Bradley Reed

  • Having taken the modern route into rock climbing (starting on a climbing wall), the sense of freedom and adventure which wild places gave me led me to become immersed in climbing, especially the adventurous side of it. This led me towards a career in the outdoors, where I have a special interest in coaching and personal growth. I love introducing people to and aiding personal development within adventurous settings.
  • I moved to north Wales to develop my personal passion for rock climbing and discovered a warm and open community of like-minded people who love to be outdoors.

Achievements

  • I’ve climbed first ascents in Morocco and repeated routes across Western America, including climbing Half Dome, New Zealand and Thailand. I also love climbing local North Wales routes up to 8a and E6. My wife, then girlfriend, embraced South American culture by cycling 4500km through temperate rainforests, flat grasslands, high (nearly 5000m) passes and desserts, stopping to climb and trek along the way.
  • I’ve built a climbing wall in my garage to keep my skills sharp throughout lockdown.

Ambitions

  • My climbing tick list is ever-growing, with Lord of the Flies is at the top, but mainly I would love to continue climbing regularly and learning more about the nuances of climbing and how to teach it.
  • I’ve postponed my Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Award but walking, biking and swimming in wild places closer to home have given me a new perspective on what adventures can be.

Rich Gentry

  • My year is split between North Wales and the West Coast of Scotland. I spend the majority of the year working in sunny North Wales, which is where I call home, and spend the winter based around Fort William where the snow and ice conditions are better. I also like to spend time working on the Cuillin Ridge on Skye in the spring as it’s totally amazing.
  • In addition to UK work, I run overseas expeditions, primarily trekking trips to less travelled locations.
  • I enjoy spending time with lots of interesting people and the variety that comes with the work. For example, I could spend one week working on a Mountain Leader course, including camping and night navigation for people who want to work in the Industry. The next could be a rock-climbing course climbing on classic crags around the area with people that are really keen to climb independently.

Achievements

  • I spend time climbing and travelling in wild and adventurous places. Some highlights include climbing along the Andes in South America, trad climbing in Morocco and countless days on the sea cliffs of North Wales.

Ambitions

  • I like to combine adventurous trad climbing and interesting travel. I’d love to get to Wadi Rum and climb the sandstone cracks and the old Bedouin routes, then head down and check out the ancient city of Petra to finish. In the short term, I’m planning to spend more time climbing the sea cliffs of Scotland.

Iona Pawson

  • Family holidays spent walking and skiing inspired Iona’s passion for the mountains. Leaving her full-time education and passing her Summer Mountain Leader Award kick-started her career in the outdoors. Since she has moved from being a Centre Assistant at Plas y Brenin to a fully-fledged instructor with a specialism in land-based mountain sports.
  • In her spare time, she enjoys going on ski mountaineering trips where she combines all of the mountain skills she has learned from camping and navigating to decision making, and hopefully skiing some good powder too. Highlights have included traversing the Bugaboos, skiing in Mongolia and reaching the summit of Mount Logan.

Ambitions

  • "To keep learning, enjoying and challenging myself in the outdoors."

  • Currently, her winter work is changing from teaching skiing in the Alps to working in the UK as a newly qualified Winter Mountain Leader.
  • "Personally, I always have a range of dots on my Google Earth, expedition reports to read, and suggestions from friends. Who knows where my next ski expedition will take me, but it will probably involve some remote self-sufficient type 2 fun!"

  • She has also been learning to Mountain Bike, which is a very good reminder of what it is like to be a scared beginner! However, she is hoping to go on some bike packing journeys and combine this new skill with her love of self-sufficient travel.
  • She is also a keen vegetable gardener and enjoys baking bread and cakes. Each year she sets herself a new cooking challenge and at the moment she’s tackling croissants

Will Nicholls

  • I started climbing after a friend introduced me to it as a teenager. I then attended a weekend climbing course at Plas y Brenin with another friend and loved it. Our instructor’s parting words, ‘you know just enough to go and really hurt yourselves – be careful,’ were spot on. We were keen and thought we were cool, as we didn’t know anyone else who climbed. We also imagined our climbing would make us irresistible to the girls at school. It didn’t!
  • Soon enough we’d passed our driving tests – that’s when things really kicked off. We’d mainly head to Eryri (Snowdonia) or the Peak District and take a long time to climb a single route, but it didn’t matter – we felt like a ball. I joined a local mountaineering club and had my first taste of winter climbing. I was so green I even took my crampons to the bottom of the route, still in their box, with no idea how to attach them to my boots. Someone kindly showed me, and then we climbed Parsley Fern Gully and finished the day by topping out on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). It felt amazing. I was buzzing when I related my weekend adventure to my friends at college the next day.
  • My parents were supportive of me doing whatever I wanted in the future, as long as I grafted for my A Levels. By then, I knew I wanted to work in the outdoors – I’d been inspired by the instructors I’d met while learning to ski and at Plas y Brenin. I remember going through the Plas y Brenin brochure, highlighting all the courses I’d need to attend to get to the last stage in the qualification range, the MIC (now Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor). I steadily ticked my way through the qualifications; it took me ten years to go from attending my Mountain Leader training during the Easter holidays to passing my MIC assessment. I loved the process and all the brilliant trips and experiences I’ve had from climbing and skiing.
  • I'm really wimpy with cold water, so you'll never see me in a kayak!

