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Chris Allewell

Expedition Leader

Born in Canada and brought up in North Wales, Chris started in the outdoors as a youngster and has loved every adventure since. His working adventures have included being a safety kayaker in Nepal, advising the Iraqi government, running a University in West Africa and pretty much everything in between. He now divides his time between being a Management & Leadership trainer, teaching mountaineering and climbing all over the world and being the Training Officer at Edale Mountain Rescue team.

His mountaineering, rock climbing and ski touring exploits have taken him to every continent and he has climbed new routes amidst the landmines of the Falkland Islands and the towering peaks of the Himalaya. With experience of everything from instructing on his local gritstone edges to leading expeditions to 8000m Himalayan peaks, Chris has a wealth of knowledge that he is passionate to share so that you have a safe, memorable and enjoyable experience.

He is a keen amateur naturalist and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (they were desperate). As a word of warning, his first degree is in Microbiology, so just don’t get him started on lichens… you have been warned!

Interview

What was your first adventure?

The first mini adventure I had was when I was about 4, deciding that some old WWII fortifications on the beach in Yarmouth needed exploring. I jumped off one, cut my hand open quite badly and got stuck in the sand and needed rescuing. A trait that some argue has never left me!

What has been your most memorable adventure?

I suppose the most memorable one is when trying a route on Denali and I developed a perforated duodenal ulcer. A National Geographic television crew seemed to take great delight in filming me writhing in agony (my team mates said weakness) and being helicoptered off.

Memorable because of the views from the tiny helicopter on the rollercoaster ride amongst the peaks on the way down to base camp on the Kahiltna glacier, and the over zealous paramedic ripping an intravenous line out in the back of the bigger helicopter that took me to hospital. Sorry Mr Paramedic if you ever read this, I made quite a mess in the back of your helicopter!

The views from my hospital bed were of the mountains glistening in the distance just to taunt me and the local radio & TV wanted to interview me as I nearly died – touching!

What item of travel kit you can't do without?

A smile, it gets you out of most problems.

What three bits of advice would you give to people who are keen on adventures, trekking and climbing?

  1. Its corny but shoot for the moon as if you miss you will end up amongst the stars. Too many people convince themselves they can’t do x or y without ever trying.
  2. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Fitness, having the right gear and knowing how to use it, right mental attitude. Stack the odds in your favour from the outset by preparing well in all aspects.
  3. Be lucky and if you can’t manage that, be patient. Remote locations and the weather don’t always follow the neatness of a normal working day, so stay relaxed. Your bags will turn up on the lost mule – eventually, the river will drop – eventually, and that elusive weather window – well sometimes.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is going to amazing places with great folk.

Why did you choose to work for 360?

It’s great to be part of a small dedicated team that is passionate about adventures in the mountains.

The trip itself was amazing from start to finish. From the outset we were looked after so well, even to the point where we were flown to Lukla by helicopter as the poor weather prevented us flying by plane. The accommodation we stayed in was more than I could have expected.  We also had the privilege of dining at Everest Base Camp.The Sherpas and porters were so helpful and friendly throughout the trip and really looked after us all. Last, but not least, Stuart Shipp, what a legend.  The final ascent to Island Peak was a tough 17 hours for all of us. We knew it was going to be tough, but we did not realise the magnitude of it. This is where Stuart was outstanding, his experience, knowledge, guidance and support was what got us through it.  He jelled extremely well with everyone in the group and brought us all together. I would highly recommend him, but he needs to improve on his jokes 🙂

Val Bennett, Island Peak
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