
John joined Alpine Exploratory to lead a Walker's Haute Route trip and will be back in the Alps in 2017 - more details to come.
In the pipeline







John Nolan
John Nolan



Joy O'Flanagan
Joy on LinkedIn

Joy is an International Mountain Leader (member of BAIML) based in the French Alps. Originally a Chartered Physiotherapist in the UK, the pull of the mountains was too strong and in 2002 Joy relocated to Chamonix.

As well as hiking and snowshoeing, Joy is a keen climber, runner and skier. Joy has trekked and climbed across the Alps and also in North America, Pakistan and the Indian Himalaya. More recently, Joy successfully competed in The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, the Chamonix marathon, and mountain marathons in the UK & France.

Plans for Summer 2017
Please join Joy as she opens our Alta Via 1 (Guided) season in July after leading our recces there. Joy will also be instrumental in our Tour du Mont Blanc and Walker's Haute Route research as every year. Joy's trips are a pleasure as she shares her love of the mountains and natural environment. This Winter, Joy is based in Norway to lead cross-country skiing.
In the pipeline







Joy O'Flanagan
Joy O'Flanagan



Keith Miller
Keith on LinkedIn

Keith is a hugely experienced mountaineer and environmentalist, and a member of (BAIML). In winter, Keith lives in the Highlands and compiles avalanche reports for the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS), as well as teaching winter hill walking skills.

In summer, Keith lives in the Lake District and combines environmental surveys with trek leading and navigation instruction. Keith is a contributor to the key book on the Scottish mountain environment, Hostile Habitats, carries out plant surveys for the Lake District National Park Authority, Natural England and other bodies, teaches about the environment on Summer Training courses for the IML award, and was Senior Conservationist at the John Muir Trust. Keith has ascended all of the Munros in Scotland and was a member of the Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team in the Lakes. He is always alert in the hills!

Plans for Summer 2017
Keith will be leading our Walker's Haute Route (Guided) kick-off in July, combining recces with the first guided trek. Keith starts 2017 in Scotland with a full Winter season, working on the SAIS avalanche reports at Nevis Range, as well as Bavaria. Please join Keith for superb company on trek and for inspiration about the mountains and their flora and fauna.
In the pipeline







Keith Miller
Keith Miller



Lucy Rushton
Lucy on LinkedIn

Lucy is a person who loves the outdoors, whether farming, walking or skiing. Lucy joins us in the office and on the trails.

A geographer by training, Lucy is in contact with our hotels, huts and B&Bs as we plan our trips and plan ahead for future routes.

Plans for Summer 2017
Lucy has already been back to the ski chalet in Val d'Isere, France, that she ran in 2015 - but only for a holiday! In Summer, Lucy will be taking a family group to the Tour du Mont Blanc and taking part in our ongoing exploration of the Alpine Pass Route, Switzerland.
In the pipeline







Lucy Rushton
Lucy Rushton



Ollie Boyd

Ollie joined us in Edinburgh and has brought to the team his love of travel. A graduate in sound engineering, Ollie has worked on projects including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Ollie has become a familiar contact by phone and email with our enquirers and hotels, immersing himself in Alpine Exploratory's operations during Summer 2015.

Plans for Summer 2017
Ollie is recently back from a month in Australia and will be in the Alps this Summer as part of our explorations.. the Exploratory system.. with more details to come.
In the pipeline







Ollie Boyd
Ollie Boyd



Pete Ellis

Pete took to the hills in earnest in 1999 after 15 years in agricultural biotechnology, soon qualifying to be a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML).

Most summers Pete can be found working in the French Alps and he has become an expert in the region around Les Contamines, a village on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Outside the summer, Scotland is a favourite destination - Pete has climbed all 283 Munros, the highest Scottish peaks - or Tenerife for a dose of winter sunshine.

In May 2012 Pete climbed Everest! We are thrilled at Pete's achievement, especially as it completed the Seven Summits; the highest peaks in each continent.

Plans for Summer 2017
Pete is heading to Switerland to recce the new Alpine Pass Route plus explorations in Austria including the Zillertal. In Spring, Pete will spend time on the West Highland Way and join our Tour du Mont Blanc (Guided) programme. Please join Pete on his superb treks.
In the pipeline







Pete Ellis
Pete Ellis



Rachel Law

Rachel is currently in her 4th year of studying Medical Sciences at Edinburgh University. She joined the team in summer 2017, and will be joining us again throughout the 2018 season. Having grown up on a farm in the Scottish Borders, she is used to spending her free time outside, and hopes to explore more of the Alps (and beyond) in the coming years.