Achievements

  • My motivations for climbing and skiing vary depending on the day and who I’m with. If I feel I’m climbing well and confidently, I enjoy the challenge of a tricky route. Equally, if I’m not in the right mindset to climb something hard, I acknowledge it and choose a different crag or route, where the enjoyment comes more from the situation and company than the difficulty. I think this is what I like most about climbing and skiing, there’s always something to do, and it (almost!) always feels great.

Ambitions

  • I’m more environmentally aware and conscious than I used to be. My focus has shifted from overseas trips to the UK or European destinations which can be reached on public transport. There’s so much to go at! I spent a week climbing in north Cornwall and Devon the other summer. I seconded a pitch that I think is probably the best climbing I’ve ever experienced, called Darkinbad The Brightdayler. Pat Littlejohn made the first ascent. We were blown away by the quality and quantity of his routes in that region – thanks, Pat! I would love to go back and lead it at some point – I’d say that’s my main climbing goal.
  • Skiing-wise, the Castle gullies on Ben Nevis and the Holzer Couloir in the Dolomites are top of the list. I’d also like to go ski touring again; it’s been too long since our last epic!
  • I’m really looking forward to introducing our son to adventures in the outdoors.

Spike Green

  • I work across all the instructional departments at Plas y Brenin. I've been working in the outdoor industry exclusively since 1982, so I've amassed quite a range of experience in most areas of our work.

Highlights

  • Making the first descent of a river in a super remote area of the eastern Peruvian jungle. After a day or so (of a 12-day trip), I said to the head of the National Park in which we were travelling (who was also with us) that I felt it be a real privilege to be the first Westerner to have ever visited this area of the jungle. She said, “No, you misunderstand; WE are the first humans to have EVER been to this area!”
  • The local tribes have a detailed oral tradition which records where they have been. None of them had any collective memory of visiting the area we were in. Our footprints were the first; the wildlife had never seen humans before. That was a truly remarkable experience.

Dave Evans

  • I have been instructing at Plas y Brenin for 15 years and have been a full-time instructor for the last three. I work entirely in the mountaineering department on pretty much the full range of recreational and instructional courses, from introductory walking and leadership to Mountaineering Instructor.
  • In the last few years, I have been heavily involved in the development and delivery of the BMC FUNdamentals coach education modules and am a member of the BMC’s Training, Youth and Walls committee. I am a course director for every instructional and leadership course administered by Mountain Training and run most of these a few times per year, and am occasionally involved in doing bits of work specifically for them.
  • I have been hillwalking, scrambling, climbing and mountaineering since before I can remember. Family holidays were generally in Scotland, the Lake District or Snowdonia, and later on throughout the French Alps. I have been skiing since I was 7 and continue to do so now. In the last 15 years, I have climbed all over the place, from America to China and Big Walls to Alpine North Faces. I am still generally most motivated by UK Trad rock climbing.

Achievements

  • Central Gully, Beinn Lui, Grade I, Southern Highlands, with Parents c.1982 This was where it all started for me…
  • Mont Pelvoux traverse, AD, Les Ecrins, France with parents, 1995
  • Comici Route, VII/E3 6a, 500 metres, Cima Grande North Face, Dolomites, Italy, 2003
  • Cassin Route, TD, 800 metres, Piz Badile, Bregaglia Alps, Switzerland, 2003
  • Tour des Ecrins, a 4-day ski tour through one of the most remote parts of the French Alps, March 2004. Particularly memorable for having to sleep in an Alpine hut that was totally buried under avalanche debris! Some of the wildest ski terrain in Europe.
  • China Mountaineering Expedition to the Siguniang Range in the Sichuan Province. While unsuccessful on our main target, we climbed peaks in a little-known region of China up to just under 6000 metres and had an incredible adventure.
  • Aiguille Verte, “Late to say I’m Sorry”, ED2, Chamonix. 1st complete British ascent. Made particularly memorable by the descent from the summit, soloing back down the Couturier Couloir, which is itself a 1000-metre D+ Alpine North Face route, and the subsequent ski back to Chamonix in failing light, taking numerous hilarious falls in easy terrain as we were so tired! We still made it back for beers and burgers, though! One of the best climbing days of my life!
  • Eiger North Face 1938 Route. ED2, Grindelwald, Switzerland. An awesome experience with 2 great friends, which with good weather and conditions, was actually a great pleasure to climb!
  • Strawberries, E7 6b, Vector Buttress, Tremadog. After a few days of failed attempts to get up this one, my successful ascent came a day after my teammate and good friend Emma Twyford. Emma came back up there with me even though she wasn’t climbing to hold my ropes! I had to try really hard on this one, too, so it will always remain a fond memory.
  • Un Poco Loco, VII,7, Church Door Buttress, Glencoe. It's still one of the best winter days I have ever had, with perfect conditions, perfect weather, and a mind-blowing route in a totally wild place.
  • Darth Vadar, VII,7, Ben Nevis. This is a great route with loads of character in a deep chimney feature. I will never forget how quickly myself and Dave Rudkin climbed this one; we were back in Fort William, eating paninis and drinking coffee by 1.30 pm.

