Friday, May 23, 2008

Get to Know Your Guide: An interview with Angela Seidling

Every week, we take the reader into the interesting and ever-changing life of an American Alpine Institute guide. Every AAI guide is very experienced in alpine and rock climbing, and all have received professional training in advanced guiding techniques and rescue. Collectively they have one of the highest levels of wilderness first aid, avalanche, and Leave No Trace training among the world's international guide services.

This week, we interview Angela Seidling.

Age: 29
Hometown: Everett, Washington
Recent trips and expeditions with AAI: Alpinism 1 on Mt. Baker and Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership
Upcoming courses with AAI: Denali, then back to the Cascades

A Guide’s Life
How old were you when you first started climbing?
The first time I climbed was at an indoor wall on an 8th grade field trip in Wiscon
sin. Apparently, it didn't leave much of an impression because I didn't try climbing again until college. I moved to Missoula (Montana) in 1997 and it was there that I really started climbing. After realizing how much I enjoyed just climbing at the local crags, my climbs naturally progressed to become longer and harder. I soon found myself completely enamored by alpine climbing.

How do you stay in shape, and what are your favorite training activities?
I stay in shape by doing the things that I love to do, and lucky for me, those hobb
ies involve being active.

Who is the most inspiring person in your climbing life?
I'm definitely a fan of burly women who climb. How can you
not be inspired by women like Lynn Hill and Steph Davis?

What are your other interests besides climbing?
Running, skiing, kayaking, sailing, spending time with my husband and our dogs.

Where is your favorite place to travel? Where do you hope to travel in the near future?
We went to Peru recently a
nd it was amazing - the purpose of the trip was to climb; needless to say, the mountains were magnificent. The people we encountered were just as incredible; they were consistently kind and helpful and the children were always so curious - they had as many questions for me as I had for them. As far as future travels, the list is endless. One place that does stand out is ski mountaineering in India.

On the Technical Side
Describe your climbing style
I'm not really sure that I have a specific "style." I'd love to be able to say graceful, but that would be stretching it, especially after such a long and fantastic ski season with climbing gear neglected in the storage unit. The style of climbing that I prefer is alpine climbing. Maybe it's because most of my climbing so far has been in Montana, but my favorite climbs are the ones that involve a lot of rock with a lot of open space and not many other people around.

What is your biggest strength as a climber? Biggest weakness?
My biggest strength is that I'm stubborn and when I have a goal, I see to it that it gets accomplished. My biggest weakness is that climbing only gets a fraction of my time because there are so many other things I like to do.

A Guide on Guiding

When you guide, what piece of advice do you find you give most often to climbers?
Take good care of yourself! Eat, drink, wear sunscreen.

What qualities do you think are most important in a guide?
I think a guide should be p
ositive and patient, they need to be able to make good decisions, and they absolutely need to love their job!

Name a few guide “turn-ons” (for example, what makes a good climber on one of your courses, ascents, or expeditions?).
Someone who has a good attitude and is genuinely interested in learning and participating in the course.

Any memorable events while guiding for AAI?
Being the guide for a group
of friends that had been planning their climb for months as the "Man Trip." I'm pretty certain that having a female guide for the "Man Trip" wasn't in the original plans, but it's safe to say that everyone found the humor in it and a good time was had by all!

What are your must-haves? Favorite foods or gear?
Coffee and chocolate.


Anonymous said...

Ms. Seidling~
I am so glad to see that you are out doing what you enjoy and climbing mountains! Everyone who had you in sixth grade really misses you! Thanks for being an awesome teacher!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Seidling,
I loved looking at your pictures and comments and I am so happy that you are climbing mountains! I hope your having a ton of fun! I really miss you, no other teacher can replace you. You made school so much more fun, but filled with challenges as well. We really miss not being able to talk to you, but Mrs. Wimmet has shared some pictures with us. You are awesome!