Plans for Summer 2018
Rachel will take part in our recce program during Summer 2018.
In the pipeline







Rachel Law
Rachel Law



Rob Gale

Rob holds the International Mountain Leader award and is a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML). In Europe, Robís huge experience includes France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Romania, and in the USA his travels have taken him to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada and into Montana including many 14,000í peaks. Rob also holds the Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician award.

Rob is based in Skipton in North Yorkshire and in Chamonix in France. Rob works for a variety of organisations delivering training and development on professional and degree courses.

Plans for Summer 2017
Rob first joined us to lead on our private guided Tour du Mont Blanc programme and in 2017 will contribute to the TMB and Walker's Haute Route (Guided) - more details to come. Trekkers love Rob's easy humour and sense of fun.. please join up!
In the pipeline







Rob Gale
Rob Gale



Simon Stevens
Simon on LinkedIn

Introduction
A first climb up Coniston Old Man in the Lake District kicked off an enthusiasm that has led to countless trips in the UK and the Alps.

Short biography
Simon was an economist in London until 2005, when it became time to start a mountain life proper! Simon worked at an economic consultancy on development bank projects.
BSc Philosophy and Economics, Bristol University (1999)

Favourite trek?
Adlerweg For Austrian life in the valleys.

Favourite Alpine city?
Vienna Centre of its universe and excellent coffee!

Plans for Summer 2017
Simon will be in Switzerland in June and September to complete our Alpine Pass Route coverage. This leaves July and August for special new adventures to be revealed! Simon also plans to visit the Zillertal to complete our high circuit.
In the pipeline







Simon Stevens
Simon Stevens



Stewart MacKenzie

Stewart has spent a lifetime walking, climbing, skiing and running in the mountains of Europe, and is a leader for our guided trips. Mountain activities are now a full-time occupation after a 30-year career in banking which included time living in Spain and Germany.

Stewart has completed a ski-mountaineering traverse of the Alps from Austria to the Mediterranean. He is a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML), a teacher of mountain navigation, and was a member of the Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team in the Lake District.

Plans for Summer 2017
Stewart is traveling extensively and will be back in the Alps - more details to come.
In the pipeline







Stewart MacKenzie
Stewart MacKenzie



Suzanne Connolly
Suzanne on LinkedIn

Suze completed her PhD in early 2016 and joined Alpine Exploratory in our Edinburgh office.

Suze lived in New York state for several years, with Ithaca College and Cornell University in the fields of public health and exercise science. Suze's travels have involved working in Seoul and Dubai.

Plans for Summer 2017
Suze will be exploring widely again in 2017 - more details to come!
In the pipeline







Suze Connolly
Suzanne Connolly



Tim Ayriss
Tim on LinkedIn

Tim is originally from Calgary, Canada, and now lives in Scotland. Tim has a specialism in the Austrian Alps, working with the Austrian Alpine Club (AAC), and back home with youth groups in the hills of Scotland. Away from trekking, Tim is a proficient skier.

Tim holds the International Mountain Leader award and is a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML).

Plans for Summer 2017
Tim will be back in the Alps on our Adlerweg (Guided) and Tour du Mont Blanc (Guided) programmes. Please join Tim for his warm company and rich experience of the Alps.
In the pipeline







Tim Ayriss
Tim Ayriss



Buster

We remember Buster the collie-cross, with Alpine Exploratory from July 2006 to October 2016. One of Buster's joys was to walk, to be on the move with his pack. Then in the evening to be on the floor when everyone was sitting around... possibly with a fire going. Buster was the inspiration and impetus behind our first explorations on UK routes, with a dog's experience in mind. How was the trail, how were the hotels?!







Buster
Buster



The IML award

The IML is the professional qualification for leading trekking and mountain walking groups worldwide. When Alpine Exploratory began, we decided that all our guided holidays would have an IML as a leader.

The UIMLA logo


The IML

An International Mountain Leader (IML) is qualified to lead treks in the Alps.

The IML award

The IML is one of two main internationally recognised mountaineering awards, the other being the UIAGM Guide. In the UK the IML holders are represented by the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML). Until early 2005 the IML was known as the European ML in the UK and the Accompagnateur in France.

The trend in the walking and trekking industry is towards leaders having qualifications, principally the IML award. However, the majority of walking holiday companies have traditionally used amateur leaders typically with no mountaineering qualifications. Alpine Exploratory's approach of using only IMLs ensures for our clients the highest standards in leadership, safety and environmental awareness.


Guided and Self-Guided Holidays - see them all



Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.
About us