Alpine Guiding Team

Our Alpine Guiding Team

We are a friendly, patient bunch of UIAGM guides with a great depth of experience between us, spanning Europe and most of the major mountain ranges in the world. We are Alpinists, icefall experts, trad climbers, Scottish winter enthusiasts and Himalayan expedition veterans – it’s all part of our game and we love it. Many of us also have a teaching or instructional background, which allows us to deliver clear and well structured coaching and skills based courses across the seasons.

Just take a look through our social media and images to see the depth and variety of guiding work we undertake, each and every season. We simply love spending time in the mountains and we hope to share some with you soon.

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Al Powell

Al Powell


Al deals with the company website, facebook and twitter accounts and so is responsible for most of the photo and video content that we produce. He has lived in the mountains his whole life, both parents having been keen Alpinists. In his personal climbing he has concentrated mainly on winter alpinism and expeditions, having climbed several cutting edge new routes around the world during the course of 20 expeditions to the Greater Ranges.

He has also kept up a running career, with highlights including winning the Elite course on both the LAMM and OMM Mountain Marathons and being the first Briton to run the Tour du Mont Blanc in under 24hrs (102ml & 9000m ascent – that hurt!) More recently he has moved back to orienteering, having won the Veteran Home Interntionals for Wales and numerous night orienteering races.

In the winter months he heads up the Alpine Guides ski mountaineering program and in the summer works in the Alps directing trips and courses for Alpine Guides.

The rest of the year, he lives in Yorkshire with his wife Sima and their family, where he writes and maintains the company website, whilst trying to spend as much time running and riding bikes as possible.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
  • Staff member
Rich Cross

Rich Cross


Rich runs the company on a day to day basis, so is well known to everyone as a key point of contact with Alpine Guides. He has been climbing for over 25 years, loving every apsect of the sport from bouldering right through to winter Alpinism, and has travelled the world pursuing his passion for the sport. Earlier in his climbing career he went on many expeditions to the Greater Ranges, which included the first ascent of Ama Dablams NW ridge, for which he was nominated for the Piolet d’Or.

In the winter season Rich specialises in ice fall guiding, Scottish and Norwegian winter climbing, and winter Alpinism. During the summer he loves exploring different regions of the Alps especially if it involves classic alpine rock routes, mixed climbing and north faces – some highlights of his guiding career include the Croz Spur on the North face of the Grand Jorasses, the North face of the Piz Badile, North face of Les Droites, and the West Ridge of the Salbitschen. He also spends each spring and autumn in the UK guiding in the Peak District, Wales, the Lakes, Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, and time on the road bike or personal climbing whenever he can!

Rich lives in Sheffield with his wife Liz and their young boys Sam and Charlie who also love the outdoor life.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Staff member
Mark Chadwick

Mark Chadwick


Mark lives in Aviemore where he spends half of the year working for Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Mountain centre and the rest of the year guiding in the Alps. Mark has worked at both UK national centres and as well as being a UIAGM guide, he is also an MIC, Kayak Coach and Ski Instructor with a wealth of teaching and coaching experience.

Mark loves every aspect of his sport, from the Scottish winter climbing on his home patch, highland rock climbing to summer alpinism and is also a very keen ski tourer with experience across many different areas of the alps.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Gav Pike

Gav Pike


Originally from Manchester, Gav has been based in Chamonix since 2007 – many of Gavin’s early climbing forays were made on the gritstone edges of the Peak District and the sea cliffs of North Wales. Adventures in Scottish winter climbing created an affliction for enjoying icy north faces, a condition that eventually landed him a few years ago in his current home of Chamonix, where he works as an IFMGA Guide.

As well as skiing and climbing, he also enjoys trail running and other mountain sports, his biggest motivation coming from the adventurous aspects of spending time in the mountains. In the off season he climbs in bigger mountains around the world, recent highlights including new-routing trips to Alaska and Nepal. In the future, he looks forward to continuing to ski, climb and guide in the mountains above Chamonix, as well as in some of the more remote regions of the planet.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Lori Lorencic

Lori Lorencic


Winner of the Piolet D’Or in 2007 for his ascent of the NW Face of Chomolhari (7326m) in Tibet with Marko Prezelj, Lori is a world class alpinist and mountain guide.

Based in Maribor Slovenia, where he lives with his family, Lori guides on skis in both the Eastern and Western Alps each winter. A leading exponent of free, alpine style climbing with minimum equipment – Lori has pushed the limits, putting up several new routes in the Himalayas, North America and Patagonia over the last 20 years.

Bringing the same work ethic to his professional guiding as his personal mountaineering, he is diligent and incredibly fit, but also an inspiring teacher and mentor – with an incredible breadth of experience to share.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Stu McAleese

Stu McAleese


Born in Cumbria, Stu began climbing at school on the crags and mountains of the Lake District. He worked for 12 years as a senior instructor at Plas y Brenin in North Wales, which has become his permanent home.

Well known as an extremely strong climber across a wide range of disciplines, Stu has been on many expeditions to places such as Patagonia, Alaska, the Himalaya, Baffin Island and Peru. In 2003 he was nominated for the prestigious Piolet d’Or Award, for the 1st ascent of the ‘Supa Dupa Couloir’ in Alaska. Other major lines include the 21 day 1st ascent of ‘Arctic Monkeys’ on a big wall in Baffin Island and a recent ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia.

