An engineer by profession, Allan Hartley spent the majority of his working life overseas engaged on major construction projects. Throughout this time, however, he maintained his close links with Austria, which he discovered totally by accident in the early 1970s while trying to avoid atrocious weather conditions in the higher mountains of the western Alps. He believes that Austria and the Dolomites of neighbouring Italy remain one of mountaineering's best-kept secrets, with their heady mix of superb scenery, good huts and first-class food, and that they are areas better suited to the average mountaineer than the higher mountains to the west.
In addition to Austria and the Alps, Allan has climbed in east Africa, the Falkland Islands and the Greater Ranges in Nepal and Pakistan, as well as in lesser-known areas such as the Zagros mountains of Iran and, more recently, the Hajr mountains of the Arabian peninsula. Allan is a long-term member of the Austrian Alpine Club, as well of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a holder of the International Mountain Leaders Award. His home is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.