Our Expedition Leaders


James McManus

Jam grew up in Tipperary and from an early age fell in love with the outdoors. He got his first job as a guide in 1999 and set up Earth’s Edge in 2007. He splits his time between running the business and leading four to five expeditions per year. 

Each year he climbs a big mountain in the greater ranges with friends. He is passionate about the importance of going on adventures in a fun, safe and sustainable way. For more about Jam and his journey click here

Louise Lawrence

Lou has been working as an outdoor instructor for more than 20 years. Having spent her childhood kayaking and mountaineering she went on to explore the mountains of Nepal, Chile, New Zealand, South Korea and Europe.  The love of snow and mountains takes her to the Alps for as much of the winter as she can spare!

She has a BSc in Sports Science and Psychology and is a Mountain Leader, Orienteering Level 2 Coach, and PADI Dive Instructor. When she is not traveling with Earth’s Edge, Lou runs Branch Out, a company that is passionate about teaching the school curriculum outdoors.

Brian Bateson

Brian is originally from Kildare, but it being landlocked and flat, he left the Midlands for the rockclimbing and surf of West Clare.

He is a qualified Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor and when not guiding for Earth’s Edge he can be found on the hills teaching navigation or rock climbing on the cliffs of The Burren, where he runs his own climbing company: Climb It.

 Mary Gunning

Mary has been working as an outdoor instructor for over 20 years. She started climbing mountains as a teenager and hasn’t looked back since. Torn between the mountains and the sea, she loves all things outdoors – scuba diving & skiing amongst them. She has travelled to Europe, Asia, South America, New Zealand, and the Himalayas, exploring her passion for adventure, travelling & nature.

When not working on expeditions for Earth’s Edge, Mary runs her Yoga company holisticlife – running Yoga & Meditation Workshops and Retreats. She believes every day is a learning day, whether you’re on the yoga mat, in the water or on the mountain.

John Healy

John has more than 25 years of climbing, trekking and mountaineering experience across the globe from Alaska to New Zealand, throughout Europe and many places in between. He is a qualified Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor (MCI), mountain biking guide, Climbing Coach and Sports Ireland Tutor.

He has been working in the mountains for over 15 years, with a particular passion for snow and ice and an irrational love of camping! Here at home John runs hillwalking, mountaineering and rock climbing courses for all levels throughout Ireland – #johnhealyclimbing

Lorcan McDonnell

A childhood spent outdoors has brought Lorcan to where he is today. He has been working in the outdoors in Ireland for more than 25 years and is a qualified International Mountain Leader and holds a BA in Outdoor Learning. As well as that, he’s an accomplished canoe and kayak instructor and a climber. His travels have taken him to many parts of the world from the Arctic, Peru, Tanzania, Russia, Morocco and beyond, on both personal and group expeditions most recently to Alaska and Finnish Lapland in 2019.

Lorcan lives in Kerry and when not working for Earth’s Edge will be found as part of the staff team at Cappanalea NCOET. When not working in the outdoors, he can be found spending time with his family (also in the outdoors). Lorcan is passionate about making the most of the expedition experience for all those concerned.

Mike Jones

Mike has been adventuring ever since he bought his first tent with his Holy Communion money. Since then, he has spent three decades traveling the globe exploring rivers, mountains and oceans. He summited Mont Banc at 18 and has gone on to row across the Atlantic and sea kayak solo around Ireland.

He holds a BA in Outdoor Education and an MA in International Tourism, along with a range of outdoor qualifications. Mike works full time as a Director of Marketing for a Travel company in Dublin welcoming visitors from all over the globe to the Emerald Isle but always manages to fit in some adventures with Earth’s Edge – sharing his passion for adventure and traveling the globe.

Aaron Byrne

Aaron started working in the mountains more than 15 years ago and led his first expedition for Earth’s Edge in 2012. He is a qualified International Mountain Leader and also holds the Winter Mountain Leader award. Aaron was involved in Mountain Rescue for 10 years and served as Training Officer and Team Leader for the Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team in Wicklow.

He has travelled to all corners of the globe but his passion for adventure never wains, which you are sure to discover if he is your expedition leader!

Jonathan Redmond

From Co. Wicklow and at home in the mountains ‘Jono’ is a passionate rock and mountain climber. He is happiest when out in the hills in the best or worst of the Irish weather, climbing cliffs with a view, and bringing like-minded folk on adventures up mountains and to beautiful wild places. During the winter months Jono relocates to Chamonix in the French Alps to ski and enjoy some alpine climbing.

