Big Mountain Expeditions
Our expeditions are very small scale, normally taking place once or twice a year to adventurous mountain locations around the world. I ran my first high altitude expedition to Mera Peak (6400m) and on that occasion we had a 66% success rate on people reaching the summit. For me that wasn’t good enough and I took on board the lessons that I learnt and have achieved a 100% success rate on every trip since including:
100% success on Island Peak, Nepal
100% success on Everest Base Camp and Kala Patar
100% success on Mount Meru
100% success on Kilimanjaro
(100% success means that everyone who set foot on the mountain safely reached the summit and of course walked back down again)
To achieve this level of success I stick to some key points on all expeditions:
* All of our trips have plenty of days for acclimatisation; more days = more success and a lower risk of altitude sickness
* Low Ratios – I have much smaller groups than most commercial operations, for example 1:3 ratio on Island Peak and 1:6 ratio on Kilimanjaro. This ratio is based on UK leaders who hold the highest qualifications and have a proven track record at altitude.
* Hand Picked Teams – I have a higher than average pre-requirement to join each trip. This means that clients are operating well within their technical comfort zones and so will be operating more safely. It also means that I know everyone on the trip and many of the clients know each other – this allows me to balance peoples skills and personalities to make strong teams
* The personal touch – I organise these expeditons myself, assisted by trusted friends who are fellow instructors and leaders. I have a personal interest in making the trip enjoyable, fun and successful!
All of this adds to the price and so most of our trips are more expensive than our competitors, but never by much and to my mind the extra safety and increased chance of success justify a couple of hundred quid on a £2k trip.
I lead the majority of expeditions myself, organise the logistics, accommodation, UK and local staff etc. My business is not set up as a tour operator and so I don’t book flights on clients behalf and I may ask clients to pay for accommodation, food and travel direct to the local suppliers. This avoids me having to hold clients money and take out any form of bond. The advertised prices are normally inclusive of accommodation and food to make your budgeting easier. When you book the trip I will let you know how the payment needs to be organised and keep it as simple as possible for all concerned.
On most expeditons we will hold a pre-expedition training day. This allows you to meet other people joining you on the expedition and to undertake any specialist training such as ascending fixed ropes or eating spicey food!!