MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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May 30, 2017

3 Instructors + 12 New Guides = 5 Days of Madness!

Mountain Madness would like to welcome to the family twelve new guides who just completed the 2017 New Guide Training: Kerr Adams, Alana Chapko, Everett Coba, Mallorie Estenson, Robert Fitzgerald, Marina Fitzpatrick, Dodge Garfield, Tyler Haasch, Arthur Herlitzka, Nick Naason, Jacob Oram, and Matt Rogers. These guides spent two days mastering multi-pitch rock skills in Leavenworth and three days in the alpine of Washington Pass in the North Cascades. MM guide Marina Fitzpatrick shares with us her experience:

We all met at the MM headquarters at 8am sharp Thursday morning. IFMGA guides and trainers Ian Nicholson, Tino Villanueva, and Joshua Jarrin kicked off the morning with some short introductions and impressed us with their badassery. Then we were off to Leavenworth for two days of rock training. Day one was ground school where we tallied the amount of avocados we would consume, built anchors, reviewed knots and hitches, and refined our techniques for managing multiple clients in 5th class terrain.  

 

Front and center, left to right: Ian, Joshua, and Tino sharing techniques for managing multiple clients at once in Leavenworth, WA. Mark Gunlogson photo

 

Jacob putting those techniques to use belaying Marina and Mallorie at once. Leavenworth, WA. Mark Gunlogson photo

We made it back to camp that evening with just enough daylight to play ‘Car Tetris’ and ‘How to Hide a Sprinter Van’. As a mountain guide, you often end up living out of your vehicle (or at least it feels that way), so we had two Sprinter vans, two trucks, a 12-passenger van, and a Subaru to fit in a parking spot designed for two vehicles. Turns out, we are pretty good at Tetris. 

In the morning we awoke to sunny skies, coffee, and more avocados--what could go wrong?

Well, during breakfast we discovered the van’s battery was dead. "Dead battery? No problem! Grab the jumper cables." Well, easier said than done. Before accepting that we are much better mountain guides than mechanics, we decided to get one more vehicle in the mix. A few failed attempts and some ninja-like parallel parking later, we threw in the towel and decided our time would be better spent calling a tow truck. Take aways: 1) Admit what you do not know 2) Ask other professionals for help 3) And just like in guiding, always error-correct!

 

Q: How many mountain guides does it take to fix a dead battery? A: Too many. Arthur Herlitzka photo

Considering our “Colorado Alpine Start,” we busted uphill to the base of the cliff and continued the planned agenda. Later we made our way to Castle Rock, where we traded off guiding with multiple clients. 

 

Busting up hill to make up for time lost during the morning's shenanigans. Leavenworth, WA. Tino VIllanueva photo

Tino discussing the pros and cons of climbing on a cowtail. The rest of us later realizing that he was right - it's not always easy being "the monkey in the middle." Arthur Herlitzka photo

That brought us to the end of Day 2, when we packed up and headed for the alpine in WA Pass.

 

Three instructors, twelve guides, three disciplines (rock, alpine, and ski), equals A LOT of gear. Arthur Herlitzka photo

Days 3-5: We slept hard, woke early, skied, climbed, and refined our technical skills in a variety of complex terrain. It was amazing to wake up in the Methow Valley, with temps in the mid 60s and only a 30 minute drive to snow covered slopes and hundreds of quality alpine climbs! At the end of June, you can actually hike a dirt trail right to the base. Here we continued mastery of short roping and crevasse rescue skills, along with mountain navigation. 

 

 Ascending Liberty Bell couloir. Washington Pass, North Cascades. Joshua Jarrin photo

 

Racking up at the base of South Early Winter Spire/South Arete. Washington Pass, North Cascades. Arthur Herlitzka photo

Views from midway on Liberty Bell/The Beckey Route. “We climbed our way back into the sun!” Arthur Herlitzka photo

Mallorie showing off short roping techniques and lowers on South Early Winter Spire/South Arete. Joshua Jarrin photo

Robert enjoying the ski descent from South Early Winter Spire. Check out the Southwest Couloir just left of center-- you can climb that too! Tino Villanueva photo

 

Practicing different methods of teaching crevasse rescue. Washington Pass, North Cascades. Joshua Jarrin photo

Take away: If you have not been to Washington Pass, you should go! The views are jaw dropping, the rock is excellent, the approaches are humbling, and with twelve new, solid guides at Mountain Madness, we can take you there! What are you waiting for? Join the Madness and “make it happen!”

 ~MM guide Marina Fitzpatrick