about mountain balance
Mountain Balance is the professional home of me, Joy O'Flanagan, a UIMLA International Mountain Leader. I have lived in the Alps full time for more than 10 years.
I am passionate about sharing my love of the mountains to enable others to experience the excitement and beauty this awesome terrain has to offer.
I love being outside and am a keen climber, runner and skier. For the last 20 years I have climbed and trekked across Europe, North America and the Himalayas. More recently, with a focus on running, I have successfully competed in the Northface Ultratrail (CCC), Chamonix marathon & mountain marathons in the UK & France. In the winter I enjoy being out in the mountains on my skis or snowshoes.
International Mountain Leader is the professional qualification for individuals who wish to lead trekking parties to all mountain areas except on glaciers, and where the techniques or equipment of alpinism are required. This award is a legal requirement in France and many other countries. An International Mountain Leader can also operate on easy snow-covered terrain, provided it is of a gentle, rolling Nordic type, in the 'middle' mountains.
A significant part of the award also requires high standards of knowledge of the alpine flora and fauna, the physical environment and human history. This all fascinates me and an insight into these can add more to your time here in the Alps. Please visit the photo galleries to see some of the animals and flowers you might encounter on a trek.
I am a member of the British and French professional bodies governing mountain leaders and as such have professional insurance.