Meet some of our Expedition Leaders & Mountain Instructors

We are very proud to employ a small number of the UK’s very best and most experienced freelance Instructors, Expedition Leaders and Guides. They are carefully and personally selected to deliver our UK Instructing & Guiding, Worldwide Expeditions and Expedition Specific Training.

All of our freelance leaders are chosen on their individual merits which we base on their mix of vast mountain experience, interpersonal skills and of course, qualifications:

  • Summer/Winter Mountain Leaders (SML/WML)
  • Rock Climbing Instructors (RCI)
  • Mountaineering & Climbing Instructors (MCI/WMCI)
  • International Mountain Leaders (IML)
  • International Mountain Guides (IFMGA)
  • Wilderness First Responders (WFR)
  • Mountain First Aid (FA)
  • Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT)

Mountain Expeditions leaders are quite simply the best in the business and we will pair you with the leader that is the most suited to helping you achieve your goals. Our leaders and guides are both friends as well as colleagues, they understand the Mountain Expeditions ethos and always deliver to the highest standard. Here’s a selection of some of them:


Jon Gupta (WMCI(t), MCI, WML, FA)

Jon is the founder of Mountain Expeditions and has lead all of the Worldwide Expeditions on offer numerous times. Over the past 14+ years he has organised, climbed, guided and summited mountains on over 100+ major expeditions all over the world. This includes organising and leading the current world speed record for the 7 summits and guiding a client on six 8000m peaks (including K2) in just 7 months.  In 2022 he organied a expedition to Kanchenjuna and Makalu successfully summting both and becoming the only Brit to have guided the worlds Top 5 highest mountains. In 2018 guided Everest, lead the first team ever to finish the Yukon Arctic Ultra 430 mile race, set a new British speed record on Kilimanjaro of 8hrs 11mins and ran around the iconic Bob Graham Round in 22hrs 28 mins!

His passion for all things mountains and expeditions started young and his enthusiasm for sharing this with his clients is impressively never ending. 

Jon has an unprecedented track record of success at high altitude and is always either in the mountains climbing, skiing and guiding, or planning a trip (or more often – both!). Recently Jon has been enjoying delivering keynote speeches and inspirational talks to schools, private audiences and large corporate events.

Notable Ascents: Toubkal (x4), Mont Blanc, Elbrus (x14), Mt Meru, Kilimanjaro (x37), Carstensz Pyramid (x2), Mt Kenya (Batian), Kangchung 6069m, Louche East, Kyajo Ri 6186m (New route high point 5900m), Island Peak (x7), Ama Dablam (x13), Mera Peak (x2), Cotopaxi, Aconcagua (x3), Denali (x2), Peak Korjenevskaya, Peak Lenin (x3), Khan Tengri, Peak Pobeda 7439m (High point 7350m!), Peak Communism, Nuptse 7861m (High point 7600m), Lhotse, Everest (North x1 & South x3), Makalu (x2), Manalsu, Dhaulagiri, K2 and Kanchenjunga. Plus expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, Jordan, Namibia, Ecuador and Bolivia.


Zac Poulton (WMCI, MCI, WML, FA)

Zac is a one of the most highly regarded and experienced mountain instructors and expedition guides in the UK. He is a mountaineer, climber, skier, ultra runner and photographer based in the sunny Lake District.

Working as an expedition guide Zac has safely led a total of 27 people above 8000m including Everest (Northside). Other notable ascents have included an early ascent of Baruntse 7201m, the 2nd British ascent of Himlung Himal 7126m, first ascents in Antarctica, Greenland & Scotland, a ski traverse of Greenland’s Liverpool Land, a ski expedition to the South Pole, multiple ascents of Antarctica’s Mt Vinson, a solo ascent of Ama Dablam and he’s guided 5 of the 7 summits.

