Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Avalanche Avoidance

Now winter is arriving its time to start thinking about avalanches and how to avoid them. Here is a really nice film thats a great place to start.

Know Before You Go from Trent Meisenheimer on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Year in the Mountains 2015

A Year in the Mountains 2015 - available now on YouTube

Its that time of year where we stop and look back at the year gone by and for the last 3 years I have done that with a film - and this year is no exception.
Those that have watched previous films will notice that this years is shorter than the previous ones. That is partly because peoples attention spans are getting smaller and partly because I have been to slightly less places!

In 2014 I woke up one day in July (I remember exactly which day because it was my birthday) with a sore knee. I ignored it and took painkillers and unsurprisingly it got worse. To cut a long story short most of 2015 has been planned around letting my knee recover - and it is, albeit much more slowly than I would like! Our trip to Patagonia in November was a real test and it stood up to it well.

The year has taught me the need for a living that doesn't entirely depend on my knees and I have been developing my mountain filming. Its been a great year with projects for the BBC, ITV and many more. My biggest passion in life is sharing the mountains and film is an extra medium that allows me to do that.

In 2016 you will see that the diary is slightly smaller than it has been, with less courses being run. My body has told me that 300 days a year in the mountains is not sustainable. I am also relying on my good friend and fellow instructor Huw to work with me on many courses. That way we can keep sharing adventures, giggles and tea & cakes for a few more years to come.

I am grateful to everyone that has shared their mountain adventures with us this year and I am looking forward to sharing more in 2016. If there is one thing that injury has taught me its that you can't beat being out in the mountains!

I hope you have a great Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.

All the best


Monday, December 07, 2015

Scrambling in Cwm Idwal

I have been scrambling in Snowdonia today, joined by Matt and Lou and enjoying some blue skies! It was a joy to be out and we spent the day looking at movement coaching in ascent and decent, as well as talking  through risk management and careers in the Outdoor Industry. Thanks both for a great day with no waterproofs required!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

After the Rain

The weather forecast for today was looking good and I was keen to get out on the hills after a week of containment! I got up early but the weather was not quite as planned so enjoyed a sociable cup of tea in the Siabod Cafe with everyone else who was waiting for the weather to break!

Once the rain stopped I enjoyed a nice walk from the North Coast back to the Ogwen Valley over the Carneddua, doing some filming along the way. Heres a couple of stills from the footage:

Friday, December 04, 2015

Between the Sunset and the Sea

Its not often I write a book review, in fact I can't remember ever having written one before. Thats probably got something to do with the fact that I don't do a lot of reading. I normally take a book away on expeditions and read it on the plane or whilst sitting at airports but that only dispatches two or three each year and many are left half finished.

This time of year is quiet for outdoor instructors. I tend to either hibernate or head to the Alps in December and this year I am hibernating. I keep threatening to head North to Scotland but after not trying very hard to find climbing partners so far I have convinced myself that its too windy and too wet. Its a good opportunity to give tired joints a rest, play at the climbing wall and to catch up on admin. Which is why I have started reading a book.

Between the Sunset and the Sea is written by Simon Ingram. He is the editor of Trail Magazine but no I didn't get it for free. I bought it online. The fact that I know Simon was probably part of the reason that I bought the book but its not the reason I'm recommending it to you.

The book is a journey through 16 mountains, from South Wales to Northern Scotland and written from the perspective of someone who has a self professed fear of heights but a deep appreciation for the history of the mountains. This book is written by someone intelligent, far more intelligent than the person currently reading it. I have read some of Simons work in Trail but by the end of the first chapter in this book I realised he was far more than a magazine editor - he is a wordsmith.

Simon will take you on a physical, psychological and historical journey on each mountain that he climbs. My favourite chapter so far is the one dedicated to Crib Goch.

"Its an angrier landscape than the Lake District, and more claustrophobic than the Scottish Highlands, one of geological menace and home to a more chilling breed of outdoor adventure than the Lake District's cuddly persona. It seems to say that if you want to find small animals wearing floral dresses and drinking tea, go to the Lakes. If you want dark, cold rock that hates you, go to Snowdonia"

I also enjoyed his description of mountain vernacular.

"A certain amount of understatement is required if you want to capture the severity of the task at hand in a suitably humble manner: hence frequent use of, for example,  "a bit rough", "a lively wind" and "a couple of interesting bits" to describe something that most people would describe as twelve hours spent on a terrifying cliff in a hurricane."

