International Man of Mystery...

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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, June 28, 2011

Mount Rainier: When to Pull the Plug

In retrospect one could predict a strange trip from the first few hours up the Muir Snow Field. The Nisqually Cleaver, a route Hannah and I climbed last May was spitting rocks as the team marched our way up the snowfield. The rock fall was bizarrely active and seemed sizable. Until we watched the whole rock terrace that makes the upper Nisqually Cleaver collapse and take out a chunk of the Nisqually Ice Cliff. Car, bus, and house size blocks flowed like twigs in a riverof mud, ice, and snow down the Nisqually Glacier and the dust cloud billowed over the Muir Snowfield raining brown snow down on our team.

After our training and the move to high camp we set out for the summit at around 1:30 am. As we went up, the cloud layer came down and the team pushed through 40 mph winds, snow, and a whiteout to the summit crater of mount Rainier. If it were not for the strength and tenacity o
f the team we would have "pulled the plug" and turned around much sooner. Rainier veteran Craig Van Hoy with nearly 400 summits under his belt said it was the worst weather he had ever summited in with clients.

On our way down the Snowfield, an apocalyptic cloud layer settled over the mountain and will likely remain in place for days. The Nisqually Cleaver gave us a final send off with another massive rock fall bigger than the first. It was surely a unique trip up Mount Rainier I will never forget.

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