He spent 4 years working as an Expedition Logistics & Operations Manager though he is currently one of the Fell Top Assessors for the Lake District National Park. Zac also specialises in mountain & polar film safety work and his credits include Planet Earth II, Life Story, Earths Natural Wonders II, Frozen Planet II, Sport Relief and Countryfile.

Notable Ascents – Everest (North), Cho Oyu, Baruntse (x2), Himlung Himal, Ama Dablam, Island Peak (x3), Lobuche East, Tent Peak, K2 Base Camp, Stok Kangri, Khan Tengri (C3), Peak Chapeyev (x3), Kilimanjaro (x2), Mt Meru, Mt Kenya (Pt Nelion), Aconcagua (x2), Carstensz Pyramid, Mt Vinson (x8), Mt Sublime, Peace Peak (1st ascent) Parrish Peak (2nd ascent), South Pole Last Degree Ski, 6 x Greenland expeditions including a full ski traverse of Liverpool Land, Plus expeditions to Siberia, Costa Rica, Canada, New Zealand & India.


Adele Pennington (WMCI, MCI, WML, FA)

Adele has been mountaineering for over 25 years and has racked up a phenomenal CV of expeditions. She was the 1st British woman to climb Everest twice, and has climbed more 8000m peaks than any other British woman! Adele is renowned for her infectious enthusiasm, whether it be a day out in Scotland in gnarly weather, or pushing hard on an 8,000m ascent.

Adele’s highlights include a winter ascent of Ama Dablam, new routes and first ascents of 3 summits in Bolivia’s Quimsa Cruz and becoming the first British woman to climb Manaslu foresummit (8,163m).

Based predominantly in Scotland she works on our UK Based Instructing & Guiding courses through the winter.

Notable Ascents – Kilimanjaro (x4), llimani, Pequeño Alpamayo, Huayna Potosi, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, Iliniza Norte, Kyajo Ri, Island Peak, Lobuche Peak, Mera Peak (x4), Ama Dablam, Lhakpa Ri, Denali, Aconcagua, Huascaran, Mount Cook, Mt Khuiten, Damavand, Vinson, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Gasherbrum II, Lhotse and Everest (twice!)

Rob Smith (WMCI, MCI, WEMT)

Originally from Northern Ireland and now based in Fort William, Scotland, Rob has been climbing in remote locations around the world for over 20 years.

Graduating from Scottish Winters to the Alps to the Greater Ranges, he has summited Mount Everest four times from the north and south sides. Other 8000m expeditions include K2, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Makalu and Manaslu. He has climbed 6 of the world’s 7 summits and spent an incredible 15 seasons in Antarctica, including a winter. On Denali he abandoned his summit to assist an ill climber. In Antarctica he has climbed new routes and peaks including Mount Vinson multiple times and Mount Sidley. He also skied to the South Pole from the coast.

Rob enjoys helping others fulfill their ambitions and he also enjoys sharing his passion for challenge and wild places. He lives in Scotland with his wife and young son and is a qualified Emergency Medical Technician and OffShore Medic.

Notable Ascents: Denali (x2), Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, Everest North & South (x4), K2, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Carstenz Pyramid, Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Peak Lenin, Peak Korjenevskaya, Vinson, Stok Kangri, Mt Toubkal, Elbrus (x2), Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Kharut Pyramid, Huayana Potosi, Illimani, Pequeno Alpamayo, Cabeza de Condor, Ala Derecha, Mt. Popocatepetl, South Pole, Last Degree ski, Mt Shinn 4660m, Sublime Peak, Winter ascent of Mount Liotard, Mount Sporli.


Tim Neill (IFMGA Guide, WMCI, FA)

Tim Neill is our go to British Mountain Guide – active, experienced, and current in all the traditional aspects of climbing and mountaineering….from rock climbing, through to mountaineering summer and winter, snow, ice and mixed climbing, to all aspects of alpinism from classic 4000ers to Grande Courses. He has oodles of experience and loves whichever he’s doing with equal passion.

