Friday, May 25, 2012

The Class of 2012 - AAI Guide Training

The Class of 2012 just finished their guide training.  It was an exceptionally strong class.  The training included three guides that are completely new to the Institute and two guides that came to us internally.

Following is a photo and video essay from the training. It is possible to click on any of the pictures to make them larger.

Two of the new guides took an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course before the actual guide training started.  Here Liz Daley is learning how to teach rock climbing by experimenting with what's stronger, her arms or her legs... Liz is a professional backcountry snowboarder with several first descents throughout the Northwest and she is a Patagonia sponsored athlete.

 James Pierson, our Northwest Programs Coordinator, practices snow techniques.

Liz practices snow climbing on a slope just outside the Mount Baker Ski Area.

 The new guides practice short-roping technique on a steep slope.

 Tad McCrea practices his snow belaying techniques. Tad was formerly the intern for one of the strongest alpinists in the world and a former AAI guide, Steve House. Tad learned a lot from Steve that he has brought to the American Alpine Institute.

Everett Chamberlain, working on snow anchors near the road. Everett came to AAI with a great deal of training from the American Mountain Guides Association and years of professional guide work in Colorado and Utah. 

 Everett placing a snow picket in a T-Slot.


 Tad working on lowering systems with Jeremy Wilson at Mount Erie. Jeremy is our retail shop manager.

 Everett, James and Tad, working on lowering systems at Mount Erie.

 Liz, working on pre-rigged rappels.

 James, leading a slab at Mount Erie.

 Tad, following a 5.7 route at Mount Erie.

 The team transitioned up to Mount Baker on the fourth day of training. One of the jobs that we require of new guides is that they dig out a creek near camp.  This was a record year, as we didn't hit water until the water hole was fifteen feet deep.

 Everett "took one for the team" while digging the water hole. A piece of ice hit him in the eye.

 AAI head guide trainer, Mike Powers and Liz on Mount Baker's Coleman Glacier.

 Liz, Tad, Mike, James, Jeremy and Everett on the Coleman.

Mike, teaching roped skiing techniques on the Coleman. 


 Everett and Jeremy working on steep ice technique.

 The whole team lined up to practice steep ice lessons.

 There weren't many big steep cliffs on the glacier this year, so we had to settle with overhung short steep ice...

 Jeremy and Tad checking out a crevasse for possible crevasse rescue practice.

 Traveling up to a high bivy on Mount Baker.

 The Red Jacket Boys, at a high bivy on Mount Baker.

 Liz, short-roping Jeremy on steep terrain at dawn.

Tad leads steep ice on Mount Baker's North Ridge. 

 Jeremy leading a 50 degree pitch high on the North Ridge.


 Tad, leading high on the mountain.

Me -- Jason Martin, high on the North Ridge.

 Liz, playing the role of a student during a multi-pitch rock practice session in Squamish, BC.

 Jeremy practicing simul-belay technique.

 James leading up the classic Squamish route, Diedre (5.8).
 Two AAI Guides working up the classic corner on Diedre.

Everett in Squamish. 

Tad, trying to do a handstand on a multi-pitch rock route. 

James, leading. 



 James and Liz at Washington Pass.

 Mike Powers belays Everett on the classic Beckey Route on Liberty Bell Mountain.

 Mike follows the Beckey Route.

James and Jeremy on the Beckey Route. 

Mike, making faces... 

 The Class of 2012 on top of Liberty Bell.

Jeremy showing off his cool jacket. 


AAI guides skiing down from Liberty Bell. Please note that Mike and Liz (the best skiers of the group) had already passed when this video was taken. Tad was wearing mountaineering boots with his skis (which is really hard) and Everett was wearing mountaineering boots with his snowboard.

 Liz, guiding on the South Arete of South Early Winter Spire.

Mike, hanging out above the void.

The Class of 2012 on top of South Early Winter Spire.

 Practicing Rock Rescue Techniques on Sehome Hill in Bellingham.

All together, the guides completed 21-days of training. We require each of our guides continues their journey and that they each take AMGA courses or participate in internal guide trainings or both.  The result is that every guide is always getting better at teaching, becoming stronger at climbing, and developing better guide techniques... 

--Jason D. Martin

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! I hope to be one of your guides in training someday.

John T Young said...

LOL. Yup. Sign me up too.