VICTOR Saunders

Victor Saunders

IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide

Based in the beautiful French town of Chamonix, Victor Saunders is Adventure Consultant’s Chief Guide in the European Alps. A world-renowned British mountaineer, Victor has completed each of the Seven Summits, including six ascents of Mount Everest. A man of many talents, Victor has also won prizes in mountain literature.

  • Bio

    Victor SaundersVictor is a world-renowned British mountaineer and became a UIAGM mountain guide in 1996 after a career as an architect in London. He relocated to Chamonix, France in 2003 becoming a member of the SNGM (National Syndicate of French Mountain Guides).

    He has climbed extensively throughout Europe, the Himalayas and Karakoram achieving many first ascents including the North Pillar of Spantik. He recently calculated that he’s spent five years of his life under canvas!

    Victor summitted Mount Everest for his first of six times in 2004 and with back to back summits on Aconcagua in 2013, he completed his Seven Summits bid.

    His ascents list is predominantly on climbs of a remote and desperately hard nature, and Victor is still bubbling over with enthusiasm for the peaks and peoples of the Himalayas after 20 years of climbing.

    In addition to being an IFMGA guide, Victor is a recipient of the Boardman Tasker prize for mountain literature and won the Grand Prize at the International Mountain Book Festival at Passey in 2015 for his book "Les Tribulations de Mick & de Vic en Himalaya".

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  • Notable Ascents

    Everest (8,850m/29,035ft)

    • Summitted 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012

    Seven Summits

    • Completed 2013

    Ben Nevis (1,345m/4,412ft)

    • Winter climb of Shield Direct, the first route on Ben Nevis to be graded VI (1978)

    Eiger (3,970m/13,024ft)

    • Winter ascent of North Face (1978)

    First Ascents

    • Chamsen (2013)
    • Tsha Tung (2005)
    • Ombigaichen (2002)
    • Langtang (first winter ascent, 2001)
    • Khoz Sar (2000)
    • Panchchuli (1994)
    • Panchchuli V (1992)
    • Rajramba (SE Ridge, 1992)
    • Girgindil (1991)
    • Kangchuntse (West Face, 1989)
    • Jitchu Drake (1988)
    • Spantik (Golden Pillar, 1987)
    • Ushba (West Face Direct, 1986)
    • Uzum Brak (East Face, 1980)
  • Q & A

    Victor Saunders Antarctic Peninsula 2011 Mark Sedon 7What do you love most about climbing?
    Climbing combines the problem solving of chess, and it often takes place in the most beautiful environments. Hard to beat combination.

    ...about guiding?
    Working with those positive, and often driven, people.... our clients.

    Most memorable climbing experiences?
    Usually the last one. Whatever that was.

    Outside of climbing how do you like to spend your time?
    When not working or writing, I spend my time cooking for friends and family, and clambering on steep little bits of rock.I will take up surfing just as soon as I work out how to get my zimmer frame onto a board.

  • International Expeditions

    Victor Saunders Antarctic Peninsula 2011 Mark Sedon 201Seven Summits

    • Aconcagua (6,962m/22,841ft) - Lead Guide 2013 (x2)
    • Everest (8,850m/29,035ft) - Summits 2004, 2005, 2006 (guide), 2007, 2008 (guide), 2012 (private guide)
    • Carstensz Pyramid (4,884m/16,023ft) - Lead Guide, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
    • Mount Vinson (4,892m/16,050ft) - Lead Guide 2005, 2010, 2015
    • Denali (6,190m/20,308ft) - Summitted, also turned back due to prolonged bad weather at altitude in 2003
    • Elbrus (5,642m/18,510ft) - Guided first commercial trek to circumnavigate Elbrus 1991, Lead Guide 2015

    8,000m Peaks

    • Manaslu (8,163m/26,781ft) - Lead Guide 2014
    • Cho Oyu (8,188m/26,863ft) - Lead Guide 1997, 2003, 2006, 2011
    • K2 (8,611m/28,251ft) - Returned from 8000m on Abruzzi Ridge during rescue operations 1993

