(About us) On Calton Hill, Edinburgh

The Alpine Exploratory Team


We present the Alpine Exploratory team. We are hiring!

Allan Gibbs at Alpine Exploratory
Allan Gibbs

Leading, Recces
Joy O'Flanagan at Alpine Exploratory
Joy O'Flanagan

Leading, Recces
Kathy Grindrod at Alpine Exploratory
Kathy Grindrod

Leading, Recces

Keith Miller at Alpine Exploratory
Keith Miller

Leading, Recces
Lucy Rushton at Alpine Exploratory
Lucy Rushton

Organising, Recces
Ollie Boyd at Alpine Exploratory
Ollie Boyd

Organising, Recces
Pete Ellis at Alpine Exploratory
Pete Ellis

Leading, Recces
Rachel Law at Alpine Exploratory
Rachel Law

Organising, Recces
Rob Gale at Alpine Exploratory
Rob Gale

Leading, Recces

Simon Stevens at Alpine Exploratory
Simon Stevens

Organising, Recces
Steph Ward at Alpine Exploratory
Steph Ward

Organising, Recces
Tim Ayriss at Alpine Exploratory
Tim Ayriss

Leading, Recces



Ailsa Gibson

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

Short biography
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 2018
Ailsa will be back in the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Alps - more details to come.

Ailsa on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Ailsa Gibson
Ailsa Gibson

MA Geography, University of Oxford
MSc Environmental Technology, Imperial College London


Allan Gibbs

Introduction
A visit to Snowdonia as a young child, and an early ascent of Snowdon, has led to a lifetime of mountains.

Short biography
Allan was a headteacher of a rural school, followed by the deputy headship of an Outdoor Education Centre. During all of this he was a member of a Mountain Rescue Team and has led treks and expeditions world wide - from the Arctic to Everest.

Plans for Summer 2018
Allan will open our Adlerweg season in June and July, combining our 2018 recce and our first guided trip. Please join Allan later in Summer on the Walker's Haute Route.

Recces 2018





Allan Gibbs
Allan Gibbs

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Anna-Maria Luton

Introduction
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.

Short biography
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 2018
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!

Anna-Maria on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Anna-Maria Luton
Anna-Maria Luton

MA Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge


Chrissie Hickling

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

Short biography
Chrissie joined Alpine Exploratory in 2010 on our move to Settle, becoming the company's first employee and working throughout university. 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 to our hotels and B&Bs.

Plans for Summer 2018
Chrissie will be contributing to 2018's explorations as well as her own extensive travels. So far in 2018 Chrissie has made an overland trip in Africa, traveled in South America and has trekked to Everest Base Camp!

Recces 2018





Chrissie Hickling
Chrissie Hickling

BSc Zoology, University of Sheffield
MSc Biodiversity and Conservation Management, University of Leeds
Graduate Diploma in Law, University of Law
Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, University of Law


Joy O'Flanagan

Introduction
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.

Short biography
Originally a Chartered Physiotherapist in the UK, the pull of the mountains was too strong and in 2002 Joy relocated to Chamonix. Joy has spent recent Winters at the Venabu lodge in Norway, leading cross-country skiing. Joy has successfully competed in The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, the Chamonix marathon, and mountain marathons in the UK and France.

Plans for Summer 2018
Joy is leading our recces on the West Highland Way, Great Glen Way and Lake District Circuit routes. Joy will also be looking at new routes in the Rondane national park of Norway, later in Summer. Joy's trips are a pleasure as she shares her love of the mountains and natural environment.

Joy on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Joy O'Flanagan
Joy O'Flanagan

BSc Chemical Pathology, University of Leeds
BSc Physiotherapy, University of Manchester
International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Kathy Grindrod

Introduction
Kathy is from the Lake District and developed an early love of the mountains. Kathy has made several trips to the Himalayas, mainly guiding treks to Everest Base Camp. Kathy's first trip to Nepal was in 2005 when she summited Ama Dablam, the beautiful 6,856m climbing peak.

Short biography
Kathy spends the Winters in the Scottish Highlands, working on the Cairngorms avalanche reports for the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS).

Plans for Summer 2018
Kathy will lead a Tour du Mont Blanc trek and then the Alta Via 1 with a private group.

Recces 2018





Kathy Grindrod
Kathy Grindrod

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Keith Miller

Introduction
Keith is a hugely experienced mountaineer and environmentalist. 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.

Short biography
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.

Plans for Summer 2018
Keith will be leading our Walker's Haute Route research in July as well as a guided Tour du Mont Blanc. Keith starts 2018 in Scotland with a full Winter season, working on the SAIS avalanche reports at Nevis Range. Please join Keith for superb company on trek and for inspiration about the mountains and their flora and fauna.

