The Mountain Experts

Francois-Eric Cormier

Lead Trail Guide

François-Eric Cormier is our Lead Trail Guide and will likely be leading on our charity fundraisers, as well as our corporate performance programmes.  Our clients love him, not least for his now famous early morning alarm call "Bonjour Bonjour"! 

Francois-Eric is a French state-qualified mountain leader and a member of the Chamonix Guides Company.  He knows the trails of Chamonix and the Mont Blanc range as well as anyone ever could and in 2015 completed the iconic 170km Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in just over 45 hours.  2 days later he led back to back speed hikes on the same route for CHX, playing a huge part in the team raising almost £30,000 for charity. 

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Francois-Eric has been leading hiking, snow-shoeing and canyoning trips, as well as running photography courses in the mountains for more than 20 years. For François-Eric, CHX is an opportunity to share his love for hiking and discovering wild places both near and far.  He has travelled the World in pursuit of mountain adventure, from the Alps to the Himalayas, from the Andes to New Zealand, from Iceland to Kamchatka and from Chamonix to the other side of Mont-Blanc!

When not working you may find Francois-Eric running the trails.  He has completed many famous trail races in France, some of which are the Trail of the Aiguilles Rouges, les Templiers, and the CCC. In 2016 he completed the 140km TDS in 25 hours.

Francois-Eric  is the author of several books on hiking including his guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc. He is available for signed copies! 

Emilie Lecomte

Guide

Emilie is quite honestly inspirational. Not only is she a World record holding ultra trail champion but she is an incredibly modest character who simply loves the mountains, and loves nothing more than sharing her passion. 

Before she tells you about herself, we thought we would mention just a few of her various trail running victories:

2016 Grand to Grand Ultra, USA - 273 km - Women's champion and third overall. 

2015 Ultra Trail Echapee Belle, France - 145 km - woman's record and 3rd overall including the elite male runners! 

2014 Tor des Géants, Italy - 330 km, 24 000m altitude gain – women’s record (going back to defend it next year because she wasn’t happy with her time of 80 hours!)

2009 and 2012 Diagonale des Fous, Reunion Island - 170km and 10800m altitude gain

2011 Andorra Ultra Trail, Andorra 112km and 9700m altitude gain

2010 6666 Occitane France 118Km 6666 altitude gain

2012 Ultra Ardéchois France 98km and 4000m altitude gain

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She also happens to hold the World Record for running the 180km GR20 (12000m altitude) in 2012 in a time of 41 hours, and was the first French runner home in the 80km Trophy Endurance Trail of 2012.

And rather than tell you about Emilie we thought we would let her say it in her own words:

My key values are self-respect, respect for others, of the rules, of ethics, and for the environment, as well as sharing of experience, knowledge and feelings. I believe in a total commitment to achieving a goal and surpassing oneself.

After more than 15 years of commercial experience, I am now living my passion – on and around the trail and mountainside. A sport that I only started relatively late has totally changed my mind about life and values. It had become a real lifestyle, a line of conduct and more than anything a real passion. Convinced that sport requires values core to everyday life, it became obvious for me to share it with young people.

Constantly amazed by the beauty of the natural landscape, and conscious of its fragile balance, it seemed essential to me that we preserve it in order that our children might be able to enjoy it with the same enthusiasm than I have today.

These two things have led me to want to pass on my passion for protecting the mountains, and to share my many sporting experiences with other people that are passionate about the great outdoors.

That is why I took the decision to leave the corporate World and I changed direction for the best job in the World: Mountain leader!

And by the way, when Emilie isn’t guiding with CHX, or running a race, she is to be found speaking at conferences on the subject of “Women and Trail practice” as well as “the global preparation for ultra Trail” (Training, race management, nutrition...)

Richard Etellin

Mountain Leader and Biathlon Coach

Born and raised in Chamonix, Richard has had a passion for endurance sports since a young age, leading him to his chosen career as a Mountain Leader. Qualified in Hiking, Cross Country Skiing/Biathlon and Mountain Biking, Richard loves to share his passion with clients. Richard is also a sports coach at the local high school for the students’ pursuing their ‘Bi-qualification ’ in Ski and Mountain.

During military service, Richard had the opportunity to be part of the military French ski team and participated in Nordic ski and trail races. He continues to compete, winter and summer in many different endurance races, including the CCC, TDS, Mont Blanc Marathon, Marathon de Bessans, Transjurassienne.

With CHX he works as trail guide in summer and biathlon (x-country ski and shooting) coach in winter. His laid-back and fun style make him enormously popular!

Andy Bunce

UK Lead Trail Guide

Andy is our lead trail guide and movement specialist for our UK events and has lived the outdoor life since his introduction to it 30 years ago. 

His expertise in human performance has incorporated the delivery of health and exercise seminars across the corporate world to facilitating and guiding executive boards in the outdoor environment.

Andy has accumulated 25 years’ experience in the fitness industry, specialising in corporate health and wellbeing based within London’s square mile, and the instruction of martial arts and application of movement in combat.

His passion is mountaineering, he has rock and ice climbed in the UK and Europe, mountaineered extensively in the Alps, and been involved with exploration expeditions summiting and mapping virgin peaks in the Tien shen range of Kyrgyzstan and is due to complete his Mountain Leaders Award in 2016.  He lives in the deepest, darkest Yorkshire Dales and knows the British Landscape like the back of his hand!