Well known among adventure travellers and mountaineers, Gavin Bate in this interview shares his inspiring story of a tourism entrepreneur whose dedication to responsible practices started long before sustainable tourism became a mainstream topic. Learn about Gavin Bate’s successes with Adventure Alternative and the Moving Mountains Foundation, his challenges and lessons learned.
- What fascinates Gavin Bate about mountains and adventure travel;
- How his view on sustainability in tourism has changed over the years;
- Key lessons learned since he founded Adventure Alternative in 1991;
- Why he founded the Moving Mountains Trust;
- The main sustainability challenges for nature destinations;
- Current trends in adventure travel;
- Advice for travel entrepreneurs keen to do good by doing better.
Gavin, you have crossed the Sahara desert alone and climbed seven of world’s highest mountains, including six expeditions to Everest. What draws you to the mountain, and to seek adventure in Nature?
I have always felt a sense of elation at high altitude like no other and, by happy chance, I seem to perform well at very high altitudes. From a young age I started climbing and after university I travelled for eleven years before starting my guiding company. I was deeply influenced by climbers in the 1970s, especially British and Polish high altitude pioneers. In many ways I have followed their aesthetic by wanting to climb alpine style and without bottled oxygen.
I enjoy the wilderness and the feeling of being close to Nature, but nowadays after my training and experience, I especially like the feeling of having the skills to live in the wilderness.
Recently, I have done some long polar trips and there is great satisfaction in just having the wherewithal to survive and perform well. I also very much enjoy the job of guiding people on mountains and sharing the knowledge I have, and helping people along with their own aspirations.
Crossing the Sahara Desert on my own in six months was, and still is, the benchmark for everything I’ve done since. Many, many long solo trips and lots of mountain climbs later, I still look back to that first big trip with great happiness and satisfaction.