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Adventure Spirit Blog

AMGA BOD Candidate Statement

This is my Candidate Statement for the 2021 American Mountain Guides Association Board of Directors. In this document I lay out my vision for board work, my board priorities, and the qualities and qualifications I will bring to the work.

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Training for the Upcoming Climbing Season

Climbing in the mountains is challenging and very little in the modern day-to-day world prepares us for it. So, we must consciously create challenge in our daily life that will prepare ourselves for the mountain challenges. These are the primary…

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Climbing Tech Tip: Going from Top-Out to Rappel

The single smoothest way to go from top-out-to-rappel.

If you (and your partners) are still tethering into the anchor before going onto rappel, I do believe you're doing it wrong. Social media is so plush with tech tips that it hardly needs mine,…

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North Cascades Alpine Climbing Objectives

Easily to get to—yet remote in feel once you’re there—the North Cascades offers a diverse array of incredible alpine climbing options. From the sheer ice faces of Mount Baker’s North Ridge to the knife-edge rock spine of Forbidden Peak’s West Ridge,…

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3 More Classic Frankenstein Ice Climbing Routes

Frankenstein is one of the Northeast's premiere ice climbing destinations. Here are route descriptions and information regarding how to best tackle Hard Rane, Chia, and Bob's Delight.

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3 Classic Frankenstein Ice Climbing Routes

Frankenstein is one of the Northeast's premiere ice climbing destinations. Here are route descriptions and information regarding how to best tackle The Smear, Pegasus Left, and Pegasus Right.

 

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Effectively Choosing a Climbing Guide

Many people question the value of hiring a climbing guide; however, a skilled guide-instructor can aid climbers in enhancing their safety, efficiency, and enjoyment of the activity much more quickly than bumbling through it on their own. This post…

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Thoughtful Thursday#11: Finding Frogs & Success at the Summit

An article with particular relevance now, far from the summits...

Below, you'll find the start of an article I wrote awhile back about the proper mindset for mountain climbing. In this period, when people are taking responsibility and…

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Thoughtful Thursday#10: Decision-Making During Climbing

Snow sliders devote much more time to analyzing their route decision-making than do ice climbers, it's been my experience. That process helps reveal the human factors involved in deciding our goals and objectives in hazardous environments. Revealing…

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Thoughtful Thursday#9: What Does the Outdoors Mean to You?

“What does the outdoors mean to you?”

This question was recently posed to me by @humans_of_the_mountains for its portrait-exploration piece on the subject. I thought it'd make an interesting TTH exploration, so here goes!...

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Thoughtful Thursday#8: Traditions & Climbing

What is the value of “tradition”?

Climbers are fond of celebrating “Friendsgiving”--an iconoclastic take on the Thanksgiving tradition, shared at crags with friends devoted to a similar passion and the love and energy it provokes. So rebellious and…

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Thoughtful Thursday#7: Climbing, Meditation, & Contemplation

Just back from some time in retreat. I hesitated to post this, as A) announcing you meditate has a kind of air of pompousness to it and B) it could be seen as having nothing to do with climbing. But, I decided that both of those hesitations were…

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Thoughtful Thursday#6: Climbing Cars & Climate

“I gotta have a 4WD, I'm a skier/climber”...

I hear this comment frequently from people who take pride in being “outdoorsy,” who likely see themselves as “eco-minded,” and it baffles me—particularly in the NE. This is also frequently followed by, “I…

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Thoughtful Thursday#5: Top-Roping is Insane

Top-roping is absolutely insane! I say this to my SPI students, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as I mean “TR-ing done incorrectly”...but so much of it is. Here are the reasons why...

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Thoughtful Thursday#4: Fields of Play in Climbing

“Do you ever get tired of [insert objective]?” I get asked this question while guiding popular routes not infrequently. While I understand this question on its face, the underlying preconceptions seem to belie a misunderstanding of what climbing…

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Thoughtful Thursday#3: Rock Rescue

What do climbing and backcountry skiing have in common? Both take place in potentially hazardous environments that present rescue risks. How are these two activities different?--Only in one of them has a universally recognized minimum standard of…

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Thoughtful Thursday#2: Mock Leading

In light of some recent incidents involving new leaders, I was talking with a friend about best practices for learning to lead. He suggested mock leading was an essential part of the process. I quickly agreed. During our climbing day, I reflected…

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Thoughtful Thursday#1: Types of Fun

Thoughtful Thursday Launch: How many types of fun are there?...Beyond Types 1 and 2...

As people plod down from a climb, there's often discussion about “Types of Fun” and where the day's particular climbing experience fits into that scheme. The…

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Thoughtful Thursday Climbing--Launch&Intro

Thoughtful Thursday is meant as a counterweight (but not a criticism of) the oh-so-popular Tech Tuesday posts out in the climbing world. An attempt to bring some mind into the muscle. If all we can bring back from the mountains and share are ideas…

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Crevasses in Collegiate Outdoor Programming: Penn State and Managing Versus Overlooking Risk

Penn State recently made the headlines by banning the student-led outdoor program from running programs outdoors. This article reflects looks at the various models for running collegiate outdoor programs and the risks each involves, risks that are…

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Effective Clothing Layering Systems for Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is an activity unique in the winter sports sphere. It is, by turns, both aerobic and anaerobic, wet and dry, stop and go. Being prepared for an ice climb means wearing the proper clothes to help regulate your body temperature in a…

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Learn This: Alpine Cooking

From an article that appeared in the August 2014 issue of Climbing Magazine. Experience-driven tips and tricks for cooking in the alpine. Check out Climbing Magazine to view the complete on-line article with photos.

