Outside interest: mountain climbing

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 27 Jan 2016

Stephen BrookerThis Saturday Stephen Brooker is off to North Wales for a spot of mountain climbing. The Walsingham Planning director has climbed mountains in Scotland, the Alps (pictured) and Morocco, including the north African country's highest peak, Mount Toubkal.

How did you get into mountain climbing?

I started climbing mountains as a teenager with a taste for adventure and rediscovered how much fun it was when – after a break for a few years - I introduced my two sons to the sport when they were around 10 years old.

What does it involve?

I do physical training like cycling quite regularly; mountain climbing involves crampons and ice hacks and a fair amount of endurance. Keeping physically trim is important. 

Why do you do it?

I get a huge amount of enjoyment from the exercise and the scenery; it's a good escape from my professional life and an excellent contrast to my other outside interest, hockey. 

What’s the toughest thing about it?

I'm nervous about heights, so always try not to stray out of my comfort zone.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

The sense of achievement and self reliance is amazing when you're standing on top of a mountain, especially when the weather is good. On top of Mount Toubkal you could see for 200 miles in any direction with not a sound and no people, planes or traffic.

Are there any similarities between your day job and mountain climbing?

The need to try to meet challenges in a calm, measured way is common to both planning and climbing mountains: getting overexciting about challenges doesn't help very much in professional or business life and especially not when you are clinging to the side of a mountain in snowy weather.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com