Louise Kennedy and Dylan Jones want to take you on an adventure. After all, they’ve been on one of their own—and, so far, it’s proved rewarding.
The two climbers first connected over their shared passion in England, then absconded to the French Alps to live out their dream together. That’s when disaster struck: A near miss while rock climbing traumatized Jones to the point where he lost his ability to retain any new information.
During that very difficult time, being out in nature was a saving grace for the couple. So, it was after Jones’ recovery, that the two decided to found, Alpine Fix, an adventure experience that offers people a break from the everyday grind, time outdoors and a chance to realize their own potential.
Kennedy’s own longtime experience in the corporate world—as well as her yoga training—informs their understanding of how important escape and quiet can be. Here, the two climbers, mountaineers and adventurers discuss how a deeper connection with nature can help heal us all:
Live The Process: What brought you both to live in the French Alps?
Louise Kennedy: I grew up in the south of England in a place called Petersfield—no mountains or cliffs, but quite near the sea! I didn't start climbing until my late 20s; I’m now 41. I started climbing after I went on a trek through the jungle in Costa Rica with a friend to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and I fell in love with the idea of leading treks myself. So, I gave in my notice as soon as I got back and started training to be a mountain leader. Then, an inspiring woman and friend said that I wouldn't be much of a mountaineer if I couldn’t rock climb! As soon as I tried it, I was hooked.
I came to the French Alps on a climbing road trip nine years ago, living out of a van and traveling from place to place, exploring the climbing and meeting other climbers. I loved it so much that I stayed. The alpine environment where we live now felt like home to me—more so than any other place I've lived. The mountains and nature surrounding us are just so beautiful; I feel very lucky to be here.
Dylan Jones: I met Louise three years ago in Dorset, South England, at a rock climbing event by the sea. I had been to the Alps on holiday before and used to spend weeks at a time climbing just an hour from where we now live. So, I knew the area and, when Louise wanted to return home to France that winter, she asked if I would go with her. It was a dream come true.
LTP: What was the inciting incident for Dylan’s PTSD and what was the impact?
LK: We met at a pub in Dorset and connected over climbing, but also Guatemala, where his ex-girlfriend was and I was about to go for yoga teacher training. We didn't see each other for a month following that, but soon met up to climb together for the weekend—and we stayed together from that moment on. Dylan and I lived together in France for months without issue, and it was a rock climbing accident that triggered the PTSD. There was a huge rockfall that Dylan dislodged and it only just missed me; it would surely have killed me, but I was lucky. This event was so traumatic that it gave Dylan PTSD.
DJ: Up to that moment, I didn't know how life could get any better: I was in paradise with the woman I loved. But, after the accident, I couldn't remember anything at all. I was super anxious, not wanting to leave the house, and I couldn’t formulate any new memories at all. It was a terrible time for me. I was mentally very unwell and Louise became like a support worker for me, as I couldn’t do or remember basic things.
LTP: What inspired the creation of Alpine Fix? And how do you juggle that passion and your corporate work?
LK: Both Dylan and I have benefited so much from nature, a love of the mountains, being outdoors and climbing. I also work as a freelance web usability consultant, but, with Alpine Fix, I wanted to offer the same life-changing opportunity I’ve had to others: to give them a taste of the natural world up close, to help them push their boundaries, step outside their comfort zones and try something new. I want them to see that they have more potential than they realize and the outdoors can help with that—particularly climbing, where you have to face fears and fail many times before you succeed. I think corporate life is very draining, but we have the technology now to make it more flexible. I can take calls and have meetings in the mountains, so I can continue to work and still live a different life. Other people are inspired by that—it doesn't have to be 9 to 5 at the same desk all your life!
LTP: What experience do you guys offer?
LK: Awesome adventures in an alpine environment with a close community of friends. I thought we were a yoga retreat with climbing, but all our clients have started calling it “the best adventure” they’ve had. And that’s what life is to us, so it fits.
DJ: We facilitate whatever activities people would like to do: mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking. We serve them freshly prepared healthy meals each day, which we all eat together, socializing as friends. We form a big mountain community for the week and give people a real adventure.
LTP: Aside from your own treks, do you have other products or rituals that keep you feeling balanced and healthy? [This could be anything from beauty lines/products that you love right now to a certain yoga class to a certain jewelry line that is especially beautiful and brings you joy to a certain juice to certain essential oils to drinking lemon water to whatever!]
LK: I practice yoga and meditate, which helps me balance, but also I love bath time rituals, lighting candles, essential oils etc. We even have a cast iron bath next to the river at the bottom of the garden that you light a fire under to heat the water!
Other than that, it’s the outdoors that makes me feel healthy—so, both a walk in the woods and the sounds of the river soothe me. I’m also really into listening to Man of No Ego with Alan Watts when I do yoga at the moment; it transports me out into the universe.
DJ: Climbing has always kept me out of trouble and I love it, but I’m also learning to ski, which keeps me healthy—particularly ski touring in the mountains with our dog.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
LK: Happiness is spending time in the mountains with my loved ones and just being so in awe of the sheer beauty of everything around.
DJ: Happiness is our mountain dog!
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
LK: Every day, I try to be as present as I can—just grateful for all that I see and all that I am. I’m living as closely as I can to what I'd like to be doing every day. I’m working on seeing it all as a “process,” so I don’t get uptight if I fail at a route or don’t meet all my goals. I'm human and flawed, and just learning to appreciate all that there is, is enough.
DJ: Make the most of every moment because life does inevitably fly by. My best medicine is go to bed feeling like you have really put some effort into something. That can be absolutely anything as long as it’s something worthwhile and meaningful to you or anyone you care for.