We had the pleasure of speaking to Sam Marsland, a qualified Mountain Leader based in the Lake District, about his background and outdoor experience.
Have you always been drawn to the great outdoors?
I have always played sports; football, cricket, cross country running etc but I was never particularly interested in the outdoors as a teen - but I don't think I was even aware of it so much. At sixth form, I did a Public Services diploma that introduced me to hill walking and outdoor activities initially.
What made you want to become a Mountain Leader and how long have you been doing this for?
I have been a qualified Mountain Leader since 2015. I qualified after graduating from university in 2014 with a BA Hons in Outdoor Leadership. I became a leader to show people our beautiful places, but mostly to offer education around the mountains and I offer courses for those looking for knowledge about the mountain environment.
What is it you love about rock climbing?
I love the movement, the fluidity and ultimately the enjoyment it brings. But mostly I love the mountaineering aspect, completing a journey and being somewhere wild, such as the high mountain crags. I am based in the Lakes and I love Gimmer, Gable, Scafell and Pillar.
What do you find most challenging when climbing?
I like the challenge of dealing with all different aspects you are presented with whilst climbing. From the logistics, to the route planning, navigation, route finding and everything your brain has to deal with on the lead. Climbing is mentally tiring, it's not all about the physicality.
Do you prefer the summer or winter months for mountaineering?
Summer - I like the sun, and I like to be high on the mountain crags in dry weather. The summer allows for long mountain days with lots of different aspects, from navigation, to scrambling and climbing and eventually reaching a summit - the whole process is a journey with a purpose and a goal.
Tell us about your favourite story from being an outdoor instructor.
My favourite story to tell is when people asked about the training we went through when preparing to guide groups onto the highest summit in Iceland. I like to tell them that we prepared by purposely jumping on, and breaking the snow bridges of the crevasses so we could practice hoisting each other out. It was a little bit mad!
Where is the most exciting location you’ve climbed?
Without a doubt, Yosemite. Wow. This place is massive, the climbing is technically challenging and the scenery is awe inspiring. I am particularly proud of being overtaken by Kevin Jorgensen on Royal Arches (he was soloing, and moving very fast).
Where is next on your list to hike or climb?
Once everything has calmed down and we can travel again, Norway is on my list. Lofoten looks amazing and the granite towers look inspiring.
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of having a go at rock climbing for the first time?
Hire an instructor and get the basics right - this will help you gain a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that you can build upon safely going forward!
You can visit Sam’s guide page to view his trips, availability and information here.