Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Canary of the Cascades

Part way down the staircase from the Montenvers train,
looking down at the Mer de Glace.
Photo: Chris Wright
For those who want to see glacial recession first hand, go and visit the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, France. In 1909, the Montenvers train was built to take sightseers and adventurers up to the Mer de Glace, which when it opened, was at the level of the train. To reach the glacier from the train now, one needs to take a tram down approximately 200m, and then a staircase another 400 steps down, and counting. I have been visiting Chamonix for the last 15 years, and I have seen a dramatic drop in the ice. We often climb over the staircase after skiing from the Aiguille du Midi, making it easy to observe the changes year to year, as the place we enter keeps lowering.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Winter Climbing in Leonidio, Greece

Leonidio, Greece
Leonidio, Greece has recently appeared on the radar of winter climbing hotspots in Europe. This idyllic village lies about 3.5 hours south of Athens and rests on the coast of the Peloponnese, a historic mountainous peninsula with a deeply indented coastline that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. Having already climbed in Kalymnos, we were curious to see what mainland Greece had to offer, and our short, two-week trip in late December allowed many favourable comparisons.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bouldering before the Tahoe Snow

Christine attempts Slam Dunk (V7) during the Boulder Bash, an outdoor community competition at Castle Peak
(just west of Truckee).
When we weren't working or studying, we spent this past fall exploring the area around our new home, Reno. It's really cool to live in an area where the shear number of established boulder problems and routes is overwhelming–and that's not to mention the problems and routes that have yet to be discovered. Beyond the enormous quantity of rock here, the quality of the granite is excellent, which makes it even more satisfying to climb, and makes us even more excited to look for more rock in the future. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A New Climb on Wyoming's Wind River Range

Me on the second pitch.... first of the two jade faces, incredible feature at 5.11.  Photo: John Dickey
In August 2015, I made my annual pilgrimage into the Wind River Range of Wyoming and for the third time I returned to the massive walls of Mount Hooker.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Giving Back- Amazing Climbs, Exceptional Climbers

Climbers descending from the Parrot with the Dufourspitze in the background
Some guiding seasons are punctuated by epic conditions others by extraordinary routes. 2015's guiding season was marked by exceptional clientele for me.

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.