About me …
I’m originally from North Wales. I was very nervous as a young person, and so I joined the scouting movement, and that led me to deciding to travel and started climbing mountains.
I originally moved to U.S. to skydive, and I traveled around the country, and finally stopped Denver about 14 years ago.
Finding a love of climbing
From Colorado, my interesting in climbing really took off - I was all about more mountaineering, ice climbing, and every other kind. I tried doing several different kinds of mountains, some high altitude, and others more technical.
I was working a job I wasn’t happy with, and so I decided to become a mountain expedition leader.
The big thing is training your mind. I would go to Rocky Mountain National Park to get used to the wind and cold conditions. I’m also part of the alpine search and rescue team.
I bring the Welsh flag with me when I go, because not many people know about Wales, and I want to give the country some exposure. My family and friends there and here really supported me, and my parents in particular have been great about saying you can do whatever you want to do.
Conquering the Seven Summits
The first one I did was Kilimanjaro in 2001. The summits require really different abilities, so between climbing them and other mountains, I was able to get the training and technical abilities I needed.
Everest is obviously going to be the big one, because that’s the mountain you’ve always looked up toward, and there’s all this pressure to stay healthy the whole time you’re there. I figured as long as my body was willing and able, I was going to continue no matter what.
It’s different as a guide — I did some of the summits on my own, but when I do that, I’m very much concentrating on me. But as a leader, it’s not about me, but the clients. You have to think about things like food, making sure they have the right gear, and learning about their personalities very quickly. It’s up to both of us together to determine if they’re able to keep going or not. I like building a team - we’re getting together to help each other and work as a team.
What I love about mountaineering
For me, it’s about the whole experience — the top is nice, but you can gain a whole lot from mountaineering without the summit. You need a lot of determination in this life, and it doesn’t have to be climbing and mountaineering. You can do anything; you just need to put in the time and effort in.
It’s me experiencing the mountain — I can challenge myself. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what else is going on in the rest of the world - you just feel at peace out there.
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