Showing posts with label Petra Cliffs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Petra Cliffs. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2017

When The Best Plan is No Plan for Climbing in the Alps Pregnant

About this last time last year, my husband Steve and I began planning an epic, albeit ambitious, trip: two weeks in France and Switzerland, with objectives to climb Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Eiger (plus Mönch and Jungfrau, why not, while we were in the area!). We had been training together with the Mountain Tactical Institute's "Alpine Rock Climbing Training Program," and we were feeling good, strong, ready! Those weighted step-ups, sandbag get-ups and DW Specials were worth the suffering!

The whole plan was sketched out, including a backup climbing order if the weather didn't line up, I had all of the phone numbers to begin reserving space in the mountain huts... and then... we found out I was pregnant.

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. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fear the Braid

Perhaps only Red Sox fans will get the title reference, but their mantra worked for the Sox to clobber their competition, winning the 2013 World Series! I hope to keep a similar type of "Fear the Beard" magical motivation with me throughout competition season.

This season I'll be heading to Bozeman, MT in December to teach Mammut ice clinics and compete in the UIAA Open North American Ice Climbing Championships, then on to Ouray, CO the following month for more clinics and the Ouray Ice Fest competition.  The end of January brings my hometown Smuggs Ice Bash in Vermont, and in February, the 21st Mt. Washington, NH Ice Fest.

Training is underway. Ice isn't far from forming here in the East, and I can't wait for festival season to begin!  Get after it!  ~Andrea Charest

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meet Up at Mammut - Technical Training

This past winter while attending the Mt. Washington Valley Ice Festival, Andrea Charest, Alden Pellet and I brought up the idea of proposing a get together/technical training to Gribbin, the Mammut Sports Group marketing manager. He implemented the idea and on June 18th we met in Vermont at the Mammut office and headed to the crag with Vermont and New Hampshire guide services, local equipment suppliers and the Mammut folks. 

MMG guide Erik rope gunning to the top!!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Mountain Adventure Training Camp

I didn't travel out of the Northeast in April.  It was a strange feeling after being on the move all winter.  Although climbing was kept to the local crags, I did accomplish a lot-- I hired 10 new summer camp staff members and put some final details on the summer camp that I run, SumMAT Camp (which stands for SUMmer Mountain Adventure Training) through Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington, VT.  For the record, I tried to drop the T and change the name last year to Summa Camp, but met resistance. A little Bahston flair, what do you think?

Evan climbing in Acadia National Park, Maine, during an 11-day expedition

Friday, February 22, 2013

Behind the Tights

First, an introduction.  I’ve had a somewhat ambiguous relationship with Mammut since about 2007 when JP Hong hooked me up with my first pair of Softech pants.  I’m fortunate to work just a few miles from the Mammut USA Headquarters in Shelburne, Vermont, and it has been a pleasure to get to know so many of the folks there—they work very hard! Through the years, I was the local female climber, guide, gym manager, they were the attractive Swiss brand down the road...

The Rose, a classic overhanging schist crack in my back yard, Bolton, VT.

Mammut and I became more official this year when I arrived in Ouray, CO, to compete in the mixed climbing competition and help out with clinics.  I ended up in Ouray thanks to an American Alpine Club “Live Your Dream” grant, and things exploded from there-- much appreciation to Dean Lords and Gribbin Loring.  I was happy with my performance in the competition, although the list of “what-if’s” still includes “What if it hadn’t been -4o F when I was up first to climb the comp route?”  I ended up timing out, glad to have hung on for as long as I could with frozen hands.  The experience was amazing and I met so many wonderful people.  During the festival, I was assigned to teach the Mammut Women’s Moderate Mixed and Ice Footwork Fundamentals Clinics, and through these clinics, was excited to expose more people to Mammut gear and faces. 

Stairway to Heaven, 1200', Silverton, CO before the Ouray Ice Festival.
First time seeing full sun in a long time. Photo Andrew Blessing
On the Ouray mixed competition route, Mighty Aphrodite. Working out the frozen fingers.

I returned to VT to manage our own ice festival, the Smuggs Ice Bash, and then headed to NH as a Guest Guide and Mammut rep at the Mt. Washington Valley Ice Fest (see Art Mooney’s posts below!).  Much gear was demoed, and there were many happy ice climbers. I stayed in NH for the following week to take the AMGA Ice Instructor Course with Art Mooney, Silas Rossi, and Marc Chauvin.  Although the ratio was 11 males : 1 female, I really didn't even notice-- we were just a group of guides practicing our skills and enjoying a week of climbing in Crawford Notch. 

2013 Dry Tooling competition at Petra Cliffs, the kick-off party to the Smuggs Ice Bash
And… the tights.  The tights go along with my first indoor dry tooling competition at Petra Cliffs, the climbing gym that my husband and I now own in Burlington, Vermont.  I outdid myself in an attempt to be as ridiculous as possible and wore blue star-spangled Wonder Woman undies over gold tights.  After this, people had high expectations.  I’ve been trying to appease them with finding new fun tights for each competition, but the “Wonder Woman” moniker has stuck.  I really thought the unicorn galaxy tights would win them over this year… Hey, when is Mammut going to put tights in their line?

Little Outdoor Giants photo, MWV Ice Fest 2013

I live in an amazing place, with great climbing in Vermont, sandwiched between the Adirondacks and the White Mts. of New Hampshire. I believe that the East really does make one tougher: the cold is colder, the ice harder, the schist sharper. But the snow is deep, the partners are friendly, and there are endless adventures to be had.  It's good to get away every now and then, to take a break with a new panorama, and to appreciate what we have in the East.

Glass Menagerie, Lake Willoughby, VT. Home of phenomenal steep ice.

Psyched to be inspiring other women in our crazy sport. Smuggs Ice Bash 2012.
I’m excited to bring more rock-ice-mixed-ski-guiding photos and experiences to the Team, and I'm happy to be hand in hand with the brand. Greetings!

Andrea Charest (say "Sha-REST")