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Valerie Parkinson - At Home in the Mountains

At Home in the Mountains

Valerie Parkinson

Valerie Parkinson is far more than a guide. She doesn’t just lead you through the mountains, she leads you through her second home. The space, the views, the silence and the challenge of crossing passes and climbing peaks. You can get away from (almost) everything. She’s At Home in the Mountains, take it from her...

“I went on a trek in 1984 from Kashmir to Ladakh. It was my first time to India and my first time to the Himalaya. It was a 3 week trip and 15 days trekking. We trekked from Kashmir across the Indian Himalaya to Ladakh. It was one great big adventure and I loved every minute. We finished the trek in Ladakh and I was blown away by the mountains.

I [then] joined Exodus in July 1986 as a trek leader. I started leading treks in Kashmir and Ladakh and then Nepal. This also led to leading in Pakistan, Tibet, Bhutan and even Kyrgyzstan. Leading is still what I love the best about my role in Exodus but over the years it has expanded to cover Asia operations. I train local leaders in India, Nepal and Bhutan. I am involved with health and safety of trekking in the Himalaya. I recce new routes for trekking and biking trips in the Himalaya and write trip notes. I am involved with Responsible Tourism in the Himalaya and all the Himalayan Community Support Projects are managed by myself. I lead about 8/9 treks/bike trips a year.

[When I return to the mountains I look forward to] walking in the fresh, clear high-altitude air. Being amongst the many friends I have made in Ladakh and Nepal over the years. The challenge of trekking at high altitude. The challenge of new treks and finding new routes. Camping in the wild. Sleeping in a tent.”

Mountains have power and grace. I don’t like confined spaces and in the mountains, there is space to walk and air to breathe. I am at home in the mountains.

Valerie Parkinson

High altitude trekker and one of Exodus' most renowned leaders, Valerie is known rightly as an "Exodus Legend." She has spent more than 50% of her life amongst the most magnificent mountains on Earth and has more than 30 years experience leading in the Himalaya.

The first British woman to summit Manaslu (8,163m), the eighth tallest peak in the world, without supplementary oxygen, to say Valerie is an experienced trekker is an understatement. She has led the ascent of Stok Kangri more than 20 times and spent at least 14 Christmas days trekking to Everest Base Camp.


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