RIP Geoff, doyen of the British Guides. I imagine there are probably many here who took their first alpine steps with Geoff.
Camped in the woods in Argentierre near to the Arkless' enclave in 1980 on my first alpine trip . Brede was 7 months pregnant at the time and still climbing. Brede by name....
I was guided by him in late 80's. I can remember him effortlessly striding up some big old hills, puffing away on filterless French fags. The rest of us fit youth, struggling to keep up and requesting frequent breaks.
I also remember a tale he told about cossing a glacier one day and finding a human arm. So he stuck it in his rucksack and carried on with the route. He handed it in to to police a few days later, when down in the valley.
We were coming down from the Midi in the cable car, packed with tourists, all chattering excitedly about the exposure. He made a big show of pointing out a particular rock. "No, not that one, the big one next to it, near the stream. That's where the cable car crashed when the cable snapped. They've done a great job of clearing it up." There was suddenly far less chattering
I'll always remember how helpful he was when he worked in C&R in Betws, proper enthusiast.
That is sad news. I went on one of his winter courses when I was in my teens . He gave me canned experience which kept me alive and imparted a deep and permanent love of Scottish winter. I was impressed both by his enthusiasm for winter and for comfort when suffering was unnescessary.
I only knew him for a week but he changed my life.
Is someone on UKC writing his obituary? He certainly had an interesting life. One of the true characters of yesterdayear. There used to be a poster on the wall of the old Pen y Pass hotel advertising Crew& Harris rockclimbing courses, and also another by someone I didn't know. It was Geoff Arkless. RIP mate.
I took my first Alpine steps with Geoff and the indomitable Brede in Saas Fee in 1973 and then in Chamonix in 1974 (an extra baby came along in between of course!). He was a really lovely bloke and an excellent teacher. He told me after the first trip that due to an administrative cock up he had no idea it would be a 15 year old that turned up, but he took it in his stride and let me back the next year!
They taught me so much. Many wonderful memories and so sad that he has gone.
Auguille de L'M 1974
Others will know much better than me but I think that we owe a huge debt to Geoff, Brede and their generation of guides for setting high professional standards and getting international recognition for British mountain guides to the benefit of the whole British mountaineering community.
I'm sorry to read this. When I was 15 or 16, my parents, thinking if I wasn't going to drop this climbing business I ought to be taught how to do it properly, sent me on a course with Geoff and Brede in Deiniolen. I learnt a lot, some of it about climbing.
I never climbed with Geoff, but I know that both he and Brede were great cyclists. Geoff would suggest to clients that they cycled to the Alps with him from England, which would ensure that they arrived in Chamonix fit if they were not so already. I remember reading in an obituary of Brede that the oncologist who treated the cancer which killed her was astonished to discover that she had ridden 80 miles over the Pennines in order to attend her appointment, and was intending to cycle back home.
Sad news. I worked with Geoff in climber and Rambler many years ago. Working with Geoff was the best part of the job! He was a great character and I would have loved to have had him as a guide!
I am sure you have made some mistakes. Having known Geoff & Brede as friends and colleagues since 1977 and worked with both of them extensively. I never knew Geoff to cycle and in the time I knew him he never cycled to the Alps (John Brailsford did regularly). Geoff always had too much gear to transport to run his courses. Brede, in the latter years of her life lived in New Zealand (where she died) so it is unlikely that she cycled across the Pennines in that time.
> Brede, in the latter years of her life lived in New Zealand (where she died) so it is unlikely that she cycled across the Pennines in that time.
That's right, but Wiki has her cycling 150 miles from Twizel to Christchurch for her treatment which sadly didn't work for her. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brede_Arkless
You are right about Brede - she made her cycle trip to the oncologist in New Zealand. I am sure that I have read the cycling to Chamonix story about a British mountain guide - I will have to accept that it must have been another well-known guide of that time.
Fred Rouhling's visionary route Akira at Les Eaux Claires, France, has finally had a repeat after 25 years and not only one, but two! Seb Bouin and Lucien Martinez made the 2nd and 3rd ascents of the route.