    Himalayan Climbs

    • Ama Dablam (6,828m/22,401ft) - Lead Guide 1997, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011
    • Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft) - Lead Guide 2007
    • Tsha Tung (5,995m/19,668ft) - Guided first ascent 2005
    • Ombigaichen (6,340m/20,800ft) First ascent, 2 man alpine style expedition to make first official recorded ascent 2002
    • Langtang (4,984m/16,351ft) - First winter ascent 2001
    • Bhutan - Guided minor first ascents 1995
    • Panchchuli Trek (6,904m/22,650ft) - Guided first ascent of minor col and summit 1994
    • Bhutan Basingtang - Lead Guide 1993
    • Panch Chuli V (6,500m/21,325ft) - First ascent with Dick Renshaw, Stephen Sustad & Stephen Venables 1992
    • Rajramba (6,500m/21,325ft) - First ascent of new route up SE Ridge with Dick Renshaw, Stephen Sustad & Stephen Venables 1992
    • Kangchuntse (7,640m/25,065ft) - 2 man team, alpine style first ascent of West Face with Stephen Sustad 1989
    • Jitchu Drake (6,800m/22,309ft) - First ascent 1988


    • Chamsen (7,017m/23,021ft) - Guided first ascent 2013
    • Great Trango Towers (6,286m/20,623ft)- Lead Guide 2006
    • Concordia (4,800m/15,748ft) - Lead Guide 2004
    • Khoz Sar (5,935m/19,471ft) - First ascent 2000
    • Nanga Parbat (8,125m/26,656ft) - Winter reconnaissance and 2 man attempt 1996
    • Hatezan Zom (5,800m/19,028ft) - Lead Guide 1994
    • Gondora La (5,600m/18,372ft) - Lead Guide 1993
    • Girgindil (6,000m/19,685ft) - Guided first ascent 1991
    • Ultar (7,380m/24,212ft) - 2 man team, alpine style, returned from 6,800m due to equipment malfunction 1991
    • Spantik (7,050m/23,129ft) - 2 man team alpine style, first ascent of Golden Pillar with Mick Fowler 1987
    • Rimo 1 - Attempted with Stephen Venables, reached 7,000m, forced retreat 1985
    • Uzum Brak (6,421m21,066ft) - First ascent of East Face 1980
    • Bojohagur Duanisir (7,300m/23,950ft) - 2 man team, alpine style attempted with Phil Butler, turned around at 7,000m due to bad weather 1984

    South America

    • Aconcagua (6,962m/22,841ft) - Lead Guide on 2 back to back expeditions 2013
    • Alpamayo (5,917m/19,412ft) - Lead Guide 2014, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
    • Ecuador Volcanoes - Lead Guide on 8 of Ecuador's 10 highest volcanoes 1994, Lead Guide of 5 volcanoes including Chimborazo (6,268m/20,564ft) and Cotopaxi (5,897m/19,347ft) 1994


    • Antarctic Peninsula, Ski Touring Expedition - Guide 2011 (pictured above)
    • Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar - Lead Guide for small expedition to climb North Face of the rock 2004
    • Shisha, Tibet (7,000m/22,965ft) - Winter attempt 2003
    • Tien Shan, Central Asia - Lead guide on four first ascents 2000
    • Muztagh Ata, Pamir Mountain Range, China (7,545m/24,754ft) - Lead Guide 1996
    • Ushba, Caucasus Mountains, Georgia (4,600m/15,091ft) - 2 man team, alpine style, first ascent of West Face direct 1986
  • Qualifications

    • UIAGM/IFMGA Ski & Mountain Guide - 1996
    • SNGM (National Syndicate of French Mountain Guides) - 2003

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  • Special Projects / Other

    Les Tribulations de Mick & de Vic en Himalaya

    • Won the Grand Prize at Passy Lit Fest in 2015

    Elusive Summits: Four Expeditions in the Karakoram

    • Won the Boardman Tasker prize in 1991

    Trekking and Climbing in the Andes (Trekking and Climbing Guides) by Kate Harper, Val Pitkethly and Victor Saunders

    No Place to Fall: Superalpinism in the Himalaya by Victor Saunders

    Alpes Occidentales: Trekking y Alpinismo by Victor Saunders and Hilary Sharp

  • Victors Testimonials

    "I can’t say enough about Victor's leadership on the mountain. Climbing with him was another great experience. He provided a great mix of challenging climbing as well as teaching. Having Victor as a guide lets a novice climber like myself feel safe enough to throw myself into learning new skills and applying them on some great climbs."

    "The leadership team was fantastic. I was initially taken aback when I met the rather diminutive Victor in Mendoza - not the Everest champion I had envisioned. But he is wise and experienced, thoughtful and cautious, full of stories and a great climb leader. I became more and more impressed with him as the climb progressed."
    Aconcagua 2014

    "This was an amazing expedition and Victor is hands down the best mountain guide I have been with. I have known him for years now but never climbed with him before. He is truly an exceptional and gifted mentor in the mountains!"
    Manaslu 2014