Skip to main content

Welcome to ‘A Sit and Yarn with…’; our new monthly Blog Series aiming to bring together a community of likeminded and soulful folk.  This blog will be a chance for people to tell their stories and create inspiration for all you Rooted Ocean tribe. We hope that you will love reading the entries as much as we loved making them.

If you have something you would like to share with us all, drop us an email to book up a yarn!


February ’23 ‘A Sit and Yarn with…  Dean Russell’

So, how did your love and affinity for the mountains come about? When did it all start for you? Was there a specific moment when they ‘caught you’ or have you always lived and breathed the mountains?


“There is something very special about being in the mountains, that feeling of being close to nature while disconnecting from the other parts of the world. You have to focus only on moving safely from one place to another. I’ve long enjoyed the release of endorphins, that feel good hormone, from exercising up there. I may well be a little bit addicted to them! But more and more I relish the chance to be in the moment and practice a form of mindfulness which is so important for our mental wellbeing. I’m not a spiritual or religious person but there is just something about them that makes me feel alive. Something that pulls me in, allows me to switch off from or process life’s tribulations. It makes me be inquisitive about what is around me and appreciate an ever-changing environment as the seasons pass.

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I started to climb and mountaineer, but I vividly remember spending hours as a child flicking through a book about Chris Bonningtons ascent of Everest. It was full of photos showing huge snow-covered mountains, beautiful rock formations and ice walls the size of sky scrapers. It was always these small specks on a big mountain vista that took my interest; climbers ascending with nothing but ropes, and their own skill and determination to keep them from falling. It was only last year that I flicked through that very same book and realised that at that young age a seed had obviously been planted!”

What sort of things do you like to do in the mountains…Any specific type of
activity which really makes you feel even closer to them?

“One of the main reasons I love them is there’s always something to do no matter
what conditions or weather are thrown at you. On a personal level, I have always
enjoyed journeying in the mountains through my own effort, be that running long
distances over multiple days, split boarding across mountain passes or climbing
routes in the heart of them. Recently I started paragliding, allowing a new
perspective, soaring above the cliffs I have climbed, ridges I have run and lakes I
have swum has been a real eye opener. I’m really looking forward to combining this
with running and climbing in the future.
As a professional mountaineering and climbing instructor I love being able to bring
the wonderment of the mountains to people while teaching them skills that make
them independent. I feel very fortunate to be able to pass on knowledge I have
gained to make people safer and more skilled, all the while building their own
What are your proudest or most memorable mountain moments?

“Without a shadow of a doubt, so far it has to be completing the Ultra Trail du Mont
Blanc, a dream of mine inspired by Killian Jornet in his book “Summits of My Life”.
The UTMB is a running race that traverses 3 countries over a distance of 100+ miles
with more ascent than if you climbed Everest from sea level (9,000+ metres of height
gain). I completed the race in 37 hours and I can only say that I had a whole year’s

worth of emotions rolled into those hours! I made lots of friends during the latter
stages that, as it turned out, didn’t even exist!”

“It was amazing to push my body to its limits and then some,

and discover what is actually possible…”


What made you start volunteering with Mountain Rescue and what sort of
things do you do with them?

“As soon as I moved to the mountains of North Wales, I knew that I had to volunteer
for the local team. I’ve not had to call Mountain Rescue but have had near misses
where it has only been luck that I didn’t. I have had numerous friends that have been
helped by different Mountain Rescue teams and so it only feels right to be able to
use my skills to give something back to the climbing and mountaineering community.
The Snowdon team that I am part of is the busiest team in the UK and we get called
out over 200 times a year, be it for broken limbs, lost and disorientated walkers in
bad weather, medical emergencies or climbers stuck on a small ledge unable to go
up or down, we will go out to help. The mountains in the UK are often
underestimated and a lot of call outs are as a consequence of this, we don’t judge
though and are just glad we can help people back to safety. It always surprises those
being rescued that we are 100% voluntary. We often get told what a great job we
have!! I would be lying if I said it doesn’t have its rewarding moments and the team is
a great community of like-minded people with a combined love of the mountains, all
wanting to help. It’s super positive to be a part of it”.

In 2017, you took your love of the mountains to another level and started your
business; Adventure Awaits. Could you tell us what Adventure Awaits is all
about? Why did you set it up? What did you want to share with others?

“Adventure Awaits was a chance for me to bring my passion for the mountains and
make it more accessible so everyone can enjoy them confidently and safely. We
take individuals, families and groups guiding them through a section or teaching
them new skills and techniques to build confidence and harness a journey towards
independence in the mountains. We help with climbing, trail running, sky running
(running and scrambling) and scrambling in addition to working with charities to
increase their revenue through exciting events. Since starting, the company has
grown organically holding true to its values and we are always looking at ways to
reduce the impact we, as a business, has on the environment. Recent additions
have been an electric vehicle to reduce our impact, offering reductions in price for
people that use public transport and offsetting peoples’ journeys into the National

So, what’s next for you?

“In March I’m heading out to Sweden to ski the Kungsleden trail. It’s a 500km journey
up through the Artic Circle with breath-taking mountain scenery. I am super excited

about it and something I have wanted to do for a number of years. The expedition is
being used as a stepping-stone to something bigger in 2024 that I’m planning with
the explorer Megan Hine. I’m also developing myself further, taking assessments so
I can guide people around mountains all over the word. I’ve also got some exciting
events booked in with Adventure Awaits including a running and yoga retreat,
climbing and mountaineering courses and a run taking in all the mountains above
3,000ft in North Wales. I’ll also be up in Scotland for a month guiding on the Cuillin
Ridge which is one of the greatest places to work”.

What advice would you give to someone who’s reading your blog, thinking
‘Wow, I want to do that sort of thing, but I don’t know where to start!!’?…

“The best advice I can give is to start small and put in place a good safety net around
you, be that with professionals like myself, experienced friends or a local club. I
started climbing and mountaineering with no tuition or insight from anyone; it
certainly made the process a lot slower and without the knowledge I have now, it
was a lot more dangerous.

“The main point though is to start!

Often this is the hardest part of trying something new and the
most daunting. Psychologically we can put up barriers, find
excuses or worry about going back to basics.”
The rewards however far outweigh any of this and you will feel good learning
something new, meet new people and enjoy those endorphins!

If you would like to get in touch with Dean himself, give him a follow or check out the
Adventure Awaits website, or have a little look at the links below:
Insta –
FB     –

Hit enter to search or ESC to close