Thursday, 25 January 2007

The Team

Tufa The most important team member is a 6 year old half Husky, half German Shepherd. At present she is the mascot for the Spanish under 15 Cricket Team (yes cricket is played in Spain) and she loves to travel.

Even though she only has 3 legs (hit by a 4x4 a few years ago) she does like to chase the sheep in North Wales and the rabbits in France.

She will be fitted with a special harness for this adventure so she can help to carry water for the boys.

Rich Mayfield “I first read the full list of Hard Rock routes over 20 years ago. To try and climb them all in one trip is possibly the greatest climbing adventure in Britain that I can think of!

Rich was born in North Wales in the late 60s and spent much of his youth climbing and walking in the Welsh hills. After distinguished service in the Army, he relocated to Spain 5 years ago where he works as a full-time climbing instructor. It was, he says 'best move I ever made'.

Rich joined the Army shortly after leaving school in 1986, and lived in West Germany for six years, before passing the All Arms Commando Course and moving to Plymouth to serve with 3 Commando. He worked at the Army Mountain Training Centre in the Harz Mountains of West Germany, and was an instructor on many expeditions and adventurous training programs.

In 1994 he was invited to participant in the infamous British Army Expedition to Borneo, to descend the North side of Mt Kinabalu via an area known as “Low’s Gully”. The expedition was a spectacular debacle; no communications, poor weather, inappropriate planning, training and equipment, lead to the disintegration of the expedition. Rich was one of the few to facilitate his own escape, but only after an eight day period with no food. His escape initiated the largest ever peacetime mountain rescue operation which involved over one thousand British and Malayan military personnel in a race against time to find the remaining members of the expedition.

The aftermath of this expedition was acrimonious but Rich was exonerated received a formal commendation for bravery. With a successful book about the expedition and his escape from the jungle under this belt Rich has since left the Army and concentrated on a career in the outdoor industry.

He has been a qualified climbing instructor since 1987 and his personal climbing experience is vast which takes in his early beginnings in Wales, then to Germany and the South West of England. His most recent travels have taken him to climb in Peru, Bolivia, Norway, Morocco, Tunisia, Russia, USA, Oman and closer to home in the French Alps and the Spanish Pyrenees.

Rich remains an active member of the Army Mountaineering Association and still regularly instructs and coaches members of the British Armed Forces. He ownes and runs The Orange House on the Costa Blanca, accommodation and guiding experts.

Mark Stevenson

“Despite spending 12 years climbing throughout Britain there are still dozens of the most amazing climbs in remote locations I’ve never even visited. Climbing these 60 routes will be like compressing a lifetime of climbing into one summer. Given the British weather, everyone seems to think we’d be crazy to consider even trying it over 3 months let alone 5 weeks! Whatever happens this is going to be an adventure...”

Mark was born in Dundee in Scotland in the mid 1970s. As a youth he spent his summers exploring the Scottish Highlands as member of the local Scout troop. At University he progressed from hill walking onto rock climbing and mountaineering and has been climbing mountains, cliffs, outcrops, boulders and frozen waterfalls ever since.

A capable scholar, Mark studied electronic engineering at Cambridge University before being tempted by the active lifestyle of an Officer in the British Army. After initial officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he joined the Corps of Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers and was awarded the DEME(A) Sword as the best officer of his intake.

Mark has served in both the UK and Germany and has completed operational tours in both Kosovo and Northern Ireland. He currently holds the rank of Captain and is employed as a specialist aircraft engineering officer with the Apache Attack Helicopter Project Team.

In 1998, Mark made the first British ascents of two 6000metre peaks in the remote Pamir Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Since then, as an active member of the Army Mountaineering Association he has instructed on numerous expeditions worldwide and in 2002 led a major Army climbing expedition to the USA. In 2006 he was part of the successful British Services Big Wall expedition to Yosemite. He is currently short listed to participate in the next British Services’ Expedition to the Himalayas in 2008 which will attempt the taxing South East Ridge of Makalu, the world’s 5th highest mountain.

For the last four years Mark has been ranked as one of the top 3 sport climbers within the entire Armed Forces and has regularly represented the British Army in national and international indoor climbing competitions.

Mark has been a qualified climbing instructor for 9 years and has still not lost his enthusiasm for introducing new participants to rock climbing or for visiting and climbing in new areas.
Mark Stevenson is still in the Army and has been climbing for over tens years, based in the South must be hard for this lad from Scotland. He must also be the only person to be airlifted from The Roaches after taking a 4ft fall.

Sam Mayfield

"I love to spend the summers in the UK, catching up with friends and chilling out, I have a funny feeling this summer will not be all that relaxing"

Born in Barnsley and living on the edge of The Peak for most of her life, Sam was actually introduced to climbing late in life when she met and fell in love with Rich after she "retired" to the Costa Blanca with her boys. Now hooked on climbing and running The Orange House with Rich her time is not her own.

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