Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keeping the Learning Edges Sharp

Scenes from the San Juan Mountains, site of the AMGA Ski Guide Course.
Heading to Ouray without ice tools in my bag stung like sharp shards coming off a misplaced swing on a bulletproof day. The wealth of ice climbing opportunities that this area of Colorado's North San Juan Mountain Range offers is well-known. Less well known—and as I would soon discover—is that the ski mountaineering options offered in the North San Juans is on par with the ice. I was headed out to explore those options, by way of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Ski Guide Course (SGC). Having completed both the Alpine and Rock Guide certification programs a few years ago, I was interested in exploring the Ski Guide program with a eye toward International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) certification (you must complete all three tracks for IFMGA certification), but approached it with a keener focus on keeping my learning edges sharp.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Red Rocks Bouldering


This past winter we were able to take a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to boulder for two weeks. It was our first major trip in our new/ converted van, Rodney. We'd both been to Red Rocks previously to rope climb, but neither of us had ever really bouldered in Red Rocks before this trip. We found the bouldering there to be really fun and plentiful. We were lucky enough to be joined by many friends on the trip. Following are a few images from our time there.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ski Boots or Rock Shoes? A journey toward the IFMGA.

As many of you throughout the country are transitioning from winter to spring, trading ski boots and ice axes for rock shoes and crash pads.  I had the pleasure of extending my season and continuing my guide education in Pemberton British Columbia on the American Mountain Guides Association Ski Exam.  The Ski Exam is the eight day culmination of the ski track and candidates are assessed and certified at the IFMGA standard in addition to furthering our general education.  Candidates come to the exam with a large amount experience, not to mention all the course work including a 12-day Ski Guide Course, 10-day Advanced Ski Guide Course and Aspirant Exam, a 4-day AIARE Level II, and a 5-day AIARE Level III.  That’s 31 days of professional development not to mention in house guide trainings, personal training days and days with actual clients. 

Coming up one of our many technical challenges during our heli day! Photo Amos Whiting
Gear I couldn't live with out; P.A.S Pro Airbag pack, Barryvox pulse, Fast lock probes, Ultimate Hoody softshell jacket, Alyeska GTX Pro jacket and most importantly the Alyeska GTX Pro Realization pant. Having the built in harness worked amazing for everything from quick rappels to crevasse rescue. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New routes, ice festivals, and the search for winter!

Home on the range in the South Fork Valley
©Doug Shepherd
It was a crazy winter this year, from work to a weeks of 60-70F weather in Colorado.  The search for ice required some early mornings, driving, and crazy ideas - but that's what makes it fun!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Filling the Void


~Looking into Juniper Canyon, Red Rocks National Reserve.
This was the first year in five that I didn't go to El Chalten, Argentina.  It would have been my eighth trip down, the first being in 2006.  It's easy to get obsessed about climbing in a place like Patagonia and I had become fully obsessed; in fact, I still am.  I felt a hole inside me where that annual trip usually fits in.

Now that the time has passed and the climbing season in Argentina has come and gone I realize that the hole has been filled with some local projects right here in the USA.

~

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mammut North America - a company of climbers, skiers, and mountain athletes.

Our team of mountain climbers on top of the wind scoured summit of Mt Monroe 5372 ft.
 The Mammut Athlete team has been charging ahead with expeditions, rock - ice climbs, ultra trail runs, and ski adventures while quietly back in Vermont the Mammut management, sales, and distribution employees run the core business of this top of the line outdoor company.

This past weekend was the time for an in-house adventure. The Mammut staff came to NH for a ski and mountain climb on Mt Washington in the White Mountains.  MMG Guides Alex, Erik and I met the Mammut team at the AMC Highland Center Lodge on Friday afternoon for an evening of drinks, dinner and social activities.  Saturday morning we all awoke at dawn, ate a healthy breakfast and headed into the wilds of the mountains.