Mountain Expertise - Mountaineering & Climbing Instruction based in Snowdonia

About Mountain Expertise

Rock Climbing in the Dolomites

I'm Kath James and I run Mountain Expertise.

So, what do I offer and what are my values?

I offer guiding and instruction in the UK. Mainly in North Wales but also in Scotland. I am curious about the world we live in and think about my work in a curious manner too. Always reflecting and taking time to figure out what was great and what could be improved next time. I like to have fun, and have a great selection of really bad jokes to share with my clients! Sharing days in the mountains or on the crags is always special. Climbing and mountaineering provide great opportunities for peace and quiet as well as fun and laughter. 

My core values are;

Curiosity - I'm curious about people, if I get to know what makes someone tick I can provide them with the right type of day. I'm curious about climbing and discovering new places, techniques and challenges. Curious to help you discover and enjoy the mountains and crags. 

Humour - Having fun is part of a day out in the mountains, even when it is lashing with rain! 

Humility - I strive to be my best, no one can know everything. I am reflective in my practise as an instructor and strive to keep on learning.

Open mindedness - I'm open to new ideas and always keen to see others point of view. 

A little about my climbing and mountaineering experience

I hold the Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor qualification, formerly the MIC and International Mountain Leader. I am a full member of AMI and a registered member of the Mountain Instructors Community.

I have personal climbing and instructing experience throughout the UK. Now I live in North Wales for most of the year, migrating to Scotland during the winter to enjoy all that Scotland has on offer.

As a keen rock climber the draw of the sea cliffs on Anglesey and the easy access cragging in Snowdonia make this a great place to live. I have climbed all over the world, highlights include; North face of the Eiger, Big Walls in Yosemite, 4000m summits in the Alps, adventure climbing in Jordan and expedition climbing in Kenya. I have spent numerous winters in Scotland enjoying the more remote regions of the north west highlands, as well as spending plenty of time in the Cairngorms and around Ben Nevis ice and mixed climbing and winter mountaineering. I have also spent time ski mountaineering in the Alps and Morocco!

I started out helping with School mountineering trips, and whilst studying Geography at The University of Aberstwyth got more into climbing. At the end of the 3 years I headed to north Wales to be a Centre Assistant at Plas y Brenin, and so my career as an instructor began. After 15 months being immersed in climbing and instructing I worked as a freelancer, and then as an Instructor at the Kent Mountain Centre in Llanberis, followed by Ogwen Cottage.With this vital experience under my belt I then headed back to Plas y Brenin as an instrutor and then a senior instructor. I am currently working part time at Plas y Brenin and part time for myself and bringing up my family.

Check out the Women's Alpine Adventure Club for a lecture that I did during lockdown. If you want someone to do a lecture I can talk about various topics, from alpine climbing, to ski mountaineering and big wall calimbing. Get in contact to discuss your requirements.

- Why us? -

I prefer to talk to you and find out what your aspirations are and then plan a course from that. Experience of running named courses in the past has shown me that the product you get is better when it is totally bespoke. So I  offer rock climbing, scrambling, navigation, winter skills, winter mountaineering and winter climbing - it is simple, you choose the activity and talk to me about where you would like to go with it. I can then design the course or experience that suits you. I also include equipment hire in the price for the course so there are no hidden costs. 

- Our Staff -

 From time to time I will have other like minded instructors working on courses. They are people who I have worked closely with and who have a similar outlook and ethos to myself. 

- Venues - 

Snowdonia - most of the courses I run will be based in northern Snowdonia giving easy access to both the mountain crags and the sea cliffs on Anglesey.  It is best to base yourself around Capel Curig, Betws y Coed, Llanberis or Bethesda - most climbing areas are within 1/2 hour drive of these villages. If the weather in the mountains is poor then Anglesey and Tremadog often offer good dry alternatives. 

Scotland - I have good knowledge of a number of areas of Scotland in the winter. Depending on your aspirations I can be flexible in a base for your course. Get in contact with me to discuss the options. 

- Testimonials -

"Great photos Kathryn. Thanks again for the fabulous guiding. You make it look easy. I really appreciate your attention to detail and safety. I hope to return to Scotland again next year and will definitely contact you if that's the case." Andy Forbes - Boise, Idaho USA

“I had a good day out taking in more tips and skills, will get out and try some easy routes now, and hope to get some more days out with Paul so he can see some progress with my climbing”

Julian Inns - Telford

“Can you thank you again for a great weekend - although the weather was shocking, I think everyone really enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Craig Govan - Derby

“Sarah and I had a really great day's climbing on Saturday.  We got some great tuition, some great climbing and were pushed out of comfort zones!”

Sarah and Ginnie - London

“Thanks so much for the course, it was a lot of fun and gave me a lot of confidence! We went back to the RAC area on Sunday and did some practice aiding.”

Jo Robbings - Imperial University Mountaineering Club - Jo went on to successfully summit the Nose a few months later

“Thanks for the course Kath, the other guys loved it, so did we. Thanks so much for all your help.”

Tom Wheeler - Devon - Tom has successfully climbed Washington Column and Half Dome since the course.