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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Every group has a different dynamic. Sometimes a group of friends will do a trip together. These groups are almost always some of the most fun to guide. while we try to develop a sense of camaraderie in every climb, the camaraderie friends have with each other is always supportive and fun.

On this climb a group of friends from Florida set a supportive and fun tone that permeated the group. The cousins from the Northwest (climbing in honor of their grandfather who summited in 1947!) and our token east coaster easily melded into a cohesive team that loved to laugh and was a lot of fun to climb Mount Rainier with. Hope to see you again soon guys and gals, enjoy the photos!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mount Baker

From Schrieber Meadows to the railroad grade to theRoman Wall, the Easton Glacier route on Mount Baker has many features that are a joy to climb. For folks that are new to mountaineering, to climbing on glaciers, to ice axes, crampons and climbing ropes, there is probably no better climb than the Easton Glacier on Mount Baker. The climb features steep snow, big crevasses and phenomenal views with out the strain of high altitude found above 10,000 ft on other peaks.

Standing at 10,781 feet Mount Baker is a springboard into a world of mountaineering on the earth's great peaks from Rainier to Denali and beyond.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Climb Against Cancer

This climb was a different kind of climb. It is always a privilege to help people realize their personal goals and stand on top of tall mountains. On this climb it was an honor to help two climbers who were raising money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center through the center's Climb to Fight Cancer. Both climbers mixed their love of the mountains with a desire to do good in the world and in doing so raised a great deal of money for a good cause. Congratulations to both of you and thank you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gentle Mountain Breeze

I have been to the summit of Mount Rainier many times. Watching the sunrise is enchanting, the view is endless. The other cascade volcanos jut out of the landscape in every direction. Wrapped in glaciers they loom over the Cascades. On my last Disappointment Clever climb on Mount Rainier I only enjoyed this view briefly before dropping out of the wind into the crater.

The protection of the crater rim brought the winds down to a reasonable 30 or so mph. My co-guide Willie Benegas brought a small ananometer to measure the wind speed. Cresting the crater rim the wind topped out at a blustery 74 mph. To pull myself over the crater rim I had to get into a full back/ on all fours position with my ice axe stabbed into the firm snow to lurch forward and drop into the crater. I continued to pull Brian, Dave, and Matt into the crater with me. Out of the gale we high fived and back slapped congratulations for their first Rainier summits.

I have been around enough to know that people have endure much worse on Rainier. For our team this was the worst conditions any of us had summited Rainier. In fact, we were lucky since the warm ambient temperature made it possible to summit despite the wind.

As we descended back to the top of the Dissapointment Clever, we looked back and saw an incredible lenticular cloud whipping the summit. The winds could easily have been 100mph. As Willie and I had expected the weather had deteriorated. Had we arrived to the crater only minutes after we left we may not have summited at all. Willie and my plan to sneak through the small weather window worked. Phillipe the climbing ranger called it a gentle mountain breeze.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Liberty Ridge (in a push)

We discussed what in a push actually meant as we skinned across the Winthrop Glacier. We decided it meant going without bivy gear with the intention of moving continuously with no plan to bivy. The approach to Liberty ridge requires one to go over St. Elmo's Pass across the Winthrop glacier and across most of the Carbon Glacier to get across the biggest crevasse i have seen on Mount Rainier right at the base of the route. Then up.
We left the car at 2p we got to the edge of the CarbonGlacier at 815p, brewed some Ramen and made water then left at 11p up the Carbon and onto the ridge we got to Thumb Rock (10767) at 420a and made some water before we ran out of fuel. A bit worried that we wouldn't have enough water i stuck the fuel canister in my jacket to warm it up so it would keep burning. it finally died for real when we were each full on water and about to make some more food.

The disappointment of not having some soup was soon lost as the sun rose and warmed us up. We started up the route at 6a. we dodged rockfall for a while and watched ice crash off the Wilson and Ptarmigan ice cliffs near us. the ridged turned to steep snow and had a bit of alpine ice climbing high up. we summited around 2p (24 hours on the go). The ski down was pretty good and we reached the car at 7p a total of 30 hours on the go!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To the Top of North America

The trip was incredible! Denali is a huge and gorgeous peak and we had a terrific team up there. The first question most people ask about a trip like that is 'did you summit?' to dispel the suspense, we got everyone as high as 18,100 and five out of six folks to the summit. most importantly however, i think it is safe to say that everyone had good time pulling sleds and walking up this great mountain.

So what gets you up there? Fitness aside, self awareness and self care are crucial. Thats where my fellow guides and I come in. pulling a sled and walking uphill is not rocket science. Knowing when you are so tired you need a little help caring for yourself. having someone else making you water and dinner can be the difference between getting there and not. When you are totally exhausted from climbing it often takes a helping hand to be sure you are eating and drinking enough. As my co-guide liked to say, 'you eat and drink your way up this mountain'. If you take good care of yourself you acclimatize well and if you acclimatize well you will be able to reach the top.