About Mountain Expertise

The top of Pillar of Wisdom, Jebel Rum, Wadi Rum, Jordan

I'm Paul James and I run Mountain Expertise.

I hold the Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor qualification, formerly the MIC.  I am a full member of AMI and a registered member of the Mountain Instructors Community. I am also an approved Duke of Edinburgh’s award assessor.

I have personal climbing and instructing experience throughout the UK. Having grown up in Derbyshire I hold a particular love for Gritstone climbing in the Peak District. Now I live in North Wales for most of the year, migrating to Scotland during the winter to enjoy all that Scotland has on offer.

I started my instructing at a young age, as a black belt in Karate. I was a Karate Sensei (instructor) in my late teens. After finishing university I moved onto climbing instruction working at Nottingham's climbing wall. Since then I have spent a period of time working at Plas y Brenin, furthering my qualifications and gaining experience in climbing, mountain walking, canoeing, kayaking and skiing. For the last ten years I have been working in Snowdonia as a freelance Mountaineering Instructor. 

As a keen rock climber the draw of the sea cliffs on Anglesey and the easy access cragging in Snowdonia make this a great place to live. I have climbed all over the world, highlights include; Big Walls in Yosemite, 4000m summits in the Alps, adventure climbing in Jordan and expedition climbing in Kenya. I have spent numerous winters in Scotland enjoying the more remote regions of the north west highlands, as well as spending plenty of time in the Cairngorms and around Ben Nevis ice and mixed climbing and winter mountaineering. I have also spent time ski mountaineering in the Alps and Morocco!  You can read about some of these past adventures here. More recent adventures are on my social media channels. 

Why us?

I prefer to talk to you and find out what your aspirations are and then plan a course from that. Experience of running named courses in the past has shown me that the product you get is better when it is totally bespoke. So I  offer rock climbing, scrambling, navigation, winter skills, winter mountaineering and winter climbing - it is simple, you choose the activity and talk to me about where you would like to go with it. I can then design the course or experience that suits you. I also include equipment hire in the price for the course so there are no hidden costs. 

Our Staff

I am a one man band, however, from time to time I will have other like minded instructors working on courses. They are people who I have worked closely with and who have a similar outlook and ethos to myself. 


Snowdonia - most of the courses I run will be based in northern Snowdonia giving easy access to both the mountain crags and the sea cliffs on Anglesey.  It is best to base yourself around Capel Curig, Betws y Coed, Llanberis or Bethesda - most climbing areas are within 1/2 hour drive of these villages. If the weather in the mountains is poor then Anglesey and Tremadog often offer good dry alternatives. 

Scotland - I have good knowledge of a number of areas of Scotland in the winter. Depending on your aspirations I can be flexible in a base for your course. Get in contact with me to discuss the options. 


“What an amazing time I had on the course at the weekend. I really enjoyed it and got out of it far more than I had expected. Paul was a brilliant instructor – he really helped me feel comfortable and confident on my first outdoor climbing”

James Hill - London

“We had a great 2 days. Paul was great with the boys -- very patient (with me, too). It was an excellent introduction for them, and with the weather being what it was, the day was a huge success.”

Greg Venters - Belgium

“I had a good day with Paul taking in more tips and skills, will get out and try some easy routes now, and hope to get some more days out with Paul so he can see some progress with my climbing”

Julian Inns - Telford

“Can you thank Paul again for a great weekend - although the weather was shocking, I think everyone really enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Craig Govan - Derby

“Sarah and I had a really great day's climbing with Paul on Saturday.  We got some great tuition, some great climbing and were pushed out of comfort zones!”

Sarah and Ginnie - London

“Thanks so much for the course, it was a lot of fun and gave me a lot of confidence! We went back to the RAC area on Sunday and did some practice aiding.”

Jo Robbings - Imperial University Mountaineering Club - Jo went on to successfully summit the Nose a few months later

“Thanks for the course, the other guys loved it, so did we. Thanks so much for all your help.”

Tom Wheeler - Devon - Tom has successfully climbed Washington Column and Half Dome since the course.

“Thanks  for a great weekend, we had a wicked time with Paul as you can see from the  pictures, Eddie can be a hard man to please sometimes but he had a great time. Please thank Paul very much also for giving me back the bug to get into climbing I never thought we would be climbing a VDiff route on Sunday, and an abseil into the cloud coming up the rock face what a finish to a great climb” Julian & Eddie - Telford

Mountain Expertise


Rhiwenfa, Rhiwlas, Bangor

LL57 4GA

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east buttress 1
smiths 2
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