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Choosing a Winter Mountain Guide

Choosing a Winter Mountain Guide

Traditionally, mountaineering has been a man’s world.  Especially winter mountaineering.  When you pair this up with a natural tendency for us to link up with people we already know, or people who are ‘like us’, it’s not difficult to see why we choose instructors who are men.  Proportionally, it’s much more likely to be a ‘men pick men’ situation, because more men are mountaineers and vastly more men than women are qualified instructors at the higher levels of qualification in this field.


Today’s article is about some of the female mountaineering instructors who have been recommended to us.  We’d like everyone who’s choosing a mountaineering instructor this winter to consider whether they have an unconscious bias to choose a man.  We all have bias.   If you want to find out more about your own bias, check out the Implicit Attitudes Test, a project which quantifies our bias by guiding us through a short test.  It’s one way of identifying biases you don’t even know you have and for us the results have been enlightening.  Once we know about our biases, we can decide what we want to do, in a more conscious way.

You can also find an interesting TED talk by Verna Myers on this subject:  Verna Myers: How to overcome our biases?

Finding a female guide or instructor

Of course, sometimes it’s simply much easier to choose a man, because at MIC/ BMG level there are more men than women around instructing.  You might have to make a little extra effort to find a woman from the lists available online.  This is part of the reason for this post – to make it easier for people to choose a woman, if you want to.

When an instructor gets to the level of MIC/ BMG / IFMGA you can be fairly sure that they meet a very high standard of qualification and experience, so the choice becomes a little more about personal choice.  Take a look at these experienced, highly qualified instructors for your winter mountaineering instruction and guiding, this winter:

Gillian Parker

Catherine Freeman

Adele Pennington: Only British woman to have summited Everest twice

Rocio Siemens: Featured in the BMC Women in Adventure film last year

Kathryn James

Libby Peter

Louisa Reynolds

Heather Morning

Samantha Leary

Di Gilbert

Anne Salisbury

Tania Noakes

Hannah Burrows-Smith

Have we missed someone important off this list?  If we have, let us know, by emailing us: hello@womenclimb.co.uk.

If you like this, you might also like:

Rocio Siemens Climber Bio

Gwen Moffat – Interview

Ten Tips for Winter Adventure

What to Pack – Scottish Winter

Winter Mountaineering, Mixed Climbing and Ice Climbing – What’s the difference?

Winter Climbing: Terminology

10 Questions to ask yourself before a Winter Climb

Winter Climbing Grades

Getting Close to Emily Roo – Climber Bio



  • Mary Webster
    December 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Interesting article ‘Choosing a winter mountain guide.
    The link from Heather Morning takes one to UKC article on MIC and Alan Halewood – not info on Heather

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