A PRESTIGIOUS outdoor school founded by one of the greats of the mountaineering world has moved its headquarters from Switzerland to Kendal.
The International School of Mountaineering (ISM), one of the oldest of its kind in the world, is now operating from a base on Burneside Road where it is led by Kendal man Adrian Nelhams.
“We moved here because Kendal is a real hub for mountaineering and climbing at the moment,” explained the 45-year-old managing director of the school.
“It’s a real hub for adventures and travel and it’s exciting to be part of that.
“I think Kendal is a great base for so many places that can be explored in the Lakes and it’s brilliant to be here in the heart of it.”
The company was established almost 50 years ago by America’s ‘finest Alpinist at the time’, John Harlin.
Other leading American and British mountaineers of the era were also on the scene, including Gary Hemming, Layton Kor and Don Whillans.
The school has since been led by renowned mountaineers, Dougal Haston, Pete Boardman and Pat Littlejohn.
“It’s unbelievable to be in this position now, with all the great Alpinists and climbers that have been there before me,” continued Mr Nelhams, who took over as managing director in October.
“The school has changed lives and it’s amazing to think I’m doing this job and that it’s in Kendal.”
He explained that ISM’s first base was at the Vagabond Club in Leysin, Switzerland, which became a centre for climbers and travellers from around the world.
Today the Vagabond has closed its doors, although Mr Nelhams and his colleagues still spend several months every year training and guiding people through the Swiss Alps.
They also ‘explore and adventure’ in other parts of the world, including mountains in Kyrgyzstan which were unclimbed until recently.
Mr Nelhams, who has also lived in Sedbergh and Windermere, now has over 100 ‘first ascents’ to his name.
He hopes the school will continue to thrive in ‘the gateway to the Lakes’.
“I am thrilled that the mountaineering company is now based in Kendal,” he added.
“We hope to build on the first 50 years and continue to move onwards and upwards.”
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