Andes Website : Climbing, Skiing, Trekking and Guidebooks in South America

Who we are

This page tells you more about ANDES. Who runs the business and  where our office is located.

Castle Douglas from Carlingwark Loch. Our office is just behind the old church.

Castle Douglas in December 2010 as seen from Carlingwark Loch. It's in the foreground but frozen!! The ANDES office and library is just behind the old church  (which is now the Fullarton Theatre).

ANDES is a genuinely small business run from Castle Douglas in Galloway (southwest Scotland). The business is owned and operated by John Biggar, an active climber, skier and snowboarder. John is a fully qualified Mountaineering Instructor (MIC)  belonging to the AMI and has completed the Alpine Level 1 instructor course with BASI.  He is the author of the only comprehensive climbing  guidebook to the Andes.  This book was first published in 1996, with the fourth English edition due to be published in late 2014. The second French and first Spanish editions were published in 2007, a Polish edition came out  in February 2012 and a Czech edition is due for 2014.

John Biggar, MIC, ski-mountaineering in Patagonia in 2005.    John Biggar, MIC

I have been operating specialist treks and climbing expeditions to South America for twenty years now and have climbed over 250 of the 5000m and 6000m peaks in the Andes. In that time I have also personally been to every famous peak or trek and have done pretty much all of the sightseeing. I have completed a large number of research trips and led unusual itineraries to some interesting and undiscovered places. Expeditions run by myself under the ANDES brand have made first British ascents of three of the ten highest Andean peaks (Bonete, Pissis and Cazadero) and first ever ascents of over ten 6000m+ Andean peaks. It is not really boasting to say that I know the Andes, as a whole, better than anyone else in the world. I can offer impartial advice, whether you are going trekking, climbing, skiing or just sightseeing. In my spare time in Scotland I rock and ice-climb, ski-mountaineer and snowboard and I have also opened over 100 new rock and/or ice climbs in my local Galloway Hills. For more details of these routes and climbing in Galloway in general see

Claire Evans works in the office when she has time off from chasing round the house after two toddlers and Jack the Jack Russell.

Claire Evans helps out in the office several times a week, when she has time off from chasing round the house after two young kids and Jack the Jack Russell. Claire was originally from North Wales.

Guides and Expedition Leaders

 Some of the guides and expedition leaders who I work with out in the Andes are listed below.




Dante Alegria

Damian Aurelio, IFMGA, Quechua, Spanish and English, lives in Huaraz, Peru

Damian Aurelio

Linda Biggar, MIA, WML, Good Spanish, Lives in Castle Douglas

Linda Biggar

David Roberts, BASI, WML, lives in Wales

David Roberts

Martin Akhurst, MIA, WML, Good Spanish.

Martin Akhurst

Pere Vilarasau, AAGM,  fluent English, lives in Bariloche, Argentina

Pere Vilarasau

Praia Vermelha Morro da Urca climb

Linda Biggar climbing in Rio de Janeiro.

David Roberts, a ski instructor who leads some of our ski holidays, skiing on Volcan Domuyo in Patagonia (thats what the sticks are for!)

David Roberts, a BASI ski instructor who has lead some of our ski courses, skiing on Volcan Domuyo in Patagonia (that's what the sticks are for!)

ANDES courses and expeditions are mostly lead by  myself. I speak good or fluent Spanish and have huge experience of travel in the mountains of South America. A few other mountaineering expeditions are led by competent and experienced mountaineers. They are either qualified as members of the British Mountain Guides (BMG), a member organisation of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) or belong to the British qualified Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI). Logistics only arrangements, whether guided or un-guided are usually made through my network of regular contacts and mountain guides out in South America.

Association of Mountaineering Instructors IFMGA mountain guides


Our Office

Andes, 37a St Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1EN        Andes office

Our office is located in the centre of Castle Douglas, a quiet wee town in Galloway, in the wet and windy south west corner of Scotland. Personal callers are very welcome, though it is much better to phone (01556 503929) or email first to be sure I can be around to meet you.

Click here to view our location on Bing.

To reach Castle Douglas (CD) follow the M6 north from England turning onto the A75 towards Dumfries, or follow the M74 south from Central Scotland, turning onto the A701 at Beattock, to reach Dumfries.

 From Dumfries go round the bypass and follow the A75 west, signposted "Stranraer", for 16 miles to reach CD. Turn left off the A75 at the roundabout as you reach the town. Once in the 30mph zone go straight across at the mini-roundabout and past Tesco to reach a really big roundabout with big trees on it. Take the second exit here, signposted Auchencairn. This is Queen Street. About half way down Queen Street turn left opposite the Kings Arms Hotel (currently painted white with black window surrounds). You are now in St. Andrew Street. We're just on the left side of this street, 20m from the junction, at number 37a.

 Parking is easy and free.

We are 2 hours drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, 3 hours from Manchester, 4-5 from Birmingham and Sheffield and a whopping 10 hours if you are coming all the way from Cornwall! If calling in on your way north (or south) it's only about 1 hours extra driving time in total to get to and from CD from the M6-M74 motorway.

Our full legal business postal address is John Biggar T/A Andes, 37a St. Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1EN, Scotland. Full phone and email contact details are here

Carlingwark Loch, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrighthsire.

Carlingwark Loch, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire winter 2005.