Category Archives: Inspiration

Secrets of Success – Commitment to the Plan

Getting a group of individuals to buy into an audacious plan requires commitment. You can have all the skill and talent in the world, but if people’s hearts are not in it, the chances of success fall away. Just as […]

Fontainebleau – what the forest teaches?

Fontainebleau – what the forest teaches?
Every time I return from a bouldering trip to the forest of Fontainebleau, I feel like I am a better climber. Physical strength is important in climbing as is the mental side, but ‘Font’ seems to demand other elements too, elements that as climbers we often underestimate.

A Lesson for Leaders: The Power of Thinking with a Beginner’s Mind.

Why is saying ‘I don’t know’ so hard to do in business? Perhaps we want to be seen as experts rather than people who are continually learning. Levitt and Dubner note in Freakonomics that this is one of the most destructive forces in business.

I am a professional mountaineer and mountain guide. As a leader on skis or in crampons, I feel at home. I think I am good at getting the best out of my team in this mountain environment. After 30 years plus, I already know a lot: I’ve done my 10,000 hours and some.

The Art of Speaking – Part 2

Who Cares? When delivering a speech, just remember that because you’re the boss or someone of note, doesn’t mean people will sit up and listen. When preparing a presentation, a good starting point is to ask: ‘Why should anyone care […]

Paradise Regained: Deep Water Soloing in Mallorca

I have just returned from a Deep Water Soloing trip to Mallorca. The idea is that you climb the wonderful limestone cliffs, up to 15 metres high, without ropes and the sea is your safety net. It seemed de riguer to fall or jump in each day, just to get used to it. I must admit, I spent the first couple of days not falling in. It just seemed wrong!

5 Valuable things climbing on gritstone taught me!

I gave a speech at the Royal Geographical Society in London last month and I started by saying how the foundation of my climbing began on gritstone.

I always feel lucky that I learnt to climb on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire and Yorkshire. There is no better place to test yourself as a leader. People can be disparaging about the modest height of Stanage or Froggat Edge (20 metres or so, max) , but ironically that is what makes them so serious. On relatively small cliffs the ground is always close by, meaning even a short fall could end by smashing into the ground. And the ground beneath gritstone cliffs is not kind and often littered with sharp boulders.

The art of speaking and the ‘right to roam’.

After giving so many motivation speeches ‘indoors’ on teamwork and leadership at corporate events, it was a real treat to get to speak ‘outdoors’ recently. The Peak District National Park held an event to mark the 10th anniversary of CRoW. The Countryside Rights of Way Act has significantly increased open access in England for all. In The Peak District alone, On September 19th 2004, the public’s right of access grew from 240 sq km to more than 500 sq km, opening up a new world to be explored inside Britain’s first national park.

Naranjo de Bulnes; third time lucky.

The great tower of El Naranjo de Bulnes in the Picos d’Europa is one of the most famous mountains in Spain. Ever since seeing a photo of it as a teenager I wanted to climb it. However, for one reason and another, it would take me many years to succeed and teach me a few things along the way.

I first tried to climb Naranjo de Bulnes 20 years ago, alone and in winter, approaching on skis. I was working in Spain and I had a couple of days free. The weather was so bad I never made it to the base of the mountain and I had to take refuge in a shepherd’s hut overnight. I left without even seeing the peak.

Secret Switzerland – Top 5 Mountain Gems

One of the perks of working as a mountain guide – being the leader of groups – is the opportunity to explore off the beaten track. Over the years I have discovered some real Swiss gems, venues rarely crowded. Here are five of my favourites.

Exploring the Cordillera Darwin – Tierra del Fuego

In September 2013, Simon Yates and I set off to explore new routes in the mountains of the Cordillera Darwin in Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America. We would be the only people climbing in a mountain range as long as the Alps: the only access is by boat. On the map there are a few red lines denoting previous explorers’ routes. Most of the map is blank, totally unexplored – a rare thing in today’s world.