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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bridalveil Falls: Ice Climbing 3D

Yesterday I finally had the chance to check out this classic steep ice test piece. The unique, steep, pumpy climbing of Bridalveil Falls was one of the best ice climbs I have done. As watersplashes down the steep rock it freezes into massive blobs, cauliflowers, and hanging icicles that make for truly three dimensional climbing experience.

It is easy to be intimidated by the largeice overhangs and hanging dagger icicles that make the climb. By thoughtfully working your way through the maze of vertical ice you can wind around the biggest overhangs. The route still goes through a number of really exciting overhangs that demand a cool head and powerful arms. It was a joy to get to climb this ultra classic route!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Kids of SUCAP

This morning I had the pleasure of guiding a very different group, kids! It is really fun to work with young folks who are excited to explore ice climbing. These particular kids from Ignacio, CO came as a part of a Southern Ute Community Action Program (SUCAP) trip. SUCAP is dedicated to supporting the community of Igancio and communities across La Plata County.

The trip to ice climb in Ouray with the crew here at San Juan Mountain Guides is one of several designed to give the kids access to the exciting recreation right in their backyards. It was fun to watch the kids beam as they met their friends at the end of the day who had opted for more horizontal recreation . The kids displayed such pride at having tried something new, overcome their fears, and set and accomplished goals they set for themselves.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Indian Creek Rock

Upon returning from Aconcagua there was only one place to go to get some R and R in the sun, Indian Creek. R an R standing for rock climbing and relaxation. The weather was amazing climbing and belaying in T shirts. The best part was we shared the thousands of climbs in the Creek with one other party. We didn't see a soul climbing the whole time.

Indian Creek is home to world class crack climbing. People come from all over the world to dial-in their crack technique. Indeed it works. After an apprenticeship at Indian Creek cracks anywhere will seem a piece of cake.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Aconcagua 22,841 feet

Aconcagua is the tallest mountain outside the Himalaya. Yesterday I returned from having the privilege of guiding Ed O., Frenchy G. and Alex L. to the summit of this massive peak in the sub Andes of Argentina along with my co-guide Stuart Robertson. It was a terrific trip up a unique peak.

The weather was generally quite nice with only a couple of windy days. The drama began, however, as the weather forecasts started to deteriorate once we were in position to summit.

We did summit though. It was a lovelybluebird day. Some clouds rolled in and it snowed gently as we descended. The team was tired, elated, and very excited for some Tuna-Ramen and a hot drink.

On the summit I was honored to be able to help Alex, a young women with MS, hold her "Climb for a world free of MS" banner as my mother has MS so Alex's cause was dear to me.

The team was strong and all the members who made it to high camp made the summit in good time and had enough energy for the second half of any climb, getting down. As we descended we watched clouds swirl around the summit. Ours was the last good day to summit for a while.

At Alpine Ascents International we do a traverse of Aconcagua. We hike in the Vacas VallAdd Imageey and ascend the False Polish route to our high camp which is higher than where most guide service's high camps , part of why our success rate is relatively high. We descend the Normal Route which offers a shorter hike out and makes for an aesthetic traverse of the great peak. At the base camps at the base of either route we enjoy the full services of a local base camp operator which provides meals, internet, wine, among other services helping to maximize climbers success. Apparently it worked.

Congratulations Frenchy, Ed, and Alex!