Ambitions

  • I also, as always, have my eye on quite a few local classics in North Wales that have eluded me so far… there’s always something awesome to do on your doorstep!

Matt Stygall

  • I’m a part-time member of the instructional team, specializing in all things mountain-based, both summer and winter. A large part of my work is with the national governing body (NGB) awards, but I also work with the skills courses at Plas y Brenin.
  • It’s great to see folk come through on skills courses or NGB courses, watching them grow and gain experience and ultimately pass an assessment they have been working so hard for.
  • Some of the most enjoyable parts of my work are people achieving their goals and experiencing that team feeling of reaching a summit or topping out on a route!

Achievements

  • Over the years, I have been on many expeditions; some were successful, and others were not (I’m still getting over them!).
  • I have been to Alaska, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, The Alps, Norway, Patagonia and America. Some highlights were a fantastic trip to Yosemite big wall climbing, time in Patagonia climbing dream routes on Fitzroy and the surrounding peaks.
  • On the shorter trips, I have been able to have ski touring adventures to Iceland and, believe it or not, Scotland! I also try my hardest to get to Scotland in the early seasons to start the suffering. It’s a great time of year: short days, major routes, quiet and challenging weather; what more do you need?
  • Each year my work takes me to the Alps, and I have a week’s climbing before the season starts, which from year to year has been exceptional due to the diverse routes you can climb there. Professionally I’m proud of becoming a British Mountain Guide. It was a long journey, but every bit of it was worth it, possibly the best job in the world!

Ambitions

  • Well, if there was one mountain to climb, for me it would be Cerro Torre. I don’t mind which route. It would be a dream come true. I first read about the mountain in a book called Enduring Patagonia, the team finally made the summit and the selfie is the picture I would like to take and put on my wall.
  • Other ambitions would be to complete all the six North Face routes in the Alps. I have two left to do; the Eiger and Matterhorn (the easy ones!). There is also an endless list of winter routes to do, not to mention summer rock climbing or all the 4000’ers.

Chris Evans

  • I work as an instructor specialising in paddlesports and mountain biking. What I love about Plas y Brenin is the learners we see through the door (I find people really interesting), the variety of work I get (everything from introduction to advanced-level skills courses and leadership and coaching training and assessments), the staff (everyone’s always keen to go and do stuff in their spare time) and of course our amazing location!
  • I’m also qualified to train and assess a range of personal skills awards and leadership awards, and coach training and assessments.

Achievements

  • I’ve been paddling since the age of 8 and have been lucky enough to paddle in some amazing places.
  • I’ve paddled in Norway, France, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Austria, Africa, America and New Zealand. I’ve competed in sprint, slalom, freestyle and extreme races, with my competitive highlights being placing on the GB freestyle squad twice.
  • I’ve been mountain biking all over the UK and in France, Andorra, Canada and New Zealand.
  • One of my more recent accomplishments is the completion of a diploma in performance coaching, and linked in with this is the completion of the British Canoeing level four award. This is fairly big for me as academia was something I always felt challenging.

Ambitions

  • Future ambitions include completing an MSc in performance coaching (hopefully….) and lots of future biking and boating holidays. Oh yeah, I want to do loads more sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, too... too many things to do, not enough time!

James Bruton

  • I am an instructor at Plas y Brenin, working across the Mountain Biking, Paddlesports and Mountaineering departments. I love the variety in my work, and spending time with diverse, motivated clients makes my job great.
  • I also work with our Fast Track Instructor Pro course, allowing me to coach and mentor the next generation of outdoor coaches and instructors.

Achievements

  • Like most of us at Plas y Brenin, my holidays are spent doing what I do for work but different! Any time hanging out and sharing experiences with like-minded people means a good trip. A few highlights include my first descent of the Rio Santa Tomas in Peru (a self-supported multi-day kayak expedition) and racing at the Mega Avalanche 2017 (the biggest downhill race in Europe). I met loads of great people, the tracks are amazing, and there’s nothing quite like sprinting off the line with 250 other riders!

Ambitions

  • My goals include surviving another season of racing the UK Gravity Enduro Season and returning to the Mega Avalanche to improve upon last year's result.