Alpine Guiding Team

Our Alpine Guiding Team

We are a friendly, patient bunch of IFMGA 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.

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 and social media accounts, 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 Internationals 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 maintains the company website, whilst trying to spend as much time bouldering, 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
  • Ski 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
Simon Hale

Simon Hale


Simon is an IFMGA Guide with over 30 years experience climbing and skiing in mountain ranges all over the world.  He has worked at Plas y Brenin, the UK National Mountain Centre, as a Senior Instructor and also has a degree in outdoor education and environmental science, as well as diplomas in ski instruction.

Well known for his dry sense of humour, he ‘s a good guy to spend time on the hill with and has an excellent breadth of knowledge in many areas.  In another aspect of his professional life, Simon is  the training director of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders (BAIML), overseeing training and assessment of international walking tour leaders in the Uk.

Simon splits his time between homes in the French Alps and North Wales, where he works and guides year round.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
John Mccune

John Mccune


John is originally from Northern Ireland, but he is currently based in the Chamonix Valley working winter and summer as an IFMGA mountain guide. Before becoming a guide he worked as a mountaineering instructor (MIA) and a rope access technician in the UK and Ireland. He has a degree in photography.

 He is passionate and obsessive about all forms of climbing and loves guiding and teaching skills in the mountains. He has climbed extensively across Europe, the Alps and North America.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
Mark Charlton

Mark Charlton


A full time resident of the Chamonix Valley, Mark has been guiding for over 20 years – during which time he has been strongly involved in the training and assesment of guides for both the British and Swedish mountain guides associations (most of us have been trained or assessed by Mark at some point in our careers!)

Highly experienced and fun to be with, Mark always enjoys telling a story over a beer or three at the end of a good days skiing or climbing. He has worked extensively throughout the Alps and numerous other parts of the world, both on skis and mountaineering.

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
Graham McMahon

Graham McMahon


Since his first adventures in North Wales as a teenager, Graham has gone on to climb and ski in North and South America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe, becoming an International Mountain Guide (IFMGA) in 2001 and still loves it!

Well known for his experience, professionalism and easy going manner, Graham spent many years working as a Senior Instructor at Plas y Brenin (the national mountain centre ) introducing novices to the mountains and helping experts improve. Currently he spends the winters skiing and ice climbing in Europe and the summers mountaineering and rock climbing.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski 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
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
Dave Kenyon

Dave Kenyon


Renowned as a very modest, but extremely talented rock climber as well as an accomplished guide, Dave’s personal experience expands over 30 years climbing in many areas of the world including South East Asia, Asia, Africa, Madagascar, Scandinavia and extensively in Europe & the UK. Along the way he has made several first ascents over the years, a number of which have become hard modern test pieces.

Based in North Wales Dave guides full time, spending a substantial amount of every year in the Alps and in between times running rock climbing courses, navigation skills and the other training necessary for safe enjoyment of the British hills.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team
  • Ski Guiding Team
Tim Neill

Tim Neill


Tim is one of the keenest climbers living in Snowdonia, North Wales. Having climbed almost everything there, he has also climbed widely throughout the UK and Ireland. Further successful trips have taken him to Patagonia, Peruvian Andes, USA, Greenland, Morocco, Australia and extensively throughout mainland Europe. He is equally passionate about rock, winter and alpinism!

Tim also works as a part time Instructor at the National Mountain Centre, Plas Y Brenin. This work has included training and assessing at all levels of UK mountain qualifications.

He has been involved in a number of instructional DVDs for the BMC and taken a lead role in a number of their International Rock Meets. He has had work published by Climb, Climber and Summit magazines, and online at UKClimbing.com.

Guide Categories:

  • Alpine Guiding Team