The first of our 2019 TMB treks are heading out very soon! This time, we’re getting to know Gary Daines.
What’s your name?
Do you have any nicknames?
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I moved to France in 2009 and lived most of that time in the Chamonix region, I now live down in the Pyreenes and by the Spanish border. I speak French, and I have been travelling the world since the tender age of 18.
What are your hobbies?
I do a lot of mountain trail running, and this has become my biggest passion. I used to do a lot of climbing, including alpine ascents, but my favorite form of climbing was ice-climbing. Nowdays I run in the mountains, read a lot, and spend time with my 7 year old boy when I am not working.
How long have you been a guide?
I have been guiding worldwide since 2004.
Why did you decide to become a guide?
I have always travelled around the world, and was not happy in my life in London. I was thinking of how I could mix my life of travel and the mountains, so I decided to start on the long process of getting my international guiding qualification.
What’s your favorite thing about guiding treks?
The diversity. The different people I work with, the in-country people, the places I go. Working as an international trekking guide has taken me all across South America, Central Asia, Africa, the Himalayas, and of course, all across the European Alps.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on a trek?
So many things, but there was one time in 2003 just before qualifying as a guide when my ex-wife and I were in Patagonia trekking the Torres del Paine NP. We were there with an Austrian friend Martin.
It was in a period where it was the worst weather to hit Patagonia in six years. Every bridge in the park got washed away, and unknown to us we were the last 3 people in the park. The authorities thought we were dead and were waiting for the weather to clear up so they could send in search teams to find us.
We, on the other hand, were hunkered down, trying to find ways across all those swollen rivers with no bridges, having the wildest adventure of our lives and surviving on 2 packs of powder soup, half an onion and just a handful of peanuts each for lunch every day.
It took another three days before the rivers dropped enough for us to cross them and make our way out of the park and find out about all the fuss taking place over us.
[That is utterly wild. We’re glad you’re still here to guide us! – AA Team]
What do you think is a quality that every good guide needs?
People skills. We all need the hard skills to keep clients safe and not lost, but the gentle skills of being with people for up to two weeks at a time are very important. You need your clients to trust you, like you, and feel safe with you.
Tell us something fun about your treks!
It’s all fun, the views, the people, the weather, the food…
Anything else you want us to know about you?
No, come on a trek and find out for yourselves.
Lastly, what tip can you give our trekkers heading your way?
Make sure your kit works, that your boots or shoes fit well, and are broken in but not too broken in that they fall apart on the trail. Bring what is on the list of items to pack– listen to your guide on this, but also try to keep your pack as light as possible.