Big Smile Adventures was created by Gary Daines. Gary is an International Mountain Leader and a member of the British association of International mountain Leaders (BAIML) and SNAM (Syndicat National Des Accompagnateurs en Montagne) the French Association, he has traveled, climbed and trekked all over the world for work and pleasure. He lives in France but works worldwide, as well as being an International Mountain Leader he is also a Duke of Edinburgh accredited expedition assessor up to Gold level and a SPA climbing instructor. Gary has an extensive wealth of knowledge and experience leading youth and adult expeditions worldwide, he is in a position to tailor fit any trip you would like to go on anywhere in the world. From reaching the highest peak in Africa Kilimanjaro, to snowshoeing in the European Alps, to trekking through the Patagonian wilds, Gary is known to leave you with a Big Smile on your face when you finish an adventure he has created.
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Emma is a qualified IML (International Mountain Leader) and has been leading expeditions for the last 17 years. She’s led the Tour du Mont Blanc over 40 times, the Everest Base Camp trek 27 times, Kilimanjaro 10 times, and has also led trips in Nepal, Peru, Cuba, India, Bhutan, Cambodia, Thailand, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Russia, Uzbekistan and Madagascar, amongst others.A passionate skier, in 2009 she made the first ski descent of Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world (8156m).Fluent in French, Russian and Spanish, she also works as an interpreter and loves to chat.
Caroline lives in the UK Peak District and has a wealth of experience in the outdoors. She’s travelled on six continents but also loves playing closer to home, especially in Scotland in winter! Her qualifications have taken her and her clients to the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa and Lesotho, The High Atlas Mountains, The Andes and the Indian Himalaya to name but a few. She also works in the UK with children and adults alike, teaching climbing, winter skills and navigation, as a Duke of Edinburgh Award Supervisor and Assessor as well as taking people mountain biking. In 2013 Caroline claimed a first ascent of Cha Ri – a 6046m Himalayan Peak, so she’s no stranger to exploring new places. Her qualifications are backed up by fantastic references from everyone who she works with – a true professional who also has an uncanny knack of finding the best coffee shops wherever she is in the world.
OUTDOOR QUALIFICATIONS: Mountain Leader (Winter & Summer), Single Pitch Award, Climbing Wall Leader Award, MBLA Trail Cycle Leader, NNAS Approved provider, American Avalanche Association Level 1.
I began rock climbing in the quarries around Manchester when I was 17 – this quickly led to North Wales, the Peak District & then the Lakes. For nearly 20 years I had a career in senior management – but my spare time was increasingly involved in the outdoors – trips to Scotland, The Alps, the Rockies, Himalayas & other wonderfully exciting places. In 2000 my wife & I realised a dream & moved to the Lake District.
In 2010 I sold my manufacturing business to concentrate on my love of the outdoors & since then I’ve formalised those years of experience and taken my instructor qualifications. I’m now a fully qualified International Mountain Leader (amongst many other things) and spend 3-4 months of the year working in the Alps from my base in St Gervais Les Bains – a wonderful place to start an adventure from. Many people think my job is about mountains – but I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s about people – making sure you’re safe, having fun & that your days are filled with those ‘wow’ moments that you came away to enjoy.
I believe that good instructors and guides keep themselves up to date with the latest best practise – it makes for a more rewarding day for clients – but the very best ones always have a smile on their face – just the way we want to leave you after a day out with Big Smile Adventures.