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Stuart Macdonald

Expedition Guide

Stuart heads up 360’s Alpine trips. If you’re heading to the Alps to climb with 360 then the chances are that Stuart will be running your trip.

Stuart first came to the Alps and climbed Mont Blanc when he was 17. He was immediately hooked and subsequently returned whenever he could. Mountains became his real passion in life, and during a ten year career in the British Army he undertook numerous expeditions around the world including trips to Antarctica, Greenland, Alaska and the Himalayas. After leaving the Forces in 2003 Stuart became a freelance Mountaineering Instructor in North Wales and soon after began training as an Alpine Guide.

Since 2007 he has lived and guided full-time in the Chamonix valley in France. His summers are usually filled with alpine climbing across the Alps and his winters are mostly spent ski guiding, whether in the Alps or further afield.

Highlights of Stuart’s climbing life would be climbing 5/6 of the classic North Faces of the Alps (Eiger, Matterhorn, Cima Grande, Piz Badile and Grandes Jorasses), and Everest to name just a few. There are so many peaks left to climb, Stuart can’t see that he’ll ever get bored!

Interview

What was your first adventure?

When I was taken on a school trip to do hill walking in the Lake District aged 11.  I was terrified on a path with a steep slope below it.  Looking back on it is quite funny, but at the time I was very nervous at heights.

What has been your most memorable adventure?

A trip to the island of South Georgia in the Antarctic. An 8 day sail from the Falklands in a 49′ yacht was a baptism of fire for a non-sailor like me. We had some very rough seas and I felt very small in a very big ocean. After that we had three incredible weeks mountaineering on the island, including several first ascents, before sailing back to the Falklands again.

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

A map. I seldom go anywhere without one. I just like to know where I am, whether I’m on a glacier in the Alps or trekking in the Himalayas. Having a map and being able to see the options available to you can make it very easy to change plans.

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

  1. Just get on with it.
  2. Don’t delay.
  3. Make time.

What is the best thing about your job?

I live in the mountains, and I love going to work.

Why did you choose to work for 360?

I like working with small teams of like-minded people. Everyone at 360 loves getting out into the wild so they all “get it”. The staff are always on hand if you have a question.

Everything was extremely well organised both in the run up to the trip and during (as much as is possible in Nepal!) All the 360 staff and guides were helpful attentive and friendly.

Patrick O'Reilly, General, 2017
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