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: Jetboil MiniMo Stove

The Jetboil MiniMo is another version of Jetboil's original innovative—but now outdated—stove design. The MiniMo, slimmed down to 14.6 ounces and 5" x 6" dimensions, is likely an effort to appeal to alpine climbers. Although the MiniMo offers some…

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: DMM Switch Ice Tools

This season, DMM enters the fray with the Switch. With dual offset grips and a radically curved shaft, in essence it references the Nomic. But, put the two tools side by side and you'll quickly notice the first difference: Though both are marketed as…

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2 Tent in Alaska's Ruth Gorge

After flying into Lower Ruth Gorge in early May—following a five-day wait while more than two feet of snow fell—I began to doubt my "dark horse decision" to bring along the Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2 tent.

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: Omega-Pacific Link-Cam in the Pacific Northwest

Omega's Link Cam takes camming devices to the next level by separating the cam lobe into interlocking pieces that collapse onto one another along the stem, allowing for a camming ratio far beyond that of the ordinary. Four sizes are available,…

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: Petzl Sum'Tec Ice Ax

The Sum'Tec is offered with either an adze or a hammer, with various shaft lengths: 52 cm for the hammer version and 52 or 59 cm for the adze version. Each features a 3.5 mm "B"-rated pick connected to a "T"-rated, slightly curved aluminum shaft. A…

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Alpinist Magazine Gear Review: Grivel Candela V-Thread Tool

When I first started ice climbing, I experimented with homemade versions as so many others have: a file, a coat hanger, and the "cutting-edge" advancement of capping the hook using a used-up tube of lip balm, so it wouldn't shred everything it came…

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Sometimes the Leader Does Fall: A Look Into the Experiences of Ice Climbers Who Have Fallen on Ice Screws

Last winter a climber with Adventure Spirit Rock+Ice+Alpine was asking me about the holding power of ice screws. We discussed the various lab studies that have been done (a list of links to some interesting ones can be found at the bottom of this…

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North Ridge of Mount Baker Clothing & Equipment Packing List

Climbing the North Ridge of Mount Baker is a unique summertime alpine objective: with the exception of a few ice couloirs in Sierras, it's pretty hard to find true blue ice climbing smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer—but the North…

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Exchanging Longitudes for Latitudes in Quebec's Wild North: The Gaspe

My idea of road trips has always had a distinctly east-west orientation to them: You get in the car and travel along the latitudes. This past month, we turned logic on it's head and decided to explore the longitudes and long ice lines of The Gaspe…

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Enjoyable Drytool/Mixed Option in Smugglers Notch

The start was face climbing edges and a few blocks, but then about 40' up it turned into an interesting crack-corner, for 15' of fun, then a traverse to the P1 anchors of Quartz Crack. We spied a cool crack system and right-facing corner 40' left of…

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North Twin Sister West Ridge--A Great Cascades Option

Climbing the North Ridge of Baker earlier this month, I spied a beautiful pair of mountains to the west and wondered what they offered. Paging through the Becky Cascades book, I found out that I was looking at the Twin Sisters and that the rock on…

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North Ridge of Mt. Baker--July 2014--Trip Report

Arriving at our 6600' tent site in good time on July 10th, Rakesh and I headed out to explore further after covering some crack rescue (as it looked like it might come in handy out there!). There was an old boot pack which we followed for awhile,…

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The Fastest (&Best) Draw: When&What Draw to Clip When Climbing

Look at pictures of trad climbers getting after it in any climbing magazine and you'll see an array of approaches when it comes to clipping your gear: a woman crushing her hands into some Indian Creek crack clipping directly into her cams, a fellow…

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Of Amorous Relationships & Alpine Boots: The Mammut Nordwand TL

I first checked out the Nordwands while passing by the Mammut store on a rainy day while climbing in Chamonix. I wasn't necessarily looking to leave my old boots behind. They'd been good to me. We did some cool things together. Things were OK. …

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Success--and Reflections--on the AMGA Alpine Guide Exam

The AMGA is the premier training path for America's professional climbing guides and the 10-day AGE is the culminating exam that guides take in order to become Certified Alpine Guides. Along the way toward that test, hopefuls must first take a…

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Matterhorn Mirages

Coming in from Chamonix the drizzling day before my wife Alysse and I were bombarded by images of “it” everywhere. But for the whole of that damp day we had to be contented with six dollar cups of Zermatt coffee and seeing “it” only on kitchen…

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Cascade Climbing Blitz: Old Gold & New Gems

Graced with bluebird skies and strong climbing comrades, managed to put a satisfying amount of climbing into the last nine days: Black Peak (North Ridge-South Ridge Traverse), Sahale Peak-Sharkfin Tower (Link-up), Forbidden Peak (East Ridge-West…

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Mount Rainier Emmons Climbing Route Conditions Report-07-03-13

Under bluebird skies, I went with a team of climbers over to Rainier's "Wilder Side"--the Emmons Route--during the June 30-July 3rd period. Here are some notes regarding the current climbing conditions.

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