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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

To the Summit of Denali

Over the past 19 days I had the pleasure of guiding a group of climbers to the summit of the highest mountain in North America, Denali (aka McKinley). The climbers braved the extreme cold of a high peak so close to the arctic circle as well as the extreme heat from the sun's reflection off the snow.

The team hauled sleds up the glacier to 14,200' and then clipped into the fixed lines to ascend to high camp at 17,200', the staging area for the summit bid. We enjoyed relatively good weather through our carrying and caching supplies up the mountain and moving our camp.

By the time we were in position to summit the good weather had lasted an eerily long time. We knew it could not hold forever. Weather reports predicted a prolonged storm on its way. Fearing the closing of our weather window we made our summit bid the day after arriving at high camp. The weather was terrific and we enjoyed pleasant temps with little wind on the summit.

The drama was not over. We made our descent to 14,200' and rested for a day before hiking to base camp through the night. We were running ahead of a ghost storm that could materialize any moment and pin us down. we spent one night at base camp before the incredible pilots at Talkeetna Air Taxi snuck us out of the mountains through a tiny gap in the weather and landed us to steaks and beer in Talkeetna.

Congratulations Alp 4: Team Blueberry on our summit of Denali!

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