As a working guide, Stu divides his time between the UK and the Alps, rock and ice climbing and mountaineering. As a climber, he calls himself as an all rounder – operating in most disciplines of climbing whether it be rock or ice climbing, Big Wall climbing, an expedition to Alaska, North Face climbing or bouldering. Stu has also lectured at the Kendal Mountain Film festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and various climbing and mountaineering events throughout the UK.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
Neil Mackay

Neil Mackay


Neil is a full member of the British Mountain Guides association and is part of the first ever father & son British guiding family. He’s spent his whole life in the mountains, skiing and climbing with his father Mac in the Alps, Himalaya and the UK.

In the winter months Neil specialises in ski guiding in the European Alps and further afield, where he has a good knowledge of the major venues in the Western Alps in particular. Neil is a very talented skier! In the summer he guides full time from his base in Chamonix.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Mark Walker

Mark Walker


Mark is a super enthusiastic guide (and in life generally!) who succesfully blends two very contrasting roles into his professional life. In the Alps, he works on skis in the winter and does climbing work in the summer – whereas in the UK, he works as Mountain Training England’s Development Officer.

In his own words, Mark likes nothing more than “hanging out in remote environments with folk, enjoying good skiing and climbing and good hut banter.”

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Klemen Gricar

Klemen Gricar


It’s no understatement to say the Klemen is a bit of a legend – a Slovenian IFMGA Mountain Guide based in the Julian Alps, he works extensively in the Western Alps with English speaking clients both summer and winter. President of the Slovenian Mountain Guides Association from 2009-2013, he is also head of the National Mountain Rescue Team.

Unbelievably fit (he guides about 150 days a year) and a consumate professional, he always takes great care of his team and makes sure that everyone is able to make the most of their time in the mountains. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his 2 children and also travels regularly and indulges his passion for mountain photography.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Paul Swail

Paul Swail


Paul is one of the few Mountain Guides to come out of Ireland and his main motivation is to get out there!!  He not only aspires to experience fantastic adventures and progress his own skills, he also has a deep passion for developing climbing at a grass roots level. After spending 4 years as a Youth Development Officer for Mountaineering Ireland, he identified the significance of participation and of teaching young climbers the importance of experiencing the mountains responsibly and safely. In addition, he plays a key role in the promotion of climbing in Ireland – which includes organising the Fair Head Climbing meet every year and developing new cliffs around the country.
Paul’s main motivation is to get stuck in and seek out adventure, whilst maintaining a lifestyle of freedom, quality friendships, good music and good beer. Nowadays he spends much of his time based in the Chamonix valley – but still makes regular trips home to his native Ireland, for some traditional climbing and catching up with friends!

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
Neil Johnson

Neil Johnson


Neil comes from a background of professional outdoor instruction and exploratory skiing and mountaineering. After studying a sports science degree in Leeds, he started off working with young people, then moved on to working with adults and more specifically future leaders and instructors – spending 10 years working at Plas Y Brenin as a Senior Instructor, where he qualified as an IFMGA Guide.

In the winter months he lives in Chamonix mixing ice climbing, ski touring and off piste work  – where he has a good knowledge of Chamonix and La Grave, the Haute Route, the Queyras, the Silvretta, Otztal and Stubai regions – as well as several other quieter and less well known venues across the Alps.

In the summer months Neil guides in the Alps based in Chamonix, but at other times of year he delivers coaching seminars for the BMC, as well as other mountain leader training courses and awards.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Jon Bracey

Jon Bracey


Jon is one of Britain’s foremost alpinists having climbed some of the hardest routes in the Alps and established several new routes in Alaska, Greenland and the Himalayas with both Rich and Al amongst others.

Jon lives and guides in Chamonix year round, thoroughly enjoying the guiding life. He specialises in guiding winter ice climbs, classic big rock climbs, alpine faces and ridges. He is also a very keen skier, having raced in the British Ski Mountaineering Team at World Championships and numerous other international competitions. To quote Jon:

“I have been passionate about the mountains and the environment since a young age. Through guiding I am able to share my knowledge and experience with my clients and help them to achieve their goals. If you’re seeking an adventure in some of the most beautiful wildernesses on the planet then look no further!”

Outside the guiding season, he mixes family life with personal climbing and works closely with his sponsors, being involved in design work, brand promotion and product testing.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
James Thacker

James Thacker


James enthusiasm for mountains has taken him to Arctic Greenland, the Himalayas and the “classic north faces” of the European Alps. In the winter months he lives in the Chamonix valley, off piste and ski touring – where he has a good knowledge of La Grave, the Ecrins and Queyras in the Southern Alps, Chamonix and the Haute Route, the Gran Paradiso and Silvretta, as well as having toured in remote regions such as East Greenland and Arctic Norway.

For several years he was actively involved with Mountain Rescue in the Peak District as a member of Derby and Edale MRT’s. As such he has developed an interest in altitude medicine and the management of the trauma in the mountains.

In the summer months, he guides in the Alps from his base in Chamonix.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Kenny Grant

Kenny Grant


Kenny is a friendly and enthusiastic IFMGA Mountain Guide, based between Scotland and the Chamonix valley.

Originally from Fort William in the West Highlands of Scotland, Kenny cut his teeth climbing and skiing on the local mountains of Ben Nevis and Glencoe before going on to climb throughout the UK, North America, Norway and extensively in the European Alps.

On skis, Kenny’s passion for powder skiing and touring has taken him to Canada, America and all around the European Alps, where he has good knowledge of the Mont Blanc Massif, the Ecrins, Uri Alps, Ortler, Vanoise, Silvretta, Val Anniveries and the Haute Route – as well as a many other ‘off the radar’ areas.

A keen mountain sports ‘all rounder’, bouldering, sport climbing, alpinism and winter climbing all feature in his Guiding and days off. Any other spare time is taken up with mountain biking where he enjoys trying to keep up with his young son Fraser!

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team