Our trip with Andy in Chamonix and Zermatt

It’s easy to write a post about Andy’s truly vast knowledge of conditions, weather, techniques, equipment, geography, terrain, flora, fauna, logistics, history, languages, physics, psychology and human nature — and how all these things combine in the mountains. Or to rattle on about what an even tempered, patient, interesting and delightful person he is. What I was blocking on until just this moment, was how to convey his role in some challenging and transformative passages. I realized I just have to point to the first two sentences. He got us safely in and out and also intact as a family and as a team. We stretched. I took my two darlings (18 and 22 year old son and daughter) on a trip which I hoped would open new windows of view on the world, human experience and their own inner strengths and limitations. We got that plus much more with Andy’s help. He also wrestled gracefully with ridiculously complicated logistics resulting from my wanting to climb and bicycle almost simultaneously. I think the world of Andy and would feel lucky and safe with him on any adventure. I am certainly not exaggerating at all about his extraordinary knowledge. Somewhere along the line he got a PhD in engineering — which seems like a particularly good idea when one is dangling off the end of a line which he has secured. . . . Quite a guy. What an amazing experience we had with him!

We met Andy through Richard Mansfield of www.mountain-guides.net Richard also arranged a training day with the incomparable Isabelle Santoire who is also top flight, joyful and awesome. Yay for the gutsy women mountain guides! A very small and elite band.

All together our experience was beyond my imaginings. Many, many thanks to Andy for his care, intelligence and patience!