7 October 2013 16:30
Mark Walker ( Environmental Management, 1998, Fylde) reflects on how Lancaster influenced his mountaineering career

Cutting up 'dreamy' lines in perfect powder I feel I've come a long way since my days at Lancaster in 1998. As a cautious young lad from the Peak District, Lancaster suited me perfectly with its friendly campus and relaxed local town. There, whilst relishing the academic commitment of my first degree, I 'cut my teeth' on rock and ice in the nearby and fantastically beautiful Lake District. As an aspiring mountaineer many an adventure was had here by myself and whoever I had cajoled into joining me. Returning to Lancaster we arrived as gloriously victorious or equally frequently with our tails between our legs as some objective had got the better of us. That adventure element of mountaineering is still very important to me today. Using these experiences and people skills developed during my time at Lancaster I now operate as a IFMGA Alpine Guide in the UK and across the European Alps.
My summer season from June to September sees me guiding long alpine routes in the Alps and dashing home to instruct rock climbing in Snowdonia. I appreciate the diversity; one minute climbing majestic 4000m giants and the next hanging out on the sea cliffs of Anglesey. The big calling cards of Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn will always be popular, but I frequently find folk wish to climb a little further from the beaten track. My winter season from January to early May is a wonderful mixture of winter alpinism, ice climbing and ski touring. To watch clients ascending on ski to the summit of some remote alpine peak and then descending 'over the back' into an untracked bowl is certainly hard to beat. I seem to work with a variety of people; from introducing 11 year olds to ice climb in Scotland to maximising a busy professionals precious time off, its a rich tapestry of work and it's fair to say I love my job.

Mark runs his own instructing and guiding service. Check out his website www.markwalkermountaineering.co.uk or Mark Walker Mountaineering on Facebook.