(About us) On Calton Hill, Edinburgh

The Alpine Exploratory Team


We present the Alpine Exploratory team. We are hiring!


Hannah Wright at Alpine Exploratory
Hannah Wright

Organising, 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
Phil Jarratt at Alpine Exploratory
Phil Jarratt

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

In Alpine Exploratory's Edinburgh office are Lucy, Ollie, Steph, Hannah and Simon. Working from Aberdeen is Rachel and together the six of us are your contacts for your 2019 trek.



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 2019
Ailsa will be back in the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Alps.

Ailsa on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





Ailsa Gibson
Ailsa Gibson

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


Alex Kendall

Introduction
Alex is a mountain leader and author who lives in the Yorkshire Dales, where he can mostly be found running and mountaineering in the Howgills and the Lake District.

Short biography
Alex has worked in the outdoors since 2011, travelling all over the world on expeditions as varied as mountaineering in the Arctic, trekking across the Oman desert and working in the Borneo rainforest. He loves to explore new places and is generally up for trying everything once. He has written guidebooks for Cicerone Press, and various magazine articles on outdoor topics.

Plans for Summer 2019
Alex will lead part of our Alta Via 1 guided programme this Summer.

Recces 2019





Alex Kendall
Alex Kendall

BSc Biology, Imperial College London
MSc Conservation and Forest Protection, Imperial College London
International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


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 2019
Allan will be part of our Alpine Pass Route research in early Summer as we set up for another season in Switzerland.

Recces 2019





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 2019
Anna-Maria's travels become more extensive as part of her move to Spain. Watch for updates on recces and more!

Anna-Maria on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





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 2019
Chrissie is settling in London after a year of extensive travels including overland in Africa, traveling to South America and trekking to Everest Base Camp.

Recces 2019





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


Dieter Van Holder

Introduction
Dieter is an enthusiastic and active guide with extensive experience in most European mountain ranges.

Short biography
Dieter has spent the last couple of years working as a glacier and trekking guide in Iceland and Greenland. He loves sharing what he knows so don't hold back on your questions! Dieter also speaks Dutch, French and German.

Plans for Summer 2019
Dieter leads our Alpine Pass Route Central trip in July; please join him for this superb Swiss route.

Recces 2019





Dieter Van Holder
Dieter Van Holder

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Hannah Wright

Introduction
Hannah joins Alpine Exploratory with a love for anything outdoors, be it walking, mountaineering, climbing, skiing, paddle boarding or just a walk around the park. You'll most likely find her exploring the mountains around Loch Lomond and Glen Coe.

Short biography
Hannah studied Geography at Durham University, specialising in sub-polar glacial environments. Since university she has gone on to complete her Summer Mountain Leader qualification and has lead expeditions to destinations such as Northern Norway, The Indian Himalayas, Mongolia, Sumatra and Malawi.

Plans for Summer 2019
Hannah will be walking part of the West Highland Way in April as part of our 2019 research and also the Northern part of the Tour du Mont Blanc in June.

Recces 2019





Hannah Wright
Hannah Wright

BSc Geography, Durham University


Jonty Mills

Introduction
Jonty is a mountain leader and a medical doctor. Jonty has been hill-walking, climbing, skiing and biking in many areas of the UK for 20 years, including across the Scottish Highlands & Islands, the Lake District and Wales. His overseas experience includes multiple trips to the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Rocky and Coast Mountains of Canada, Corsica, Morocco as well as Mount Kenya.

Short biography
Jonty lives near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. He still practises part-time as a doctor, with interests in Infection as well as Mountain Medicine, but now spends more of his time guiding and instructing in the mountains. When not working, he can usually be found either back in the mountains again, or enjoying family-time at home with his wife and two young sons.

Plans for Summer 2019
Jonty will be part of our season-opening of the Tour du Mont Blanc, leading our first guided trip in July.

Recces 2019





Jonty Mills
Jonty Mills

MA, MB BChir (Medicine), University of Cambridge
International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


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 2019
Now based at Venabu which is on our Lillehammer to Snohetta route, Joy leads our Venabu week and will be looking at various routes in the Rondane and Jotunheimen national parks of Norway.

Joy on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





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 2019
Kathy will lead a West Highland Way trek and then take part in our Tour du Mont Blanc and Walker's Haute Route recces pre-Summer.

