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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Steep Thrills in the Ouray Ice Park

While many are turning their attention to the coming spring time, a few hardy souls know that the ice climbing is not only still good, the crowds are gone. Scott and I enjoyed two quiet days in the ice park. The second day we were joined by Dave and had the whole scottish gullies area to ourselves.

Scott and Dave both had ice climbed before but were looking for a refresher on the foundations of their ice climbing skills. We worked our way through San Juan Mountain Guides uniquely effective ice climbing curriculum. From triangles to monkey hangs to flagging and using your hips, Scott and Dave quickly moved from low angle ice to vertical ice to
over hung chandeliered ice. Exercises like climbing with no tools then with one tool and climbing without kicking or swinging taught the duo how to stay stable on their feet and how to move creatively on the deceptively varied medium of ice.

Great job gentlemen we look forward to going even bigger next year!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Build it and They Will Climb!

To some climbers the Midwest from KY's Red River Gorge to SD's Needles is a flat barren wasteland devoid of climbing. These poor climbers are gravely mistaken and overlook their brethren who are some of the most committed climbers out there. Not only do these climbers put in the effort to get out climbing the build their own climbing areas!

Matt of Michigan (see the last post) recently came out to Ouray, Colorado to dial his ice skills for a big trip on Liberty Ridge. Matt learned to ice climb with Michigan's Peabody Ice Climbing Club and he came to Ouray well prepared to take on some of Colorado's biggest ice routes.

All over the country people pour water down all manner of structures to manufacture ice climbing and build rock walls and bouldering walls. Despite a dearth of topography climbers in the flatlands of the US prove they are committed to the core.

Thanks to the Peabody Ice Climbing Club facebook page for the photos of the tower!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Train to Go Big

Matt has big plans. This spring he is headed to Mount Rainier's Liberty Ridge, a spectacular objective in and of itself. The ice tower some climbers in Michigan constructed near Matt's home was not quite enough training. So Matt decided to come out to Ouray, Colorado for four jam packed days of steep snow and lots and lots of ice.

Matt and I hit the must see venues of Ouray ice climbing. We spent the obligatory day in the ice park honing Matt's technique over the course of around a thousand feet of climbing. The next day we figured, why not a thousand more? So we headed over for a sunny day on Eureka's Stairway to Heaven. Though the good weather did not hold Matt and I were able to get plenty of climbing in over the next two days on Horsetail Falls, several routes at the Skylight area, and a few long laps in the Pic o' the Vic area in the ice park to wind down the day.

Matt is climbing strong and certainly ready to take on Liberty Ridge. Good luck Matt!