He started climbing in Snowdonia, North Wales, where he’s managed most of the rock climbs in the book(!) from the juggiest easier ones to some of the harder E6s. (Many of them he’s done lots of times, with a few first ascents along the way!). The Scottish Winter is a big inspiration for Tim as well. Numerous classics from Torridon to Lochnagar, but especially Ben Nevis where he’s tallied well over a 100 different climbs from IV to VIII.  Tim has been Alpine climbing since the early 90s, every year enjoying ascents of classic peaks alongside technical routes. Highlights include many North Faces, the Peuterey Integral and Freney on Mt Blanc as well as summiting Fitzroy, Patagonia.

Tims own ethos marries perfectly with ours: guiding and instruction for people who have big goals just out of their own reach, or who simply want to have the best time they can climbing and mountaineering! Over the years he has guided for numerous well-respected outfits both in the UK and in the Alps, in addition to a long stint at Plas Y Brenin, training and assessing qualifications, and is currently involved with the training of fellow British Mountain Guides at their foundation level.

Away from the rock…Tim as done some fun work with the BMC too, delivering their Alpine Lectures, helped with the production of their Hill skills and Alpine Essentials DVDs, as well as helping to run some of their International rock climbing meets based in North Wales. He’s also had work published in Climb, Climber and Summit magazine, and also on-line at UKC.


Angus Kille (MCI, RCI, ML, FA)

Angus is one of Britain’s top all-round rock climbers, with 14 years of climbing experience and an impressive logbook to show for it. No stranger to the crags of North Wales, Angus has made bold ascents of numerous E9s in the area including a rare ascent of the infamous Indian Face. However, Angus’s climbing exploits aren’t limited to the traditional crags of North Wales, with European 9a sport routes under his belt, adventures to exotic Asian climbing areas and big wall ascents in Yosemite and Brazil.

Naturally, Angus specialises in teaching rock climbing and uses the enthusiasm and experience he has for pushing his own limits to coach others to push theirs. His experience in the Alps and on American big walls means he’s well accustomed to integrating rock climbing into the bigger objectives of the mountains. Anyone who has spent a day with Angus will remember his infectious passion for climbing.

Notable ascents: Indian Face E9 6c, Clogwyn D’ur Arddu; El Corazon 5.13b/8a (free), El Capitan; Mind Control 8c, Oliana, Spain; Trauma E9 7a, Llanberis Pass; Very Big Springs E7 6b (onsight), Ailladie, Ireland; Runnel Vision (big wall new route) Pedra Baiana, Brazil (attempt); The Colonist 8a+ (flash), Geyikbayiri, Turkey; Toubkal


Tom Lawfield (WMIC(t), MCI, IML, FA)

Tom loves helping people achieve their dreams in the mountains – whether that be on a skills course in the UK, or away on expedition: 

“I love my job for a lot of reasons, but I think the biggest is the sense of reward when people progress and achieve their goals. It’s so rewarding when I see someone learn a new know or get to a summit and I feel like I’ve been a part of making their dream happen.”

Tom is an MCI Trainee, International Mountain Leader, and BASI ISIA Level 3 Ski Instructor. Based in North Wales, Tom works in Snowdonia and the Highlands of Scotland in both summer and winter. Further afield, he has done eight ski seasons, including Austria, Switzerland as well as ski guiding on the volcanoes of Hokkaido, Japan. He has overwintered in Antarctica while working as a Field Guide for the British Antarctic Survey (2017 – 2019) and has led over 20 commercial expeditions, including trips to Spantik (7027m), Stok Kangri (6153m), Kilimanjaro (5895m), Elbrus (5642m), Aconcagua (6962m), Kinabalu (4095m) and Toubkal (4167m).

Personal trips have seen him cross Greenland on skis, complete a round of the Munros of Scotland, walk from Land’s End to John o’Groats with his Dad, ski tour along the spine of the Canadian Rockies and complete a solo crossing of Elbrus – as well as multiple ascents of many of the 4000m peaks of the European Alps.

