At Berghaus we live for adventure – it’s in everything we do. Here Berghaus Brand President Richard Cotter shares his most memorable adventures and tells us what adventure means to him.
What does adventure mean to you?
Adventure to me is an opportunity to escape from the ordinary, it is the chance to find a connection with a world removed from the stress and the pressure that we all experience in everyday life. Increasingly our lives are being controlled by external forces, the pressure of the deadline, the various communication tools which render us hopelessly and permanently accessible, the need to deliver against inceasingly impossible timelines, the constant drive to improve, to progress, to be better, bigger and more successful.
The modern world has given us many new and incredible advancements, we are far more knowledgeable, far more technically developed, far more global than ever before. But these developments have come at a price, increasingly we all experience a conflict, how do we manage the tension between the demands of modern life and the human need for space, the need to switch off, the need to find an inner peace as an antidote to the pace and pressure of modern life.
For me, this is where Adventure is important to all of us. It is where we can lose ourselves and find the space we all need, the adventure should always be what we want to make it and what will deliver the release we crave. It can be as simple as a walk across the moors, a day out in the country, an attempt at a route previously seen but never tried, adding another Munro, or a bike ride to somewhere new and different. Alternatively, it can be as challenging or as exotic as we want to make it, travelling to another continent and experiencing an entirely different culture, planning an expedition to an aspirational peak you dreamed of attempting since childhood, trekking for days with no real idea of what is ahead of you, challenging yourself to climb higher, harder, further.
Adventure should always be about the experience, it should be about the people, it should be about the memories.
Adventure should always be about discovering yourself or remembering something you had forgotten.
Adventure should be an antidote to modern life.
What is your most memorable adventure?
My most memorable adventure would be climbing in the Alps with our Chairman Sir Chris Bonington and a good friend Colin Browne. We spent a week in the Chamonix area, staying in huts, glacier trekking, doing some rock climbing and culminating in summiting Mont Blanc via the Aquille de Midi route. There are few things as awesome as the Alps with clear blue skies, great snow, quiet huts and good company. The sense of being so far from modern life, of being alone in and with the mountains, the requirement for total concentration on the next step or the next hold, the total absence of phones, computers and modern technology.
Returning to an alpine hut at the end of a hard days climbing with the sun setting over a distant peak, lounging outside and catching the last warmth of the suns rays. Then the shared experiences, the stories, the beers, the wine, the dinner, Sir Chris weaving another magical tale about a first ascent, meeting other climbers who you may only connect with for such a short time, the great sense of tired exhilaration as you crawl exhausted into your sleeping bag, surrounded by snoring, smelly, frenchmen.
OK, I agree this part is a shared experience that should not be repeated!
We finished the week, with a night in the Cosmique Hut followed by an epic climb to the summit of Mont Blanc via the Mont Blanc Tacoul and Mont Moduit route, returning the same way and getting back to the Midi Station in time to drink a cold beer and catch the last bubble down to the village and celebrate our summit achievement with the biggest cheese omelette and chips I have ever eaten.
Which adventure do you wish you could have taken part in?
I would have loved to have been part of the glorious age of British Climbing, to have had the chance to go out to the Himalaya before the age of commercialisation really took over and to have climbed on one of the great 8,000m expeditions.
Perhaps to have been part of the 1927 John Hunt Everest Expedition would have been the ultimate, to have made the attempt on Everest must have been an incredible, possibly the ultimate adventure and would definitely have been an escape from what even then must have felt like the pace and pressure of modern life.
What is your next adventure?
My next adventure has to be in the Himalaya. Having read so many books, listened to so many stories, watched so many movies, my great adventure must involve spending time in amongst the mountains and peaks of Nepal. There is something incredibly magical about visiting the places that I have so far only been able to read about, to spend four or five weeks trekking, climbing and hopefully summiting a Himalayan Peak would be an unbelievable adventure.
Adventures don’t always have to be climbing though. As we globalise the Berghaus brand I am fortunate to travel to many incredible places and in a different way each one of these trips is an adventure. India is an incredible country and one which has an amazing amount of new experiences to enjoy, to get the opportunity to take a train ride round India, stopping off at the Taj Mahal, visit the Pink City, sample the noise and colour of Calcutta, soak up the colonialism of Delhi, and finish up at the gateway to India and the home of Slumdog Millionaire.. Mumbai, would also be an incredible and probably life changing experience.
However, the adventure I am most looking forward to is when I get to take my grandson Finlay out for his first day on the hill and his first ever day of climbing. He is 3 years old and keeps asking me “Papa, will you teach me to climb”, now that will be the most amazing adventure ever