Looking forward to 2012

4th Jan 2012

I started Peak Mountaineering because I wanted to share my love of the mountains with as many people as possible.  Since my first scrabbly climb up a damp and loose gritstone quarry wall all those years ago I’ve been hooked on this crazy vertical adventure and climbing and mountaineering has been the primary focus of my life ever since.  I still love my own adventures as much as ever but nowadays I also get just as much of a buzz from developing that passion in others.

Of course I have to spend some of my time in meetings, developing new business or slaving over the keyboard in the office, but I really judge the success of each business year on how many days I’ve been able to spend in the mountains.  In 2011 we worked with more people than ever and I’m pleased to say I think I got the indoor/outdoor balance about right.  From the mountains of Bolivia to some life affirming days on the grit.  From biking beautiful singletrack in Spain to some quality winter climbing on Ben Nevis – 2011 has been a brilliant year and my heartfelt thanks to the many clients that have shared the journey.

But of course 2011 will soon be history and so a major focus over the last few months has also been preparing for a productive new year.  There’s no doubt 2012 is going to be Peak Mountaineering’s busiest year so far and I’m particularly proud to say there’s a wider range of adventures available than ever before too.

The first part of the year will be our busy winter period.  We have our usual extensive compliment of courses combined with the ongoing popularity of private bookings.  Almost all our winter courses are fully booked and the season is going to be hectic – but a lot of fun.  I made my first visit to the Scottish mountains back in 1987 and I’ve been back every year since (apart from when I was living abroad).  I never fail to find new challenges, new areas to explore and new skills to learn.  It’s an amazing and unique place.

In the spring we’ll have our full range of scheduled courses but we are also very excited to be joining forces with Visit Peak District to deliver lots of activities at the Peak District Walking Festival (it’s called a walking festival but there’s a lot more going on than that!).  As proud Peak District National Park residents it seemed only right to be involved in this magnificent event and our priority has been to provide very competitive pricing to get as many people involved as possible.  Please join us if you can (details will be on our website early in the new year as soon as they are officially released by the Visit Peak District team).

It’s been great to work with premier outdoor website Outdoors Magic during 2011 to deliver a number of adventure prizes for the competitions they’ve run in conjunction with Keen footwear.  We’ve contributed a number of articles to Outdoors Magic over the years and have also been long time fans of Keen products and I’m delighted we can continue this collaboration in 2012 when we’ll be working with Keen and Respect the Mountains to deliver the UK’s very first Enviro Trek.  This unique event involves volunteers cleaning up wilderness areas in the morning then enjoying a range of outdoor activities in the afternoon.  Peak Mountaineering has a long history of actively protecting wilderness areas so we are delighted to be able to help with this.  Discussions on the details are ongoing but you’ll certainly be hearing a lot more about Enviro Trek in the coming months (and everyone is welcome to attend).

Our reputation as a provider of high quality mountaineering expeditions also continues to grow.  In 2012 we are focussing on the Indian Himalaya and North Africa’s Atlas mountains.  We have 2 trips departing to Stok Kangri (a jewel of a 6000 metre peak in Ladakh) and 2 trips heading for Jebel Toubkal in Morocco (North Africa’s highest mountain).  Full details are on the website.  Of course 25 years of expeditioning have given us plenty of experience in many other mountain areas – if you want us to put together an itinerary for your establishment or you have a group of friends looking for an adventure we’d look to help.

I’ve always seen Peak Mountaineering as an outdoor resource as much as a business.  There’s nothing we love more than advising people on the right course or helping them choose that new gadget.  One of the ways I’ve always done this is through writing advice articles and this year we’ve been happy to see them published in a range of magazines and online sources (BMC’s Summit, UKHillwalking and UKClimbing, Mountain Rescue Magazine, AMI News, Adventure Eyes, RockClimbingUK and even my personal climbing clubs Mynydd Climbing Club Journal).  I’m always looking for new things to write about (I’ve just finished articles on trekking in the Khumbu region and choosing a headtorch, for example) so get in touch if you have an idea. 

I’ve been proud to be able to offer technical advice to a number of companies and educational establishments for many years and loved working with a number of prestigious organisations in 2011.  This will continue in 2012 and we will again be providing courses for the British Mountaineering Council and Air Training Corps. 

Of course all our usual courses will continue in 2012.  First aid courses, NGB qualifications, a host of personal development courses in, for example, navigation, climbing, scrambling and mountain biking, corporate events and just about anything else you could want – they are all there (and if we don’t offer what you need just let us know and we’ll see what we can do).  The new year promises to be a fantastic celebration of mountain adventure and I know we’ll be seeing a lot of familiar faces - but I’ll also really look forward to welcoming loads of new clients onto our courses too.  See you in the mountains.