Tom brings a relaxed charm to the groups he leads and loves nothing better than helping people realise their goals in the mountains – whether that be skiing, mountaineering or climbing! He juggles and loves pesto pasta (green obviously).

Notable ascents: Kanchenjunga, Spantik, Kilimanjaro (x4), Meru, Elbrus (x6) – south, north, traverse and ski, Toubkal (x2), Kinabalu (x2), Mont Blanc (x3), numerous 4000ers of the European Alps, Aconcagua (x2), Chimborazo, Cayambe, winter ascents of Liotard & Barré in Antarctica & an entire round of the Scottish Munros!


Rebecca Coles (WMCI, MCI, IML, WEMT)

Becky lives for the mountains, the fresh air & the opportunity to share the mountain environment with others. Taking her skills to new & exciting places is part of her drive to deliver amazing experiences every time.

When in the UK Becky splits her time between the Peak District, North Wales and the West Coast of Scotland, travelling around the country in her van, Vanessa.

She has climbed on all 7 continents and been to over 75 countries! Many of her expeditions have been at high altitude and she has summited peaks to 7000m+. Remote expeditions have taken her to South Georgia, the Antarctic, Central Asia including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and she has led expeditions in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan. Becky has made 5 first ascents including Lasarmula (6246m) in the far west of Nepal. Her idea of a perfect expedition involves beautiful, 6000m-ish unclimbed peaks (and some suffering!).

Becky is a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, British Association of International Mountain Leaders, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on the Mount Everest Foundation and Alpine Club expedition committee. She has a PhD in Glacial Geomorphology. To summarise, she’s pretty phenomenal.

Notable ascents: Peak Lenin, Aconcagua (x2), Kilimanjaro (x2), Elbrus, Mount Kenya, Toubkal. Uganda – Mount Elgon. Nepal – Naya Kanga, Pisang, first ascent of Lasarmula, EBC, Langtang, ABC, Manaslu Circuit. Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan including a major second ascent. Mongolia Altai including Khuiten, South Georgia x4 first ascents, Tajikistan x2 first ascent attempt. Trekking in Alaska, New Zealand, Borneo, Indonesia, Iceland, John Muir trail, USA, Peru, Patagonia, South Africa, Zambia, Oman, Jordan & China. She’s also climbed 56 x 4000m peaks in the Alps!


Simon Edwards (WMCI, MCI, FA)

Based in North Wales, Simon works in Snowdonia and the Highlands of Scotland in both summer and winter. He started his career in the outdoors as a guide in the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains, working through winter leading trips up to the highest peaks of mainland Spain which included Mulhacen and Valeta. Since then, he has led trips to Morocco, Ecuador, India and Nepal and is always looking for his next adventure.

In the last few years he has facilitated successful ascents of Mt Toubkal and Mera Peak and he’s now planning some more ascents in the Atlas Mountains and the Himalayas (among other mountain ranges).

Simon has another aspect to his career as he develops rigging systems for outdoor theatrical aerial performances. His rigging systems enable dancers to perform on high sided buildings, cliffs and in trees around the world.

Prior to all of this however, Simon was a chef in the British Army for 15 years where he lived and travelled across the globe, from Central America to Africa to Indonesia. His extensive personal travel experiences gives him a broad base upon which he draws, when leading expeditions.

Notable ascents: Toubkal, Mera Peak, Pico Veleta and Mulhacen in winter. Trekking in India including the Markha valley circuit trek and trekking around the Dhauladhar range.


Mark Hendry (WMCI, MCI, WML, FA)

Mark has been fortunate to travel widely leading mountaineering and sea kayaking expeditions around the world from Patagonia to the Himalayas. He has worked in the mountaineering industry for the past thirty years and currently combines work as a seismic mountaineer in the Middle East with guiding and technical advising.