He is a qualified IML and when not working for Earth’s Edge will be found guiding groups on the tour du Mont blanc and Haute route during the summer. He also runs Mountain Odyssey when home in Ireland, a company for instructing and guiding rock climbing based in Wicklow.

Sam Benson

Sam has been involved in the outdoors for over 30 years – his first job was instructing in North Wales and then France back in 1991.  He has since been fortunate enough to work and travel on expeditions to most corners of the globe. In 2002 he returned to University as a mature student in Bangor North Wales and studied Sports Science and Outdoor Education. This has led to Sam living in North Wales for the past 18 years and he now splits his year between Wales and the Picos de Europa mountains of Northern Spain.

Some of the peaks he has summitted include Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Mera Peak, Island Peak and most recently he lead a team to summit Elbrus for Earth’s edge. He simply loves being in the mountains and the outdoors in general!

Michael Napier

Mike is a qualified International Mountain leader and has been working in the outdoors on three different continents for the last 14 years. He has lead people in a range of different activities and environments from multi-day hikes in the European Alps and Jungle in South East Asia to the high summits of Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru in Tanzania. Mike has also guided rafting and kayaking trips on the white waters of the Nile and sea kayaking off the coast of Malaysia.

Mike’s passion for the outdoors over-flows into his personal life, when not working he can be found trekking and climbing, predominantly in Wales and the Alps or restoring the old wooden boat he calls home.

Gracjan Fil

Gracjan grew up in one of the wildest parts of Poland which helped him to establish a deep connection with nature. He started exploring mountains as a teenager and hasn’t stopped since. In 2006, Gracjan decided to have a change of scenery and moved to Ireland, the place he now calls home. He has travelled to over 60 countries around the world on his personal and professional expeditions.

He holds a MSc in Geography and GIS along with the International Mountain Leader badge. When not guiding for Earth’s Edge, Gracjan divides his free time between mountaineering and paragliding. He also runs guided-mountains.ie – offering mountain guiding services in Ireland and the UK.

Josephine McGee

Josie was born and raised in Monaghan and has been working in the outdoor industry for over ten years. She now lives and operates out of Aviemore, Scotland where she balances freelance and contract work with obtaining more qualifications! Josie studied Business Sports Coaching and Development and through her studies found her love for the outdoors.

Her passion for the outdoors has lead to many adventures across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, when she is not off playing and having fun mountain biking and paddling rivers, she is working towards her Mountain Climbing Instructor, International Mountain leader and planning the next adventure!

Jonathan Houston

Jonny is originally from Derry and got his summer ML award in 1996. During a teaching career in the UK he used it to enrich the experiences of SEN pupils with expeditions to Dartmoor, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia as well as a memorable trek to Everest base camp.

In 2015 he became an IML and since then has led youth expeditions to Borneo, the Indian Himalaya, Zambia and Morocco and now works with an International School trekking in Switzerland and Tanzania.  For Earth’s Edge he has led expeditions in Nepal, Tanzania and Peru. Jonny likes nothing better than a bit of high altitude singing, before, during and after a long day’s trekking!

Fiona Mullan

As a teenager when Fiona set foot in the Mourne Mountains she knew she had found her passion. Whilst studying at University Fiona took full advantage of the extracurricular outdoor activities on offer. After completing a post-grad in Outdoor Education she worked in Scotland for 15 years before moving back to her beloved Mourne Mountains.

Fiona can usually be found in the Alps in winter teaching people to ski, in the Mournes working through her business Mountain Sojourns or trekking one of the great mountainous areas of the world with Earth’s Edge. She has extended experience of trekking in Peru, Bolivia, Ladakh, Nepal, and Tanzania – the areas which are closest to her heart. Fiona enthusiastically passes on her love and knowledge of mountains and trekking to all who choose to travel with her.


What Our Clients Say

The Kenya Tri-Adventure is an amazing trip. I have done lots of trekking holidays before but I feel like this trip had the perfect mixture of disciplines. When I look back I don’t know how we fit that much into 11 days. The hike is…

Sarah Jane Rooney, Co. Dublin

Everest Base Camp and Island Peak was my second trip with Earth’s Edge. The team at Earth’s Edge treat everyone with respect and make you feel part of the family rather than simply a paying customer. I have met some wonderful people and shared some…

John Creaven, Co. Dublin

Hands down the most special and amazing trip I have done to date, and coming from a well-seasoned traveler this is saying a lot! Climbing Kilimanjaro had been on my bucket list for quite some time and when I turned 40 this year, I decided…

Adele Woods, Co. Kildare

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