Meet an AMI Member Part 3

In this installment we hear from Ken Applegate MIC, who's just finished a super busy winter season up in Scotland...

Ken AMI Blog

Sitting here, and looking out the window on a grey, wet day in Fort William, it’s sometimes all too easy to forget what a brilliant winter we’ve just had, and looking at the mid-range forecasts, a winter that is set to continue for a while yet.

Having now just finished working my sixth winter season, five of those as a full MIC, I can honestly say that my passion for Scottish Winter climbing has only grown stronger over the years, and having only just finished this season, I’m already looking forward to the next one. I will however make the most of the sunshine and dry rock in the meantime!

My career in the outdoors really started whilst still at university, studying Quantity Surveying of all things. I managed to land a position as a member of the domestic team at Glenmore Lodge, which enabled me to explore the crags and mountains of the Highlands during a particularly dry and warm summer. Having been thoroughly inspired both by the natural and working environment, I decided that The Highlands was where I wanted to base myself, and that the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate the qualification I wanted to eventually attain.

I moved to Fort William in 2007, to work for The Outward Bound Trust, which I really enjoyed. For me, it was as much about the work as it was the people I worked alongside, with one of my fondest moments being climbing Tower Face of The Comb on Ben Nevis, with the head of centre, Tony Shepherd on the 5th December 2010. I broke trail through the deep snow to the base of the climb, and so as a reward, Tony ‘kindly’ gave me the crux pitch, which I remember being quite tricky, and wondered whether he had purposefully sandbagged me. I’m still not sure to this day! The route was long and so needless to say we finished in the dark, but walked out under a beautifully clear and star studded sky.

I gained my MIC in 2012 and at about the same time, set up Apple Mountaineering which I ran for three years, before taking over the running of the Scottish courses for West Coast Mountain Guides last year. My work as an MIC has taken me all over The Highlands, from Skye and the North West Highlands to the Cairngorms, Creag Meagaidh and of course my own patch of Fort William and Glencoe. It’s this diversity that I really appreciate, as each area is so unique, but a day of guiding one of the classic grade V ice climbs on Ben Nevis, under blue skies and with little wind is tough to beat! I also hold the International Mountain Leader, which I use each year, working in the Spanish Pyrenees. This ensures a healthy dose of sunshine (and no midges) each summer.

I am also a member of Lowe Alpine’s Outdoor Team, and over the past few years have worked with the team in Kendal to help develop and refine their excellent range of backpacks and accessories. I’m still trying my best to wear out my Alpine Attack 35:45, which has seen two Scottish winter seasons and is showing absolutely no signs of giving up the ghost. That said, I'm however still hoping to outlast my pack!

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