Keith on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Keith Miller
Keith Miller

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Lucy Rushton

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

Short biography
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 2018
Lucy is making one of the many Alpine Exploratory trips to the Jotunheimen in this our first year in Norway. Later in Summer, Lucy will check out the Julian Alps in Slovenia.

Recces 2018





Lucy Rushton
Lucy Rushton

BSc Geography, University of Edinburgh


Ollie Boyd

Introduction
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.

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

Plans for Summer 2018
Ollie will be back in Norway this Summer to explore new areas, having been instrumental in setting up our Jotunheimen Tour last year. Ollie is a natural traveler and will be back in Australia later in the year.

Recces 2018





Ollie Boyd
Ollie Boyd

BSc Sound Engineering, University of the Highlands & Islands


Pete Ellis

Introduction
Most summers Pete can be found working in the European 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 282 Munros twice, the highest Scottish peaks - or trips to mountains anywhere around the world if the itinerary looks appealing!

Short biography
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. Earlier, in 1999 Pete took to the hills in earnest after 15 years working in agricultural biotechnology. This included living in Canada.

Plans for Summer 2018
Pete is heading back to Switzerland to complete his coverage of the Alpine Pass Route. Later in Summer please join Pete on a guided Walker's Haute Route. Pete will also be helping to set up our Jotunheimen Tour in Norway as well as a longer recce in a new area to us, the Rondane.

Recces 2018





Pete Ellis
Pete Ellis

BSc Soil Science, University of Reading
International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Rachel Law

Introduction
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.

Short biography
Having grown up on a farm in the Scottish Borders, Rachel is used to spending her free time outside, and is exploring more of the Alps (and beyond).

Plans for Summer 2018
Rachel will walk the Tour du Mont Blanc North as part of our recce program during Summer 2018.

Recces 2018





Rachel Law
Rachel Law

BSc Medical Sciences, University of Edinburgh


Rob Gale

Introduction
Rob's experience in European mountains 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 14,000 peaks.

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

Plans for Summer 2018
Rob will be setting up our Alta Via 1 programme for 2018 and will contribute to the Tour du Mont Blanc later in the season. Trekkers love Rob's easy humour and sense of fun.. please join up!

Recces 2018





Rob Gale
Rob Gale

BA Recreational Studies, University of Bradford
PGCE Physical Education, Bedford College
International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Simon Stevens

Introduction
Simon's first mountain was Coniston Old Man in the Lake District. This kicked off an enthusiasm that has led to countless trips in the UK and the Alps, many with the Oxford University Walking Club.

Short biography
Simon was an economist with Economic Consulting Associates in London working on development bank projects. In 2005 it became time to start a mountain life proper: several months of traveling led to setting up Alpine Exploratory.

Plans for Summer 2018
Simon will be in Switzerland in June to add some sections to our Alpine Pass Route coverage. This leaves July and August for Norway: we continue to establish routes in the Jotunheimen and we will try new areas to add to our Norwegian options.

Simon on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Simon Stevens
Simon Stevens

BSc Philosophy and Economics, University of Bristol


Steph Ward

Introduction
Steph joins Alpine Exploratory with an extensive background of walking, like many of the team solidly into the Munros in the Scottish Highlands. Steph was Social Secretary for the Edinburgh University Hill-Walking Club.

Short biography
After university Steph spent 14 months in New Zealand, working and traveling on the South Island, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia.

Plans for Summer 2018
Steph will contribute to our Tour du Mont Blanc and Alta Via 1 programs in Summer 2018.

Recces 2018





Steph Ward
Steph Ward

MA History, University of Edinburgh


Suze Connolly

Introduction
Suze completed her PhD in early 2016 and joined Alpine Exploratory in our Edinburgh office. Suze brings to the team a depth of travel experience and a perceptiveness that help refine our routes and plan new ones.

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

Plans for Summer 2018
Suze will be trekking our new Jotunheimen Tour in Norway as part of our setting-up of this exciting new route.

Suzanne on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Suze Connolly
Suzanne Connolly

BA Recreation and Leisure Management, Waterford Institute of Technology
MS Exercise Science & Exercise Physiology, Ithaca College
PhD Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh


Tim Ayriss

Introduction
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.

Short biography
Tim is originally from Calgary, Canada, more recently living in Scotland. With his young family he will move to the German Alpine region this year.

Plans for Summer 2018
Tim will be back in the Alps on our Walker's Haute Route and Tour du Mont Blanc programmes. Please join Tim for his warm company and love of Alpine coffee breaks!

Tim on LinkedIn
Recces 2018





Tim Ayriss
Tim Ayriss

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


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