Monday, January 25, 2016

An Impossible Dream Realized: Becoming an AMGA Rock Guide

Climbing trip to Les Calanques in 2004. From left to right, Chad, Mathieu, and Erin.
Photo by Matthew Smith.
Sitting on the couch with my old Dell laptop, I remember scrolling through the lengthy American Mountain Guide Association's prerequisites on their website back in my college apartment in Bellingham, WA. I knew I could get through the ski guiding discipline with some work, but glancing at the rock guiding discipline made me unsure whether this was a possibility for me. To complete the program, one needs to have completed over 130 prerequisite climbs, 26 days of course and examination, guide routes up to grade V, and be confident leading 5.10+/A2 (sport and traditional). This list was intimidating to me as I had done very little climbing up to this point, and most was following my friends up routes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Squamish Mountain Life

A hot, hazy summer transitioned into a glorious fall in Western B.C., and this past season provided ample opportunity to complete my research into Squamish's best hiking and scrambling destinations. I logged many kilometres in hiking boots this summer, gave my suite of Mammut backpacks a full workout, and found myself in some new and beautiful locations, once again proving that Squamish is much more than simply a world-class rock climbing destination.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, all of which were taken within a 30-km radius of town.

Howe Sound from the west ridge of Deeks Peak

Friday, December 18, 2015

Falling Off the Send Train, Blowing the Red Point and Other Metaphors for Life...

Backyard Project finally sent 5.12d GnR, Upper West Bolton, Vermont
This past year for me has been a rollercoaster of emotions, physical accomplishments, and mental stress.  I have experienced some of my life’s highest highs and close to my lowest lows.  Like a red point in climbing I know what I am supposed to do, I’ve rehearsed the movements, I’ve dreamt and visualized my success and honestly I can taste it, but like what often happens when pushing yourself at the limit, I have taken my fair share of whippers this year. I’ve experienced some of my proudest accomplishments and practiced rolling with failure.  With these failures I adjust, learn and try to grow so next send I’ll be that much more ready.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Chamonix Flashback


Rising above the thick clouds of Chamonix Valley. Photo by Holly Walker
Holly Walker brings her BC bootpack style to Glacier Mort in Chamonix. 

Last January I had the opportunity to jump on a plane and cruise into Chamonix to meet up with fellow Mammut athlete Erin Smart. Weather was mixed and snow conditions were variable, so each day we looked at various options before leaving the breakfast table full of croissants with a side of café. One morning in particular, Erin had the opportunity to work with Smart Mountain Guides off of the Aiguille du Midi and ski the Vallée Blanche. So I contacted Whistler friends Kate Covello and Tyler Collins to see what ski adventure they had lined up for the day. The couple had moved to Chamonix for a season to ski everyday and avoid the rain that plagued Whistler.

Friday, November 13, 2015

See You Later, Sweden and Montana; Hello Nevada and California!

This past July, we left our home in Bozeman, Montana to move to Reno, Nevada. Christine will start medical school in August and we chose this location because it has ~10,000 boulder problems within a ~two hour radius, great sport and traditional climbing, and potential for year-round outdoor climbing! Not to mention it's less than four hours to Bishop and five hours to Yosemite. Oh yeah, and it has a medical school. That, too.

Before we moved, we took a quick trip to Sweden to visit David's family. 

Below are some pictures from the summer.

SWEDEN

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ten Sleep Tips


Ten Sleep Canyon is a popular summer climbing destination. This Wyoming cragging area sits at high elevation and provides reasonable climbing temperatures throughout July and August. After a three-week trip this summer, I thought I'd share a bit of information that we found helpful when visiting the area.