Who: Pyrenean Odysseys Team

Mandy Latchford

Born and bred in Ireland, Mandy first discovered the mountains in the Canadian Rockies in a year out between school and university.  Taken in by this new world, she went on to study Sports, Leisure and Tourism at Edinburgh University.  The degree included “countryside studies and the mountains” and Mandy had the chance to do an Erasmus exchange year in Pau, France.  Discovering the Pyrenees was a revelation for her!  While she travelled widely following her studies to various “mountainous places”, the Pyrenees always pulled her back!

Over the years, Mandy has worked in many different domains. She has run a mountain refuge, taught hockey, worked in an Irish bar (!), and since 2003 she has been qualified as an international mountain leader, or “accompaganteur en moyenne montagne”, and this is now her profession.  Well known for her calm and reassuring presence in the mountains Mandy encourages everyone into their best efforts.  She and Sacha and live in the Val d’Azun (20 mins from Luz) with Milan, Thibault and Anouchka. Contact Mandy.

Sacha Romanoff

Odyssée sibérienneFrench-African-Russian, born in the Basque country, educated in Norway, Sacha came back to France to study archaeology, history of art and philosophy at the University of  Toulouse… not far from “Les Pyrénées” where he has always kept a foot!  Since then he has travelled widely, walking to the North Cape, sailing across the Atlantic, working on humanitarian missions in Africa, and expeditions in the Great North including crossing Siberia with sled dogs from the Baikal lake to Moscow… Today, his life is with Mandy and the children in the Pyrenees, “home sweet home”, “rich and rare land”, continually improving Blue Cairn Lodge in Arras en Lavedan which provides accommodation in two buildings for 4-15 people. Contact Sacha.

Richard Dupont

RichardA UIAGM certified high mountain guide Richard has offered ski touring, ice-climbing and alpinism expeditions since the mid 1990s. Born and bred in the Alps he has made his home here in the Pyrenees with his partner and has travelled extensively throughout the world searching out climbing spots and adventures.

As all who know him will attest, Richard’s interests are wide and varied. You never know what you’ll end up discussing with him out on the mountain! Contact Richard.

Remi Laborde

Remi profileAlso a UIAGM certified high mountain guide, Remi, in duo with Richard, offers ski touring expeditions, climbing and ice-climbing around the world. Originally from Pau he lived for a long time in the Luz Valley before setting up house in Arudy in the Ossau Valley with his partner and two children.

Remi filmed and put together this video of the 2013 Valpelline Tour. Contact Remi.


Jonathan Carruthers-Jones

Spending all his childhood summers in north Wales the mountains caught him early. Edinburgh University was then a natural choice for education as it took Jonathan closer to the great Scottish wilderness.  Many an epic was had exploring the Highlands and enjoying its bothies, especially in winter.

Tempted by the promise of a better climate and a new mountain playground Jonathan and his wife moved out to the Pyrenees in 2004.

Jon is a full member of the International Union of Mountain Leaders and the French Union of “Accompagnateurs en Moyenne Montagne”.  Visit the British Association of International Mountain Leaders for more info – BAIML

After completing an MSc in Sustainable Mountain Development with the Centre for Mountain Studies in Scotland – CMS – Jon now begins a PhD, again focussing on parts of the European wildlife corridor. So leading groups in the mountains will take a back seat for a couple of years. Contact Jon.

Sian Grigg

SianBefore running a hotel in Luz St Sauveur Sian has had a few other professional incarnations.  After working for an Australian PC manufacturer in the early 1990s she had a stint in NZ selling barcode scanners and equipment before being back in Australia working for a large Australian industrial.  Completing the first two years of an environmental science degree part time, she completed the third year, and Honours, full time, graduating in 1999.  In 2000 she began a PhD (climate science, ocean modelling), finishing in 2005.

A sabbatical year spent in Gèdre in Laurent’s parents holiday house in 2001 was her first introduction to the mountains.  Sian and Laurent then moved permanently to France with their children and bought Hotel Les Templiers in 2003. A keen sportperson at school, Sian relishes the physical nature of life in the mountains, and the walking she does checking trails and updating walk notes.

Contact Sian & Laurent: +33 5 6292 8152, Hotel Les Templiers, 6 Place de la Comporte, 65120 LUZ ST SAUVEUR.

Laurent Grandsimon

Laurent’s mother was born and raised in Luz. Her father was the headmaster at the college and his mother’s grandparents and great grandparents lived for many years in two rooms of what is today Hotel Les Templiers.  His great grandparents built “Les Remparts”, then a hotel and now apartments and rooms (where you may well also stay) just on the other side of the church.

Laurent spent his first six years in Gèdre and the next six in Arcizans-Avant (just above Argeles-Gazost) before high school in Tarbes and Auch and university, where he did six years of finance, in Toulouse. After university he worked for Hachette, a French multi-national before being sent to the French embassy in Australia for his military service.  So began his Australian adventures. Once military service was completed he worked for an Australian PC manufacturer, Osborne Computers, then Gateway computers, then IBM.

Once back in France Laurent did some teaching at the engineering university in Tarbes (ENIT), begun a small foray into cereal farming, maintained a politics blog and jointly ran the hotel. He was elected mayor of Luz in 2014 and president of various commissions around the valley so is well occupied. He has now added the presidency of the Pyrenees National Park to all this. Occasionally he dips in to help with Pyrenean Odysseys and the hotel when required!

atout_france_logoPyrenean Odysseys is a certified and bonded tour operator with Atout France (IM065120014).