climbing collage

Rob Collister: International Mountain Guide

1 Trecastell Terrace, Henryd, Conwy, North Wales, LL32 8EZ, UK
+44 (0)1492 582448

Rob Collister is a very experienced and well respected UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain Guide; Rob has been qualified and guiding since 1976.


Rob CollisterRob says ...

"For 2016 I have a programme of courses and journeys taking place in July, all suitable for newcomers to alpine mountaineering. I also provide instruction or guiding at whatever level and wherever individuals, pairs or small groups wish – it may be trips on glaciated terrain, beginners Alpine climbing, classic routes for experienced climbers or one to one Alpine climbs.


Give me a call and let's see if we can work out a venue and plan something suitable for your experience and aspirations. If you have an idea I can help you flesh it out and make it a reality. If you don't have an idea, just an urge to do something different or go somewhere high or remote, contact me or take a look at some of the ideas suggested below.


In July 2016 I shall be leading an alpine trek with ecologist Dr Rod Gritten ... details below."


Have rope will travel!


Guiding qualifications & experience
UIAGM logoThe UIAGM (Union International Association des Guides de Montagne) guide qualification is the highest professional award in mountaineering and the only internationally recognised qualification for guiding in glaciated terrain, it is also known as IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association).


IFMGA/UIAGM guides are recognised worldwide to lead rock/ice climbing, mountaineering, off-piste skiing and ski mountaineering. Rob also holds the MIC (Mountain Instructor Certificate), a UK only qualification for guiding and instructing groups in multi-pitch rock climbing, winter climbing, hillwalking, mountaineering and snow and ice climbing.


Rob's guiding trips and expeditions over the last few years have included:

– rock climbing on Mount Kenya

– ski touring in Corsica

– wilderness backpacking in Canada

– trekking in Bhutan

– climbing volcanoes in Ecuador

– ski-mountaineering in the Indian Himalayas, West Coast of Canada and Turkey


Rob is also one of the Wild Wales team, offering walking, scrambling and climbing weekends in North Wales, take a look here and see what they have to offer.


Summer 2016: Courses & Tours
2nd–9th July: Alpine Ecology Journey

A six-day hut to hut tour around the Gspaltenhorn in the Swiss Bernese Oberland on which I will be joined by an ecologist, Dr Rod Gritten. The pace will allow time to observe wildlife, contemplate landforms and glacial recession and examine an extraordinarily rich flora.


Two days will be above the snow-line, crossing a high col and reaching a glaciated but straightforward summit of 3234 m. Starting and finishing in Lauterbrunnen, three nights will be spent in alpine huts and two in simple mountain hotels. The scenery throughout is as fine as anywhere in the Alps with outstanding views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau north faces and the famous Lauterbrunnen Wall.


This week is aimed at fit, confident hill-goers who would like to learn more about the alpine environment. Previous experience with ice-axe and crampons is useful but not essential. A helmet is advisable for one short rock wall which is descended with the aid of cables and chains. Below the snow-line the route is on way-marked paths.

alpine ecology collage

Cost: £830 This covers leaders' fees and expenses, seven nights' accommodation with half-board and local transport as required. It does not include travel from the UK, lunches, snacks and drinks.


For more details of any of these trips, or to book a place, please e-mail or give me a ring.


9th–16th July: Introduction to Alpinism

A six-day course based on the little village of Arolla in the Swiss Valais but four nights will be spent in huts.


The use of ice-axe and crampons, roping-up for glacier travel, route-finding, avalanche, crevasse and weather awareness will all be covered as the need for them arises along with hut etiquette and the use of maps and guide-books.


This week is for fit, experienced hill-walkers who would like to expand their horizons into bigger, more serious mountains.


Cost: £970 This includes Guide's fee and expenses, all accommodation with half-board (seven nights, three in a hotel, four in huts). It does not include travel from the UK, lunches, snacks and drinks.


16th–24th July: Haute Route

The Haute Route, the famous high-level glacier journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. Taking seven days, five nights will be spent in huts and one in a gite.


Previous experience with ice-axe and crampons is useful but not essential. No technical climbing is involved but this is definitely mountaineering rather than a walk and a good level of fitness is important.


Cost: £1080 This covers guide's fee and expenses, hotel in Chamonix at beginning and end, six nights in huts and gite with half-board, and bus and taxi as needed on the journey. It does not include travel from the UK, lunches, snacks and drinks, hotel in Chamonix at the beginning and end or train journey from Zermatt back to Chamonix.


A Beginners Guide to Alpine Mountaineering

For many hill-goers, and rock-climbers, too, a visit to the Alps is the logical next step after an initiation in Wales, the Lakes or Scotland. The big hills beckon. They are an arena offering challenge, commitment, achievement. But they are also natural cathedrals of stunning beauty and grandeur where one can feel very small and vulnerable. Under the influence of heat, thirst, altitude, adrenalin and fatigue, one can "tread the realms of enchantment" and return to earth feeling privileged and somehow enriched.


In Britain, we think of ourselves as going either walking or climbing, or perhaps scrambling. But in the Alps they are all forms of mountaineering. The Alps are, quite simply, hugely different to British hills, even Scottish ones in winter. Distances are so much greater, climbs so much longer, the consequences of bad weather or climbing slowly so much more serious. There is the debilitating effect of altitude, especially at first. There is the need to move together, sometimes in very exposed places, and to down-climb rather than always abseil in descent – skills rarely needed in Britain.


Then there are the effects of glaciation – the threat of ice-avalanches from seracs high above, the danger of concealed crevasses, and the need to travel roped most of the time.


There is much to learn about what to wear and what to carry, about using huts, about planning where to go and when, and what to attempt.


Rob Collister, a qualified Mountain Guide (UIAGM) for thirty years, discusses many of these topics in his article – A Beginners Guide to Alpine Mountaineering, read on ...


Example guiding & expeditions:

What follows are some suggestions for guided mountain trips in the Alps, alternatively, if there is something in particular you want to do that isn't mentioned below, why not contact Rob to discuss its feasibility.


Glacier journeys
– such as the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt or a traverse of the Bernese Oberland – at a ratio of 1:4 max.


Introduction to Alpine climbing
– technical instruction for complete beginners, plus some easier climbs – at a ratio of 1:3 max.


Classic climbs
– such as the Zinal Rothorn, the Dufourspitze on Monte Rosa or the traverse of Mont Blanc de Cheilon – for those with some previous experience – at a ratio of 1:2.


More serious climbs
– for instance the Grand Combin, Mitellegi Ridge on the Eiger, Dent Blanche or any route on the Matterhorn – at a ratio of 1:1.


Guiding costs

Alpine daily rate: £260 per day plus living expenses (approx £30/day when staying in huts).

UK daily rate: £160 per day for one £180 per day for two £200 per day for three or more.