Mike first came across Peregrine Adventures in 1980 as a 21 year old member of the Australian Himalayan Kayak Expedition that undertook the first kayak descent of Sun Khosi river in Nepal which stretches from Tibet to India. Peregrine ran all the land operations for the expedition and Mike became close friends with Mick Chapman who had led Peregrine’s first trek in the Himalaya in 1977. Mike stayed in Nepal when the other expedition members returned to Australia and ended up working for the original overland company, Encounter Overland, as a white water rafting guide.
After 3 years he was eventually poached by Mick and Peregrine to help set up Peregrine’s new operations in Nepal and to train local Nepali guides. Over the six years that Mike was based in Nepal he trekked, rafted, kayaked and climbed all over the Himalaya including the Everest region, the Annapurna’s, Lang Tang, Helambu, Makalu, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Kashmir, Zanskar, Ladakh, Sikkim and in other Himalayan countries like Bhutan and Tibet. He has led treks and expeditions now for 38 years. In 1993 he was a member of the Australian Everest Expedition celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the ascent of Everest with Australian Himalayan legends like Andrew Lock, Mike Groom and Tashi Tenzing.
Mike has not confined himself just to the Himalaya, he has travelled to every continent including six times to Antarctica, he has climbed Kilimanjaro twice, sailed through the fabled North West Passage to Greenland, explored the old slave forts of Ghana, trekked in Patagonia several times, climbed on Aconcagua, gone on safari in South Africa, driven a truck in Tunisia, travelled through Peru, trekked the Inca Trail, trekked in the European Alps, walked on the Camino de Santiago 3 times and once on the Portuguese Coastal Camino, he’s trekked in the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, skied in Hokkaido Japan, journeyed through the Caucasus in Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia, sea kayaked in places as diverse as Fiji, Antarctica, Canada and the Southern Ocean and walked the entire 1000 km length of the Bibbulmun Track in WA.
Mike had a big year in 2011 travelling to Quito in Ecuador, sailing on Peregrine’s ship, the San Jose, in the spectacular Galapagos Islands, hanging out in Venice Beach in LA in America, climbing Kilimanjaro again via the Machame route and walking the historic Kokoda Track from north to south. He also led a group to Rajasthan in India and combined that with a beautiful trek on the Singalila Ridge, the border of Nepal and the region of Sikkim in India.
For those who are keen on travelling with their children, Mike has taken his 3 kids on several treks throughout Nepal including in the Everest area. After owning and operating the Mountain Designs adventure stores in WA for 24 years Mike finally sold the business in September 2010 and is now concentrating on the Peregrine Travel Centre WA after buying it from Peter in 2008.
In April 2012 Mike led a very successful Everest High Passes trek crossing over 2 passes and climbing 2 peaks, as well as visiting Everest Base Camp on the south side, ably assisted by Jos they had 30 clients spread over 2 separate groups. The group spent 7 days over 5000m without any altitude problems. Then in September Mike completed a voyage to the Canadian Arctic and completed the legendary North West Passage going all the way to the remote West Coast of Greenland, home of the sea kayak, with One Ocean Expeditions. Plus, while in North America, along with his wife Holly, Mike undertook Peregrine’s 10-day taste of the Appalachian Trail; a highlight of the trail trip which traverses the whole north east coast of America. As Mike has been the Chairman of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation since its inception in 1996 he feels it’s important to visit as many of the world’s long-distance trails as possible to bring back knowledge to WA.
As there was a huge demand for Mike to return to Nepal in 2013 he undertook another Everest High Passes trek in April 2013 (check out the photos from the last trek in 2012) and, again, it was so popular he ended up taking 2 groups of 15. He also escorted a group from the Bibbulmun Track Foundation to Peru to walk the Inca Trail in May. Then in October he escorted a small group to walk the last week of the Camino Trail (120km) in Spain and did a 6-day cycle tour of the Loire Valley in France, some of Peregrine’s most popular trips in Europe.
In 2014 Mike escorted another European walking holiday, this time in Italy as well as Spain. The group of 15 spent ‘A week on the Camino‘ and then combined it with a spectacular ‘Week on the Amalfi Coast’, one of Peregrine’s most popular destinations. And, the highlight for 2014, a voyage on the Akademik Vavilov to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula escorting a small group from Perth.
2015 began with a rafting trip on the Franklin in Tasmania, one of the greatest wilderness trips of all time. In March, Mike took his annual group trek to Nepal, this time 14 trekkers undertook the Annapurna High Passes trek. In May Mike went on an educational as part of a Peregrine group to Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia and was fascinated by the history and turmoil in this little traveled region. He took a group of 14 WA intrepid travelers on another Europe trip in September, this time ‘A Week on the Camino’ and “A Week in the Dolomites’ finishing up in Venice. He then undertook some research for a new trip to take place in the Balkans next year in September, led by Jos, on the Via Dinarica incorporating Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia.
Mike started 2016 with a bang by leading a very successful trip to ‘Patagonia & Antarctica’, which included Crossing the Antarctic Circle. The group had brilliant weather while trekking in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and in the Cerro Torre and Mt Fitzroy region near El Chalten in Argentina. The good weather continued in Antarctica which allowed many great landings on the continent and surrounding islands and cross the Antarctic Circle. Mike managed several kayak excursions on this voyage on the Ocean Endeavour with Quark.
2016 also saw another successful trek to Nepal, the Everest High Passes, this trek had 16 clients and no-one had any problems with altitude due to the gradual ascent made possible by a well-designed itinerary. In May Mike spent a week in Russia and Finland before meeting up with a private group of cyclists from WA and undertaking a Cycling trip to the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia through Exodus Travels.
2017 was also a busy year with a trip to Morocco with a private group at the end of March and Mike has scheduled this trip so it connected nicely with his next group, a walk on the Portuguese Coastal Camino from Portugal to Spain. He also took a few days off in Istanbul to absorb the colours and history of this amazing city. Mike took a group on one of Peregrine’s first new small-ship Adventure Cruises on the Croatian coast from Sibenik to Dubrovnik in August. He combined that voyage with an actual holiday in the Aeolian Islands above Sicily in Italy managing to look into the pit of an active volcano on Stromboli. In November he headed back to Patagonia for a variation on Peregrine’s Hiking in Patagonia, which connected with an 11 day Antarctic Explorer voyage on the Sea Adventurer finishing in Buenos Aires. Mike has now done 6 Polar voyages and experienced 5 different ships so he can offer some great advice on ship comparisons.
His Everest High Passes trek in 2018 ran into a bit of bad weather so the group took the prudent approach and didn’t go over the high Cho La pass but everyone got to Everest Base Camp. Mike had a spectacular trip to Canada on July 18 to do a voyage in the East Canadian Maritimes in the Gulf of St Lawrence, wildlife and cultural hotspot. He combined that with a Grand American Adventures Rocky Mountain Way Walking tour from Vancouver to Calgary. He has a trek planned on the West Highland Way in Scotland in early October and then it’s back to Patagonia & Antarctica in February 2019, there are still some places left on this trip at the time of publishing if you wish to join him.
In fact, 2020 is looking like another big year with an “Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia” private itinerary planned for Apr/May 2020. Mike designed this trip to take in not only the cultural aspects of this incredible and less-traveled region but also the chance to do some walking. He also has a private group planned to trek in the “Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan” in Oct/Nov 2020 which will involve doing the remote Jomolhari trek combined with a visit to Gangtey to partake in the “Black-Necked Crane Festival” performed by local Buddhist monks.
Contact the office if you are interested in joining Mike on any of these adventures.