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Question Time…..with Rich Kirtley

Favourite place/country to trek?

Nepal Himalaya. It has everything - magnificent mountains, phenomenal trekking, the friendliest locals going, fascinating culture and breathtaking views.

Most interesting animal you’ve seen on a trip?

On a trip across the Manyara Plains in Africa we saw all sorts - giraffes etc - and it's always a little disconcerting when you go out of your tent at night and see 3 sets of hyena eyes reflecting the light from your head torch. My favourite animal I've seen was in Patagonia when we spent an afternoon watching a condor - they're amazing birds. The following morning we awoke to find fresh puma droppings on the edge of the camp! Patagonia is special.

Anyone seeking to try an Open Challenge but anxious -  what would your advice be?

Don't be! The people on Open Challenges are always friendly and the groups  bond quickly. All the trips are extremely well put together and you'll be well looked after. Also Open Challenges tend to be smaller groups, so by the end of the trip everyone is especially close and tend to keep regularly in touch well after the challenge is over.

Where in the world is on your tick list?

I'm planning a climbing trip in Tajikistan for 2013 - the Pamir mountains are a big draw for me. I'd also like to visit Pakistan in the near future and trek in the Karakoram. Other than that I want to go and do a long weekend in Beirut very soon - I love Lebanese food, and its apparently got some epic night-life!

Best value piece of kit you own?

My Paramo jacket - they make by far the best waterproofs going.

If you were on a desert island and you could have 3 items…

My leatherman knife, a good book and Ray Mears.

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