West Coast Mountain Guides
West Coast Mountain Guides aim to help people interested in visiting mountainous regions do so with confidence. Help is given by advice, instruction and guiding. Everyone can extend their horizons by investing in proper tuition, given with sensible and friendly encouragement.
Alan Kimber ran the company for 25 years until April 2013 and has now handed over to his good friend and fellow instructor and guide, Bruce Poll. Alan asks... "I hope you will all support Bruce in continuing to make West Coast Mountain Guides the success it has become. We both value good customer service, on and off the mountains and will always try to answer your questions quickly and fully as in the past. I wish Bruce and his partner, Vicky Armstrong all the best in what I hope will be a long association with the brand I have created over the last 25 years".... A few words from Bruce below, thanks, Alan Kimber.
I feel very honoured and excited at Alan’s invitation to take on West Coast Mountain Guides as Alan plans to take things a little easier after 25 years at the helm of this now well recognised mountain brand. Since getting involved as a teenager, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many aspects of the outdoors over the years and have skied, climbed, paddled, paraglided, sailed and run my way around many mountain areas of the world. Alan and I have worked together for over 15 years, both in Scotland and abroad and have shared many great days personal climbing.
Alan’s direction for West Coast Mountain Guides to offer quality instruction and guiding, along with helpful advice at the end of the phone is something I intend to continue. My passion for all forms of enjoying the great outdoors has remained undeterred for over 25 years and I hope to share this enthusiasm with you. As Alan’s wife Sue has supported Alan over the years, I will be aided by Vicky Armstrong, who also has a strong outdoor background and is equally as passionate about our outdoor environment.
The Scottish winter programme is an important part of West Coast Mountain Guides and I hope to use this as a springboard for those who wish to explore Alpine courses, both in the summer and winter. Similarly, the popular Scottish scrambles and opportunities to explore Skye will continue, supported by well recognised, West Coast Mountain Guides instructors and guides. I hope an evolution for West Coast Mountain Guides will be into the world of ski touring and off piste ski courses as both skiing and journeying through the mountains on skis is a strong passion of mine.
I have met many of West Coast Mountain Guides clients before and look forward to meeting more of you in the future. Alan and I will remain in contact and his guidance and expertise will be invaluable throughout the transition. On behalf of all his clients may I wish him a happy reduction in workload (not retirement) and many more enjoyable days in the hills. Many thanks, Bruce Poll
The Instructors and Guides
Instructors and Guides in the British Isles will be experienced and suited to the particular activity on which they are involved. Many instructors and guides you will meet spend their year traveling, climbing and working on mountains throughout the world. This experience brings a rich breadth of knowledge, which they will share with you. Some of the staff will be IFMGA members. Others will be members of AMI. Links to these bodies can be found at the foot of this page. A few will be instructors under training by Alan Kimber himself. i.e. your instructor may be very experienced but not qualified in the formal sense; and the training by Alan Kimber may consist of off-hill mentoring without Alan Kimber being present on the mountain with you”.
West Coast Mountain Guides realise that work experience for instructors moving up through the UK and international awards structure is vital. We pride ourselves in the fact that numerous trainee instructors and guides have worked with us successfully over many years, before attaining their full IFMGA or AMI qualifications. We do not have a 100% safety record, but neither do many other similar mountain companies.Mountains are potentially dangerous arenas. West Coast Mountain Guides have never had clients fatally injured and we aim to keep it that way if at all possible. The experience and quality of the instructors and guides, whether trainee or fully qualified should be your guarantee of attention to detail, safety, enjoyment and success.
All of the instructors/guides will be freelance and you may well meet them with other companies whom they work for in other parts of the UK and abroad.
Instructors/guides for alpine courses and guiding will be members of the IFMGA as required by law in many alpine countries. Please be aware that taking a non IFMGA qualified guide in the Alps may invalidate alpine insurance policies.
The programmes of instruction and guiding will vary in content and length. Anything from a single days instruction to a two week alpine holiday. The aim is to be flexible in order to meet the varied demands of customers. Activities take place throughout Britain and Europe on a yearly basis. More detailed information of the courses is shown at different parts of this site. If the activity or dates you are interested in does not appear please ask. Customer-led packages are always a possibility. Courses are run with small numbers in order to follow normal sensible mountaineering traditions and give maximum benefit to those taking part.
The programmes cover all mountaineering activities from Hill Walking and Scrambling to summer and winter Climbing and Alpinism. A progression is maintained and many customers return for a taste of different activities at a higher level or new location. Novice, intermediate and expert are welcome. Many people harbour personal ambitions and these are carefully catered for, whether it be a simple walk, the Aonach Eagach or Tower Ridge, the Inaccessible Pinnacle, Mont Blanc or the Matterhorn.
Many of the courses and private guiding are based on Scotland's west coast in the town of Fort William. In particular the winter weeks/weekends are very popular, as are the spring and summer rock climbing and scrambling. For people who would like a course run in England or Wales, this is also possible, thus saving time and expense of traveling north. For many the Alps provide a logical step on from Scottish winter courses. Wherever there are mountains or cliffs, we can be there.
All levels of ability are catered for. Many customers return for a course set at a higher level , being keen to invest in further instruction which will broaden their horizon of skills and confidence. Matching the fitness and ability of course members is given a high priority. Please be assured that the programmes are not only set for super fit people whose sights are firmly focused on a steep and forbidding north face. In fact most folk have ambitions of a lesser nature, thank goodness!
Experience the challenges and skills of winter. All levels catered for.
- Christmas and New Year
- Prepare for Winter
- Winter Mountaineering Intro Weekends
- Winter Mountaineering Intermediate Weekends
- Winter Climbing Weekends
- Introductory winter courses
- Winter Mountaineering
- Student Courses
- Winter climbing: Introductory to intermediate
- Winter climbing intermediate to advanced level
- Winter Climbing - Ben Nevis - CIC Hut
- Shorter Winter courses
Get away from climbing walls to the quiet of the Scottish Glens.
- Mountain Navigation and Safety Weekends
- Summer Scrambling & Mountaineering
- Isle of Skye - Cuillin 'Munros'
- Isle of Skye - Black Cuillin Traverse
- Isle of Skye - Black Cuillin Half Traverse
- Easy Rock - Rock Climbing in Scotland
- Classic rock climbing courses
- Skye rock climbing - Five Day courses
- Stacks of Rock
- Rock climbing around Scotland
A logical step from the Scottish mountains. All levels catered for.
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