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Meet the Leaders:


Name: Kirsten
Mountain Experience: 7yrs
Where did you grow up?: Florida, USA
Current Home City: London
Favourite Mountain: Tryfan
Favourite food to pack in your rucksack: Haribo
Favourite National Park: Cairngorms or Peak District

Q. How did you become interested in the outdoors?
A. Soon after moving to the UK at 16, I joined the D of E award and then the Ten Tors Challenge. Having spent most of my life near swamps or beaches, exploring the UK’s trails and mountains was a novel experience for me, and continues to be today.

Q. What is one lesson the mountains have taught you?
A. Be prepared, and be prepared for change. If you have the right gear with you then you’re ready for most situations in the mountains, which is helpful because things rarely go according to plan. After various trips in the mountains have required deviations from my original plans, it’s made me much more open to change in my day-to-day life.

Q. Other than boots, if you had unlimited money to spend on one piece of kit, what would it be?
A. I would pay unspeakable amounts of money for someone to create a thermos that keeps coffee warm for a solid 12 hours.

Q. What is one thing you pack in your rucksack, whatever the season and whatever the weather?
A. My lucky hat – I’ve had it for over 10 years now! It’s a bit raggedy and its colour has been faded by the sun, but I think it still has some years left in it.

Q. What advice would you give to someone going out into the mountains for the first time?
A. Always pack more snacks than you think you’ll eat, and bring extra layers.  Summits are colder than sea level, and you don’t want to be the hiker having a ‘hangry’ meltdown on the trail!

Q. What is your favourite season to be out in the mountains and why? 
A. The summer – I relish spending long days out in the sun. Plus, I get cold camping at night in the winter, so a boiling hot tent in the summer is a fair trade-off to me!

Q. Name three mountains on your bucket list.
1. Denali, Alaska
2. Mount Ushba, Georgia
3. Fitz Roy, Patagonia


Q. What do you like to do to keep fit when you’re not in the mountains?
A. I spend a fair bit of time running and climbing indoors in London – you’ll normally see me at The Reach, Vauxwall or The Castle most weeknights!

Q. If you could go anywhere in the world that you hadn’t been, where would it be?
A. For years, I’ve dreamt of exploring Patagonia in Chile. Those jagged peaks and green forests are the stuff dreams are made of! Besides Patagonia, I would love to spend several weeks in Wisconsin exploring the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Some of the landscapes there are otherworldly

Q. What is your favourite mountain/expedition/adventure book? (fiction/non-fiction)
A. I’m currently obsessed with Gwen Moffat’s Space Below My Feet. Her nonchalant attitude through much of the book belies her skill and the obstacles she faced becoming the first certified female guide in the UK.  It’s an inspiration for any woman that wants a career in the outdoors.

Q. What is your favourite City Mountaineering memory?
A. It’s probably the first trip I guided for City Mountaineering – the Snowdonia weekender. The weather was absolutely foul, with a constant deluge of rain throughout the day. Considering it was the first time several people in my group had hiked up a mountain, I worried the weather would put them off hiking forever. However it was all smiles at the summit, and lots of celebratory pints at the pub in the evening! To this day I see photos of some of them summiting mountains ages after their first trip, and it makes me smile knowing that the rainy hike up
Snowdon ignited their love of the mountains.

Stuart Shipp

Founder, City Mountaineering

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