He is a fully qualified Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (WMCI), he holds a caving leadership awards and he is a very enthusiastic BCU Sea Kayak and Inland Kayak Coach!

Mark has a penchant for ice climbing trips to Europe (15 times!), winter seasons in Canadian Rockies, summer climbing in Alps and new routing summer and winter.

Notable ascents: Cotopaxi, Illiniza Norte, Ama Dablam, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro (x3), Mt Meru (x5) and Mera Peak. Expeditions to: Alaska, Yukon, NW Territories, Queen Charlotte Islands, Cascades, High Andes in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Nepal, Tibet, China, Caucasus, Yemen, Kurdistan, Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Norway and Iceland. Mark has also completed a source to sea kayak descent of Rio Serrano in Torres del Paine and undertook a sea kayak expedition to Arctic Norway.

Alex Langdon (MCI, WML, IML, FA)

Alex is a qualified Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor (MCI) and International Mountain Leader (IML). Most of the time she can be found living and working as a freelance instructor and guide in the Alps although she also travels extensively leading expeditions to the High Atlas Mountains, the South American Andes and the Himalayas. When she ventures onto British soil she works with youth groups running Duke of Edinburgh training and assessment courses.

Alex thinks that she is incredibly fortunate to work in the mountains, even on the rainy days. She first completed the Tour Du Mont Blanc in the late 1980’s backpacking with a friend and she has now lost count of how many times she has trekked or run the route since (and still love every minute!)

She is a firm favourite with our groups and recently received more outstanding feedback: “Alex was an A++ guide. She was highly motivating, very steady under fire, and brought a personal care and charm to the adventure that was integral to our experience. She treated everyone involved with respect and is amazing at what she does” John Jaeger (Kilimanjaro)

Notable ascents: Kyajo Ri, Mera Peak (x2), Island Peak (x2), Pokalde, Lobuche East, North Col of Everest, Lhakpa Ri, Aconcagua (x2), Khuitan & Nairandel, Dhaulagiri Circuit & Damphus Peak, Kilimanjaro, Mt Mgoun.


Emma Linford (IML, FA)

Emma, known as Em, is passionate about helping people realise their dreams and explore their potential. Whilst working she delivers key environmental and cultural messages about the challenging and sometimes extreme environments that she operates in. She has a love for the Arctic, and for ten years selected, trained and led personnel on arctic expeditions including the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Em has worked with a huge variety of people and has to date, led 20 overseas youth expeditions and over 30 adult expeditions. She’s worked in almost every condition and environment on earth, from the sea ice of the high Arctic, to the African bush, via the jungle and high altitude mountains – she’s certainly a well rounded International Mountain Leader to say the least! After all this experience she has of course developed a thoroughly adaptable leadership style and has a high level of competency which blends both technical and interpersonal skills.

When in the UK Em currently splits her time between Wales and the Peak District facilitating corporate leadership programmes as well as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Outside of work Em has explored her own limits of endurance and resilience through expedition style team and solo adventure racing, and was a sponsored cross country mountain biker. Nowadays however her continuing passion is multi-day hut to hut mountain running, mostly in Europe, as well as sharing stories with others over a beer!

Em is a member of the British Association of Mountain Leaders, holds the four day WMT Advance Medicine Remote first aid qualification and is an Accredited Practitioner with the Institute of Outdoor Learning.

Notable ascents: Kilimanjaro (x5), Mera Peak, Ruminahui, Kinabalu, Toubkal, Gran Paradiso. Arctic Expeditioning in Northwest Passage, Siberia Yamal Peninsula crossing and Svalbard (x5). Trekking in the Himalaya (Annurpurna, Dhauladar, Hampta pass and Baralachala), Cuba, China (x2), Sinai, Peru (x3), Slovenia, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Swaziland (x2), Namibia, Zambia, Botswana (x2), Tanzania Rift Valley (x3), Madagascar, Borneo, Morocco (x3), Costa Rica and Belize.


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