Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Class of 2013 -- AAI Guide Training

The Class of 2013 just finished their guide training. It was an exceptionally strong class. The training included five guides that are completely new to the Institute and one guide that came to us internally.

The AAI guide training for new guides starts with two weeks of technical training. During that time, the guides go to a lot of the places where we work, such as Mt. Erie, Mt. Baker, Leavenworth, Mazama  and Washington Pass. During that time, they are trained in single pitch guide techniques, multi-pitch guide techniques, alpine guide techniques, glacier travel skills, and ski guide techniques.  The initial two week training is the most intensive training offered by any guide service in America.

Once the guides have completed their first fourteen days, they move on to an additional six days of student teaching under the supervision of a senior guide. Guides generally co-teach an Alpinism 1: Intro to Mountaineering course before they're set loose.

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

The training started at Mt. Erie near Bellingham with some single pitch techniques. 

 In this photo, Kai Girard and Britt Ruegger practice short-rope technique near the Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Kai is a former NOLS and Outward Bound Instructor who lives in nearby Marblemount in the heart of the North Cascades. Britt is a ski guide and avalanche instructor with a great deal of experience in the Colorado Rockies. Britt is now on Denali and Kai will be there soon!

AAI's Technical Director, Mike Powers, teaching at the Mt. Baker Ski Area. 

Crevasse Rescue Practice on a roadcut.

Britt, Jared Drapala, Shelby Carpenter and Jeremy Devine, camping somewhere below Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Jared came to us from the east coast where he taught university climbing courses. Shelby came to us from Colorado where she worked for Rock and Ice magazine. And Jeremy also came to us from the east coast where he ran ice climbing courses and guided in the Presidential Range.

Mike Powers, "happy as a clam." What strange saying...

Doug Foust works with another guide on an attempt to get the van as far up the 
approach road to Mount Baker as possible.

Doug has been working for AAI for the last few years, primarily on rock terrain in the Red Rock program. He participated in the guide training program to build his snow and ice skills.

 On guide training we always try to dig out a creek for access to water.  
The hole is often in excess of ten feet deep.  In this photo Jared is starting to work on the hole.

Mike Powers teaches a lesson at Observation Rock on Mt. Baker. 

Ice climbing practice on Mt. Baker. 

Group ice practice. 


Crevasse Rescue Practice - Something that became really important later on the trip. 
Indeed, it became later the same day!

Jeremy Devine working his way up to high camp.

 Jared Drapala on the trek to high camp.

As we were moving up the mountain to high camp on Baker, I was alone on a rope with Shelby when she disappeared down a hidden crevasse. We had butterfly knots in the rope, which held most of her weight. I was able to stand and watch as the team in front made their way down to the crevasse and pulled her out.

 Doug was at the back of the lead team and did the majority of the work on the rescue.

In this photo, Doug is in a snowseat as the lead team used a drop-c to pull her out.  
We had her out of the hole in less than five minutes. 

 Mt. Baker with one of our teams below. We climbed the Moustache, 
which is the gully just to the right of the team in the photo.

The Moustache doesn't look that steep, until you get on it. 

After Mt. Baker, we made our way to Leavenworth. There we began to work on our rock skills. 

 Climbing Castle Rock on Guide Training.

 Kai leading Canary (5.9, II)

 Guides up high on Castle Rock.

From Leavenworth, we made our way to Mazama and Washington Pass. Here we began to work on our technical rescue skills, while also making ascents of alpine rock peaks.

 Doug works on his rescue techniques.

Doug does something weird to Kai. And Kai enjoys it.

The bottom of the Beckey Route on Liberty Bell was very serious on this trip. 
We were forced to climb a pitch of snow and ice in order to obtain the base of the route, 
a base that you can usually walk to. 

Jeremy following the ice and snow "approach pitch." 

Doug, hanging loose! 

 One of the best parts of Washington Pass is that we skied down from each of the objectives!

 Summit photo from South Early Winter Spires.

 Shelby working on her rock rescue techniques at Fun Rock in Mazama.

A gaggle of guides working on rock rescue techniques. 


Toward the end of the training, some of us decided to go out to dinner. 
Others decided to stay back in camp. We took this picture of Doug and Jeremy
to make those who stayed back in camp jealous.  It worked!

After completing the fourteen-day technical training, the guides spent the next 
six days student teaching on Mt. Baker. 

A beautiful late May camp on Mt. Baker.

From Left to Right: Jason Martin (Guide Trainer and Manager), Jeremy Devine, 
Mike Powers (Lead Guide Trainer), Jared Drapala, 
Shelby Carpenter, Britt Ruegger, Kai Girard, and Doug Foust

--Jason D. Martin

3 comments:

Jeremy Allyn said...

Nice job as always dudes. Keep that rope TIGHT when approaching holes with guides in them! In the air TIGHT!

alpinism said...

Congrat's to all! Nicely done!

Pierson Bourquin said...

Very cool to see how one of the best guide services in the country trains guides. Thank you for sharing! Greatly appreciated! Pierson