Its not a book you will read from cover to cover without wanting to put it down - its more intelligent than that. You will want to read a chapter whilst sat in your favourite wing back chair and drinking a glass of port. You can then look forward to repeating the process the following evening, by my reckoning giving 16 glasses of port to enjoy in the process!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Patagonia Film

Here is the film that I have put together of our trip to Patagonia this month - I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Lake District

I have been up in the Lake District for the weekend with my good friend Terry. We primarily visited for the Kendal Mountain Film Festival and having been inspired by some of the best adventure films in the UK at the moment we then enjoyed a snowy walk over the Langdale Pikes on Sunday morning. Its not often I get to the Lakes - I should go more often!

Patagonia - Thank You

Dear Rob,

Patagonia 2015 - Billed as ‘The Expedition of a Lifetime’; well, you undersold it big style!

It was much more than that; in fact there are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to adequately describe just how fantastic our excursion to South America really was.

Twelve intrepid trekkers (well sort of);  comparative strangers at the outset, characters throughout and new friends at the end. Led by you and Huw along with local guides, Louise, in Argentina and Christian, in Chile through some of the most sensational scenery - the spires of Fitz Roy and the Torre Del Paine National Park; and natural phenomena - the Moreno and Grey Glaciers and the icebergs on Grey Lake, on the planet....to mention a few!

Together with wonderful weather from the Gods, fun by the minute, memories to treasure and organisation personified; it simply couldn’t have been any better.

Can’t thank you enough for making it all possible and great to have shared the adventure with you, ‘Matron’, Sam, Rachel, Charlie, Smally, Steve, Paul, John, Roddy and Huw.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Patagonia Book

I have put together a book of my favourite landscape photographs from our trip to Patagonia which you can view and buy here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Our New Film - Live, Work & Breathe

Snowdonia National Park - Live - Work - Breathe from Rob Johnson - Filmuphigh on Vimeo.

This is the latest film I have made through my filming business, Filmuphigh.com. It was made to be shown in the Ogwen Valley visitor centre. It needed to work with our without an audio track and be something that people could pick up and put down without watching the whole story.
It celebrates the beauty, freedom and breathing space of the Snowdonia National Park and in particular the Ogwen Valley from the perspective of those who live, work and breathe in these beautiful mountains. National Parks were originally envisaged as a place to breathe in the UK and we wanted to capture that in this film.
Music: Step Outside by Ki:Theory
Reproduced under license

I hope you enjoy it! 

Monday, November 16, 2015


I have spent an amazing two weeks in Patagonia running our first expedition to this awe-inspiring place. Patagonia has long been on my bucket list of places to visit and it did not disappoint! I might even go so far as to say that its the most amazing place I have ever been.

Huw and I were joined by Rachel, Janet, Sam, Simon, Charlie, Steve, Roddy, Bob, Paul and John for the trip which started in Argentina with a trek around the base of Fitz Roy. We had incredible weather with blue skies, sunshine and very little of the legendary Patagonian winds. The food was amazing, consisting mainly of steak and Malbec, even whilst camping!

For the second week we moved across the border to Chile and visited the Torres del Paine National Park. Our 6 day trek was a bigger version of the world famous W Circuit, with an additional day visiting the Bader Valley with a wild camp at the climbers campground in some magnificent surroundings. Again we had incredible weather - only needing waterproofs for 4 hours on the entire trek and with little in the way of wind.

I will be putting together a film of the trip and will post it here once I have finished it. In the meantime here are some photos to whet your appetite. (I took over 4000 photos - that's how good it was!)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Off to Patagonia

Huw and I are heading off to Patagonia now, running our newest expedition to this amazing looking land! I will be out of contact until the 16th November so apologise for any inevitable delays in responding to emails. My wife will still be contactable on 01248 209576 or expeditionguidekate@gmail.com

Private Guiding

We have been joined by regular client Julia for 3 days of climbing and scrambling this week, here in Snowdonia. She has managed to squeeze in a trip to see us between mountaineering jet setting trips around the globe, probably just to make us jealous of all the amazing places she has been recently :-)

Mountain Skills Course

October is a great month for learning navigation and this week kicked off with our Mountain Navigation course here in Snowdonia, learning the essential skills of navigation and movement through the mountains.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mountain Leader Re-Assessment

I have been out with Lilly today who was being re-assessed for one day to complete her Mountain Leader qualification. She had done her original assessment with me earlier in the year and for the re-assessment I hooked her up with 5 volunteer clients and she gave them a great day out up Tryfan. It was beautiful with the autumn colours and swirling clouds - thanks very much to the kind volunteers - Hannah, Ben, Mark, Neil and Matt who gave up their day to be lead around the hills.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MRT Training in the Pass

I have been out with LLMRT this morning, doing some First Aid and rescue training in the Llanberis Pass - it wasn't quite as dry as promised but it didn't stop us enjoying ourselves.