Recces 2019





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 2019
Keith will be leading our Adlerweg and Julian Alps research in July as well as a guided Walker's Haute Route in September. Please join Keith for superb company and for inspiration about the mountains and their flora and fauna.

Keith on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





Keith Miller
Keith Miller

International Mountain Leader, UIMLA


Lucy Rushton

Introduction
Lucy joins us in the office and on the trails. Growing up on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales, Lucy has always loved to be in the outdoors and doesn't feel complete without a trip to the mountains in the diary! Along with her black Labrador Poppy she is happiest out for a walk whether that be on the East Lothian coastline or up a hill somewhere.

Short biography
A geographer by training, Lucy has worked for Alpine Exploratory since the company was based in Yorkshire. Lucy is involved with many aspects of the business and primarily deals with clients as they book with us. A keen skiier, Lucy ran a chalet between Tignes and Val d'Isere in 2014/15. Since then she continues to ski much on-piste and off-piste (including in Japan in 2019), with a goal of skiing the Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt in the near future.

Plans for Summer 2019
Lucy is researching a new trip to add to our Alpine portfolio: the Tour of the Vanoise. This will be walked during the Summer and hopefully on offer to clients in 2020.

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 2019
Ollie will be skiing the Kungsleden in Northern Sweden. Back in the Scottish Highlands, Ollie will check out the Great Glen Way and in the Alps the Walker's Haute Route East. Ollie will also be back in Australia later in the year.

Recces 2019





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 2019
Pete is walking the Coast to Coast for our pre-season recce and will also look at the Lake District Circuit and our new Hebridean Way. Pete will also be helping to set up our potential new Swedish trek, the Kungsleden. Later in Summer please join Pete on a guided Tour du Mont Blanc.

Recces 2019





Pete Ellis
Pete Ellis

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


Phil Jarratt

Introduction
Phil Jarratt is a widely experienced mountain leader. Formerly based in Chamonix year-round, now in Oxfordshire, Phil returns to Chamonix in the Winters to lead snowshoe walks.

Short biography
Phil has trekked and been on expedition in Europe, South America, Southern Africa, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, China and Mongolia. Before life in the mountains, Phil spent several years in industry.

Plans for Summer 2019
Phil is heading to Norway to take our Jotunheimen Tour among other recces and trips.

Recces 2019





Phil Jarratt
Phil Jarratt

BSc Chemistry, University of Nottingham
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 2019
Rachel's medical course at Aberdeen will take precedence over summer trekking but watch this space!

Recces 2019





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 14,000ft 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 2019
Rob will be setting up our Alta Via 1 programme for 2019, with the recce and the first guided trip, and will contribute to the Tour du Mont Blanc later in the season. Rob is also covering the Pennine Way for us pre-season. Trekkers love Rob's easy humour and sense of fun.. please join up!

Recces 2019





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 2019
Simon will be looking at a new option in Norway as well as covering shorter sections in Switzerland, Scotland and Sweden.

Simon on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





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 2019
Steph will contribute to our Alpine Pass Route research in early Summer and before that the West Highland Way research.

Recces 2019





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 2019
Suze will be trekking and exploring across Europe; look out for more details.

Suzanne on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





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 2019
Tim will be back in the Alps on our Walker's Haute Route trip in July. Please join Tim for his warm company and love of Alpine coffee breaks!

Tim on LinkedIn
Recces 2019





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 impetus behind our first explorations on UK routes, with a dog's experience in mind. How is the trail, how are the hotels?!





Buster
Buster

Our leaders

We hope you'll meet our 2019 leaders: Keith, Pete, Allan, Joy, Rob, Kathy, Tim and Phil. Our aim is to give clients the best experience on a guided trip with a highly competent and inspiring leader.

The UIMLA logo


Our leaders

We talk about our leaders and our approach to mountain leadership.

Our leaders: IMLs

From the start of Alpine Exploratory in 2005, all our trek leaders have been International Mountain Leaders (IMLs). The IML under the organisation of the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA) is the professional qualification to lead trekking and mountain walking groups worldwide. Supporting the IML award ensures for our clients the highest standards in leadership, safety and environmental awareness.

The IML is one of two mountaineering awards that are recognised internationally, 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.


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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