Friday, March 13, 2009

AAI Guides in the News

Two AAI Guides recently made it into the news for stories of their climbing pursuits and travails . . . read below for photos and articles from guides Mark Grundon and Andrew Wexler.

Mark just led a crew of the California Montrose County Search and Rescue team to Lee Vining to do some waterfall ice climbing. The Lee Vining climbing area is in a deep box canyon below 13,057-foot Mt. Dana deep in the Sierra Nevada. With walls up to 2000 vertical feet on either side, the shadowed reaches of the canyon stay consistently cold and provide ice that is almost always in excellent condition.

According to Mike Leum, a SAR team member, "We regularly go to areas like Mt. Baldy with ice shoots that can be 1,500 feet long," he said. “Hikers will fall down the ice shoots. We can cover the top and bottom [of the shoot], but we didn't have the expertise to cover the middle." AAI has been working with these groups for several years now to train and prepare them for situations such as this.

Read the full article in the Crescenta Valley Sun here.

Andrew's article for Highline Magazine takes an inside look at what it really takes to be a guide in South America:
What skill-set best serves a guide when working in an environment as reactive as Chernobyl and as unpredictable as a harridan? How does one operate effectively in places where roadblocks pop-up like ground squirrels, where baggage disappears faster than a pickpocket, where every morsel of food is a potential time bomb, and where the answer to every question is: yes? Obviously, guiding clients to the summit of a 6,000-metre peak requires basic skills: glacier travel, crevasse rescue, short-roping, ice climbing, hazard assessment and good route selection are all part of the job. But a skill-set will only get you so far in South America. What The Freedom of the Hills fails to mention, and what every guide new to the region soon learns, is of course, how to dance.

. . . read the full article here

Andrew's been guiding for AAI in South America for almost 10 years. His stories and photos are always captivating - check out some more of his photos below and keep checking back for more stories:

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