Getting down is mandatory.

'The Summit is Optional'? That's a strange name for a mountaineering business isn't it? Perhaps. But it is one half of the famous quotation by the American mountaineer, Ed Viesturs. That's a personal philosophy that Ed lives by and it's one that we share.

Mountain guiding and climbing courses in Snowdonia, the Lake District, Yorkshire, the Peak District and Scotland with a fully qualified Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor (WMCI)

“Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” This is the philosophy that underlies all the mountain guiding and climbing courses that we offer. While our courses all have plenty of physical and technical challenge, battling the elements, enjoyment and fun, underlying them all is our desire and intention to give you the skills to enjoy the mountains safely, by becoming self-reliant and making sound decisions. After all, it’s only if you get down safely that you get to go back another time.

There are so many special moments to be had in the mountains. Sometimes, being on the summit is an essential part of this enjoyment and achievement. Very often that’s at the heart of why people want to climb mountains. But not always. Sometimes there is just as much satisfaction and enjoyment to be had without actually getting to the top – appreciating the stunning landscapes, the incredible geology, the amazing flora and fauna, or simply enjoying the peace to ‘get away from it all’. So our other intention is to make sure you get as much as possible from our courses, in a way that suits you, whether we get to the summit or not. The summit really is optional.

About me

Hello and thank you for looking me up. My name is Patrick Hickie and I’ve been mountaineering and climbing for over 30 years now. It’s a big achievement and privilege to be a fully qualified Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (WMCI) (formerly called MIC) and a member of our professional organisation, the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. The WMCI is the highest UK national qualification covering all aspects of climbing and mountaineering. I’ve also held both the Summer and Winter Mountain Leader certificates for over 20 years. In addition, I’m proud to be a fully qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) and member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders. Mountaineering and climbing are broad activities and I’ve been involved in many aspects of these including hill walking; scrambling; ‘trad’ and sport rock climbing; winter climbing (both ice and mixed); Alpine mountaineering; ski-touring; and expeditions to the greater ranges. Some good fortune has seen me on first and second ascent expeditions in the Himalayas and climbing in corners of the world as far flung as Alaska, Patagonia and New Zealand. I’ve climbed and ski-toured in the Alps and Norway, and, nearer to home, been mountaineering and rock climbing all over the UK from the sea cliffs of Cornwall to the north face of Ben Nevis.

All this should therefore mean two things for you. First, as an experienced mountaineering and climbing instructor I’ve plenty of experience to pass on to you to help make you a self-reliant and safe mountaineer. Second, I know my way around very many (but by no means all!) of the best hills, mountains and cliffs that the UK has to offer. As a result, whatever the time of year, whatever the weather and whatever your goals, I will be able to choose the right place to enable you to get the best out of your course – which is as it should be.

Mountain Guiding and Climbing Courses

All of our mountain guiding and climbing courses are bespoke (but not expensive), tailored to meet your needs, involving any combination of the activities listed on the Indoor Climbing,  Summer Mountaineering and Winter Mountaineering pages. We regularly run courses in Wales (usually Snowdonia), the Lake District, the Peak District and Scotland.

Rather than offer pre-set courses, we would prefer to talk to you about your personal aims and objectives, your current level of experience and ability, and what you are looking for from the course. Together, we can then agree the most appropriate course content. Starting prices are shown on the relevant activity’s page.

Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor - Snowdonia, Lake District, Yorkshire, Peak District and Scotland