Monday, September 24, 2007

Climbing not just for young people

Tom on Mt. Baker's summit.

We just received a great letter from a group of friends that climbed Mt. Baker with AAI in August, and we decided to share it. Here is a letter from Tom Anastasio, a local Bellingham resident who this year decided to go for it and climb the mountain he has been gazing at for so many years:

"I have been a Whatcom County resident for most of my life, and have looked at Mt. Baker and wondered what the view was like from up there. I have hiked and camped a lot, but have always considered mountain climbing a young person's sport, too expensive and dangerous for me."

"One day, I saw the AAI brochure. The description and cost of your three-day Mt. Baker course convinced me that I should give it a try. I contacted two friends of many years, and we decided to climb the mountain."

"On August 1, 2007, myself, my two friends, and my friend's 18-year-old son arrived at the Institute. There we met our guide, Kurt Hicks. We all hit it off immediately. After dumping a bunch of excess weight from our packs (thanks Kurt!), we departed for the climb."

"The approach hike was pretty easy, but one of my friend's fear of heights issues made the Railroad Grade a challenge. Kurt was a kind and skilled counselor, and we made it to base camp without an incident. The course was fun and very informative. Kurt is a very patient and knowledgeable teacher. His positive manner and sense of humor were very reassuring to us novices."

"On summit day, we arose from our warm sleeping bags at midnight and began the climb. Kurt's advice on clothing was spot on. He set a pace that was attainable by all, with well-timed rest breaks. After seven hours of crunching through the snow and ice, we arrived at the summit (with style). Now I know why people climb mountains. It was the experience of a lifetime."

"I would like to thank Kurt for everything. Without the knowledge we gained on the course, I would have collapsed in a puddle of lactic acid far from my goal. The many different strides he taught me allowed my leg muscles to get me there. His humor and skill was much appreciated, and he made the hard work of mountain climbing a lot more fun."

"Thanks for a great climb, and a spectacular view! I appreciate your Institute, and I plan to summit Baker with you again soon.
--Sincerely, Tom Anastasio"

Mt. Baker from the southwest, looking at the Easton and Demming Glaciers.
Tom Anasatasio


One last Mt. Baker Climb of the year! September 28-30, $570. Sign up by calling Shawn at 360-671-1505 or by emailing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blog looks great! I especially like the guide interviews. Regarding the frontspiece photo of Mt Baker...I'd bet my skis that is not a view of the Easton/Deming Glaciers. Sure looks like the Park to me. Cheers.