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5 nights

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“I love how expeditions – both trekking and mountaineering – give people the chance to really be free; to stand before something incredible, and think: yes, I can do this.” – Ben McCullough, expedition mountaineer

We might feel as if the world has shrunk, its last frontiers long since mapped. Yet there remain pristine peaks whose capacity to steal your breath away is undiminished. Journeys to these pinnacles promise to test your limits, but in return, reward you with a deep sense of accomplishment – not to mention spectacular views. 

This is something more and more people are discovering, as climbing grows in popularity, even earning its debut as an Olympic event in 2021. It should come as no surprise: the pursuit has the capacity to reconnect people with the outdoors and each other, while boosting their physical and mental wellbeing. How better to re-embrace the natural world after so long locked down?

A&K has been leading private trekking and mountaineering expeditions to the world’s most remote wildernesses for decades. We follow in the boot steps and crampon pocks of the pioneering adventurers of old – so that our clients can feel what it’s like to be on top of the world, in every sense.

With our Ultra Luxury expeditions, you enjoy the ultimate in bespoke adventuring. As you tackle cloud-piercing peaks, such as those of the Himalaya, the Alps or the Andes, you have passionate experts at your side. When it’s time to rest up for the night, your base is an exclusive camp designed to your requirements. When you need to ‘refuel’, dine on cuisine tailored to your tastes by an expedition chef. These are comforts and luxuries well earned. 
To give you more insight and inspiration, we spoke to one of A&K’s leading expedition mountaineers, Ben McCullough.

Q&A with Ben McCullough

A&K: Where is your favourite place to go climbing?

Ben McCullough: There are so many places to choose from. Mount Kilimanjaro is my comfort space – the crew and mountain I know so well. However, the Avenue of Volcanoes in Ecuador is incredible. I love the ease of access and the variation, from technical climbing to trekking off the beaten track. I love Ecuador not just for the mountains but the diversity of experiences: mountains, rainforests, the Galápagos islands, the beaches and, of course, the people. 

Q: What does a typical day with you include?

A: Great food, great stories and great views. 

A typical day begins with a good breakfast, a quick medical and a round-up of the plan. Then we’re out on the trails. Expect plenty to see and lots of photos to take. Lunch is usually either in a mess tent, or a local guesthouse with catering overseen by my team. We continue on, stopping at epic viewpoints, beauty spots and community projects. When it’s time to turn in for the night, we settle into our camp and enjoy dinner. Afterwards, there is often time to relax, play games and swap tales of the day’s adventures. 

Q: Where can guests expect to stay?

A: Wherever possible, when looking for accommodation or camp spots, we select areas that are less frequented and add value. 

Style of accommodation can vary depending on the preferences of the group. We always aim to make our camps as cosy as possible, with all the luxuries you require. Options range from a basic camp with individual tents you can stand up in, comfortable sleeping bags and decent pillows; to pop-up eco-friendly domes with 28-square-metres of insulated space and plumbed bathrooms. Private camps can include additional dining domes, spa domes and wood-fired hot tubs.

Q: What’s on the expedition menu?

A: We provide a good mix of local cuisine and cater to most Western diets also. One of the things we pride ourselves on is having excellent food in all our destinations. We travel with our own cook on most mountain expeditions, and ensure the food served is safe and nutritionally balanced – including when dining in local lodges. 

Q: What additional experiences can you offer?

A: I like to involve clients in the local community, giving them the chance to understand the region and people most impacted by our presence. When there’s an opportunity to do something that is mindful, developmental and sustainable, from visiting charitable projects to distributing water filters along the route, I’ll include it. 

We can also arrange an array of adrenaline-fuelled activities, including parachuting from helicopters, touring by motorcycle and sports car, heli-skiing and paragliding. Between adventures, we can arrange for Michelin-accredited chefs to cook you up a feast, spa tents to ease trail-weary muscles, stargazing equipment, and guest speakers for tales around the campfire.

Example A&K expeditions

Swiss Alps

In the 19th century, ascents of the snow-capped Swiss Alps stirred the adventurous of spirit back in Britain. Suddenly, mountaineering as a hobby became a fashionable if rarefied pursuit. 

Today, Switzerland’s postcard-perfect peaks remain a romantic proposition. Our expeditions range from challenging Matterhorn summits to gentle hikes in edelweiss-sprinkled hills, topped or tailed with heli-skiing, fishing, glacier-side picnics and any number of other scenic pursuits. The choice is yours.

Indian Himalaya

Picture yourself in the foothills of the world’s tallest mountain range, swapping stories over a warming cup of tea in a remote village. Ahead of you is the climb of a lifetime. Alongside you is an experienced team. Around you is a landscape straight out of a dream: shivering poplars, glacial blue lakes, soaring mist-veiled peaks and plunging valleys... 

This is what awaits in the Indian Himalaya. We can take you on hikes through its extraordinary mountain passes, to remote settlements such as Leh, and in search of rare wildlife including the elusive snow leopard. 

Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes

On our mountaineering expeditions in Ecuador, you can be standing atop a vast volcano at dawn, then soaking in a hacienda hot tub by sundown. The Avenue of Volcanoes extends down the middle of the country, and comprises a series of bucket-list-worthy mountains – from Cotopaxi to Chimborazo – many still volcanically active. Tackle one or a dozen of these smouldering landmarks in an expedition balancing adventure with luxury.

An Ecuador mountaineering expedition pairs perfectly with a visit to the Galápagos Islands. The wild archipelago that so inspired Darwin lies scattered off the country’s west coast. We can arrange for you to cruise between volcanic islets by private yacht and stay at exclusive retreats away from the main tourist hotels.  

Still looking for inspiration?

What you can see on this page is merely a snapshot of our Ultra Luxury offering. To discuss our full portfolio in detail, please contact a luxury travel specialist today.

We have a unique range of destinations, experiences and hotel options available.

Discover more of our ultra luxury product here.

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