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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boston Basin: West Ridge of Forbiden

Tired of the Chicago heat Dave, Gabe, and Scott came west to check out the spectacular North Cascades. Our trip started with an attempted ascent of Mount Shuksan's Sulphide Glacier. Unfortunately, Mother Nature would not have it and the four of us spent two days inside the cloud obscuring our surroundings.

Two days of rest later we all drove up the only road in North Cascades National Park to Boston Basin. Across from the spectacular Mount Johannesburg, even the parking lot is a breath taking place to be.

After a hike through dense Pacific Northwestern forest we found our selves surrounded by the jagged peaks of Boston Basin Cirque with the crown jewel (our objective) Forbidden Peak a massive pyramid against the sky.

Our climb started across the Unnamed glacier and up the west couloir to gain the literally knife-edged west ridge of Forbidden. We rock climbed our way to the tiny summit of this incredible peak with amazing views of the North Cascades from Mount Baker to Shuksan, Mount Bukner, the Picket Range and into Canada. It was a long but gratifying day for us all, great work guys!

Gabe is an outdoor adventure film maker and I can't help but plug his Whiteout Adventure Media. Looking for more adventure? check it out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mount Baker: North Ridge

If you have ever looked up at Mount Baker's North Ridge it practically screams 'Climb Me!' Dwight from CT heeded the call and he and I set out up this spectacular ridge climb. The wild exposure and a few pitches of technical ice climbing, in addition to perfect weather made for an unforgettable day.

Dwight and I set out at 3:30 am up the steep slopes that gain the North Ridge at around 8,800' we weaved our way through a few high crevasses and traversed to the base of the ice headwall. A couple pitches of ice led us to some more steep snow, and finally the summit plateau.

We made our way to the summit and descended the Colmen-Demming, the standard route of ascent on the north side of Mont Baker. As we arrived at camp it started to feel like a big day of climbing. We packed up and hiked out feeling quite satisfied with our accomplishment. Down at the car, we looked through a break in the trees up at the mountain and saw the graceful North Ridge looking down on us, 'nice work boys'.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mount Rainier: The Big 2-0

Yesterday I had the opportunity to enjoy my 20th summit of Rainier with a terrific group of folks on Mount Rainier. In typical July-uary fashion we had iffy weather our whole way up the Muir Snowfield. The mountain was blanketed in cloud formations that indicated strong winds on the upper mountain.

We spent our first night at Camp Muir listening to the wind howl through camp and rake the upper mountain. I was not optimistic about our summit chances. However, the winds seemed to die down a bit in the afternoon at high camp.

We left high camp around 1:15 am and sat in the wind at our first break at the top of the Disappointment Cleaver. It was not looking good. We kept going and as we did the winds died and a gorgeous sunrise streaked through layers of clouds. We kept going up and the winds died. The team enjoyed a near windless summit. Congratulations on your summits guys!

Mount Baker: Easton Glacier (in the rain)

If you climb in washington you may have heard of June-uary a time of year when winter weather persists into June. This year we seem to be experiencing the even rarer July-uary, an unprecedented continuation of winter weather into July. We can still hold out hope that summer will come in August.

Despite the poor weather we spent the day at high camp doing a very thorough snow school where climbers leaned the skills necessary to climb Mount Baker safely. Climbers learned how to self arrest as they slid down snow slopes, how to travel on a rope team and how to walk efficiently in the snow. Though we didn't summit, I think everyone learned a great deal.

Mount Baker lived up to its reputation as the wettest place in the world as the team spent 3 days in the rain at high camp on mount baker. We gave the summit a go, climbing into a cloud cap and dropping temperatures. unfortunately it wasn't cold enough and the precipitation was very wet. along with a stiff wind the conditions were perfect for hypothermia as we all got soaked and cold. The only reasonable thing to do was turn around.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mount Shuksan's Sulphide Glacier

The North Cascades are full of beautiful mountains with aesthetic climbing. However, there is something special about Mount Shuksan that makes it a unique summit.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of guiding two recent UW grads (congratulations guys!) to the summit of Mount Shuksan (congratulations again!) via the Sulphide glacier route. The views from the climb were phenomenal. As we climbed we watched the sunrise over the rugged Picket Range light up Mount Baker's south east side.

We scrambled over rock and up steep snow to the tiny summit and enjoyed views into Canada. The great weather held the whole trip and we arrived back at the car tired but excited to have climbed one of the jewels of the North Cascades.