WRITTEN by ANNE ENSOLL & PHIL BROWN
In this series we’re talking to some of our clients, to find out the reasons behind the decision to hire a Mountain Guide. You can catch up with the previous posts here:
Who Needs A Mountain Guide? #1 Wendy Dodds, Athlete and Mountaineer
Who Needs A Mountain Guide? #2 Tricia Gill, Teacher and Skier
Who Needs A Mountain Guide? #3 Rob Holden, Exploration Geologist and Outdoor Enthusiast
Who Needs A Mountain Guide? #4 John Martin, Treasury Manager and Family Outdoor Enthusiast
Phil Brown is a police officer in the north of England. We first met him in May 2018 when he booked a couple of days with Chris, and since then he has become a regular client. He is currently taking part in our mentoring trial.
Do you have any memories of adventures in the outdoors as a child or teenager?
As a child my father took my brother and I into the hills of Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the Lake District on a Sunday. We did all of the well known walks and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole fresh air experience. At secondary school I was lucky enough to go on school ski holidays in the Alps once a year which gave me even more of an appetite for the outdoors.
What do you remember about your outdoor adventures when you started doing them independently?
My first independent outdoor adventures were as a teenager walking in the Lake District with friends. My friend was, and still is, a great planner of routes, so we would set out with great anticipation once a month on a Sunday having driven over from the North East. We were generally lost within 100 yards but we had great times finding our way and fortunately not getting into too much trouble. Saying that, one of our walks resulted in a run, bus ride and taxi just to get back to the car. Sunday service in the 1990’s on public transport wasn’t great.
I’ve been fortunate enough to holiday in the Alps, the American Rockies, and I’ve climbed a mountain called the Spitzkoppe in Namibia. The Spitzkoppe really was a full on day, steep, exposed, super hot and extremely remote. I was glad to get down in one piece!!!!
When did you first think about hiring a Mountain Guide?
Having been to the Alps a couple of times with my friend who was a lot more experienced than myself, I decided I needed to take more responsibility and upskill. Although my friend never mentioned it, I knew my lack of knowledge was holding us back. The ability to be able to move together safely, build belays, abseil safely etc etc were things I needed to be efficient and well drilled in.
Chris was recommended to me by a climbing instructor after I had explained my requirements to him, and I booked two days Alpine Preparation with Chris in May 2018. We covered so much in two days that my head was spinning but in a very good way. The training gave me confidence in my own ability and hugely enhanced my skills. I asked Chris endless questions and he answered them all in great detail. I can only imagine he had to lie down in a dark room at the end of the second day.
In June 2018 I put all of my recently acquired skills into good use climbing the Aiguille des Crochues traverse, the Aiguille d’Entrèves traverse and Mont Blanc in a 7 day trip.
Will I you be hiring a Mountain Guide again?
Yes is the answer to this question. I’ve been out with Chris in the mountains on a number of occasions since first hiring him and I can highly recommend him. Chris’s Masterclasses are a great way of learning new skills, as well as one to one instruction. The day is always dictated by the client’s needs and his movement coaching makes a massive difference even to the way you walk.