International Man of Mystery...

My photo
I grew up in the Boston area and lived there until my junior year in high school when I attended the Mountain School, a semester program run by Milton Academy in Vershire, VT. I then attended Colby College in Waterville, ME. During my time at Colby I studied anthropology, spent a semester in Northeast India, and became fluent in Nepali. Before I became a guide I earned my black belt in kenpo karate and taught karate for 6 years. I began guiding in college on the rocky coast of ME with Acadia Mountain Guides and on ice at the International Mountain Climbing School in NH. After graduating I took to the highway and drove from ME to WA for the big mountains and glaciers. I spend my winters in lovely Ouray, CO guiding in the famous ice park. I am currently working towards becoming a certified guide through the American Mountain Guides Association. I live, work and play in the hills and on the rocks. On the rocks both literally and, well, with ice.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Time to switch from ice to rock! I took a trip out to Indian Creek near Moab, UT and it was terrific. If it were not for the snow on the opposite (shady) side of the canyon i would have thought it was May. Climbing and belying in t-shirts was a nice change from the ice season.

Rock climbing in Indian creek is incredibly wild and unique. Endless rows of parallel sided cracks split the massive Wingate sandstone buttresses as far as the eye can see. It always takes me a climb or two to remember how great the friction on sandstone is. Trust your feet! The cracks are so good "splitter" is synonymous for great in any context as in 'splitter weather', 'splitter conditions', 'splitter dinner'. Ok maybe not the last one. check out the photos and I think you'll get it.

Back on crack,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We always say that the best way to train for climbing is to climb. However in the spring and fall when it is too cold to rock climb and too warm to ice climb, or for a nice change of pace a training regimen can be essential and rejuvenating. The goal is to come into the climbing season "guns blazing" as my friend Pat likes to say, rather than having to start from scratch.

All winter I have been attending CrossFit at Hypoxia Gym. A training regimen that provides a high intensity work out for a short period of time. After warming up the work out is only about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes at around maximum heart rate.

Crossfit has definitely made me stronger but also much tighter. So I have added Yoga at Inner Mountain Yoga to loosen up my muscles and focus my breathing. Only a couple classes in and I already feel much looser and frankly healthier.

Oh yeah, and did I mention skiing, the skiing is good too!

Pumping iron and sun salutations,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Great Place to Learn

Ouray's ice climbing is not only terrific it is a great classroom. Not only does this climbing college boast climbs of all difficulties, these climbs are as short as fifty feet and also some of the longest in the lower 48.
"But..." you say, "every ice climbing destination brags about that!" What those other destinations dont have is a finely tuned thermostat. The temperatures get cold at night which makes the ice grow but here the days are mild and sometimes even warm allowing climbers of all abilities to focus on climbing and worry less about battling the cold!
These photos are from some of Ouray's top classrooms for getting out and up on ice.

School is in session,

Photos top to bottom: Stairway to Heaven WI 4 8 Pitches, Whorehouse Hoses WI4 4 pitches, Frozen nozzle at the Ouray Ice Park, First Gulley WI3 4 pitches

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Classic Rock...and Ice

All around the world are what climbers call "classic" routes a classic route is a test piece, a proving grounds and, most importantly, really good climbing. Good climbing includes good views, fun moves, and an exciting challenge.

There are so many routes in the world of varying quality, it can be hard to wade through the hundreds of pages of routes in a guide book, not to mention the possibilities for first ascents. Classic climbs are often the ones that you heard of around a campfire in a campground or that friends tell you, "you have to do it!"

One of the best parts about a classic route is the way that when you talk to anyone about the route, old friend or new, their eyes light up in a way that is reserved only for very special experiences. Because of the popularity of many classic routes we get to share this connection with other climbers all over the country and even the world. It is this connection, this set of shared experiences that is the foundation for local and even global climbing communities.

Drinking the Kool-Aid,
Enjoy the photos of some classic routes! Top to bottom: Ames Ice Hose, CO, Stairway to Heaven, CO, and Black Orpheus, NV