Showing posts with label North Cascades. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Cascades. Show all posts

Friday, May 26, 2017

Guides for Glaciers

Climate change is making mountains more dangerous and threatening the prosperity of the guiding profession. This spring a historic mass of ice broke off from Colfax Peak, sweeping across the standard ascent route for Washington State's Mount Baker climb.
Photo: Kel Rossiter

Recently, Guides for Glaciers (G4G) was established, with a mission to address the issues of the changing mountain environment and its impacts on the guiding profession. G4G intends to mount an educational campaign to bring together common stakeholders in order to influence public policy and preserve the longevity and economic sustenance of the mountain guiding profession globally. The longevity of the entire guiding profession hinges on guides’ ability to advocate for climate change policy and preserve our mountain environments well into the future.

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, August 8, 2014

A Packing Gear and Equipment List for the North Ridge of Mount Baker

Climbing the North Ridge of Mount Baker is a unique summertime alpine objective: with the exception of a few ice couloirs in Sierras, it's pretty hard to find true blue ice climbing smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer—but the North Ridge offers just that. Depending on how you handle the pitching out of your climbing, the time of year, and the particular route conditions, there are typically 3-4 pitches of enjoyable ice in the W12-WI3 range (and head further to climbers' right if you want to bump it into WI4), and a seemingly endless series of low-angle calf burner pitches to boot.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Lifetime of Alpine Learning Ahead--Success With the AMGA Alpine Guide Exam!

“You can't win if you don't play” is dubious advice often doled out by lottery agencies and the like, but it is solid counsel in the world of alpine climbing: Even in the face of slim weather odds, you've got to at least put yourself into position for success and be ready to maximize it should the slim odds work in your favor. And besides—what's the use in having high-quality alpine gear if you don't occasionally put it to the test? With those two bits of logic in place, I sat in the Newark Airport and stared grimly at the weather forecast for my destination, Washington State, where I was headed for the American Mountain Guide Association Alpine Guide Exam and steeled myself for the fates that awaited me. Fortunately, time and time again that alpine logic held true during my recent American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Alpine Guide Exam (AGE).

Enjoying the last of the Cascades summertime "blue bubble", prepping for the Exam on the East Ridge of Forbidden. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Serendipity is a sweet thing and it works in mysterious ways...My last Rainier trip with RMI wrapped up on July 10th and I was stoked to have a ten day period in the North Cascades trip on the horizon. For the last month or so I'd been lining up climbing partners—nobody had the whole stretch free, so I'd lined up several two-day projects, excited about them all. I set sail on July 11th, but I'd lost all of my camp spoons, so I swung by Whittaker Mountaineering on the way out of the Ashford/Rainier Basecamp. Up at the counter I ran into Pepper, an Amherst student working for the summer with Whittaker. He was looking for my opinion on ropes. Of course, any opinion on ropes necessitates knowing what the intended use was. Turns out Pepper was planning a trip that weekend with his cousin Seth up to Boston Basin—by chance exactly where I was headed—or so I thought. I gave Pepper some thoughts on ropes and headed on my way.

On the steep stuff--Shuksan's Hanging Glacier Route, Day 9 of 9.