MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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July 15, 2019

Full Circle Ingalls Peak

Fellow guide Jake Skeen and I were taking two guests to do their first alpine rock climb. Jamie and Brendan were fit and stoked but were looking to gain experience and knowledge to go out on their own objectives. They had signed up for the Alpine Climbing Course and The Alpine Leadership Course with Mountain Madness.

The course starts with a couple days learning skills in Leavenworth and doing a multipitch climb to get everyone used to the systems. From there you typically travel to Washington Pass and get on some classic alpine rock routes but upon hearing the forecast for Wa pass Jake decided that we should head south instead and climb Ingalls Peak. After spending a very rainy night in the shadow of Mt Stuart we woke up to blue skies and perfect weather for climbing.

 

As we approached our climb in the early morning light the ridgeline of Ingalls peak was ever present on the skyline. The plan was to climb the East Ridge, a perfect introduction to alpine rock. As we transitioned from hiking into climbing, I couldn’t help but remember my first time climbing this route. It was 2009, and it was my first alpine rock climb. I hadn’t even been climbing a year yet and I had only begun trad climbing 3 months earlier. I knew almost nothing about how to prepare for a route, what to bring and how to move efficiently. We were strong and our stoke was high and on those two things we relied upon. We learned the hard way on that climb, we were on route for way longer then we should’ve been, and things didn’t go smoothly simply because we had so little experience and knowledge. We still had a blast that day, but it was much more difficult then it should’ve been.

 

Fast forward 10 years, Brendan is all smiles as I’m guiding him up the ridge. You can tell he’s loving the climb and absorbing the nuances of alpine climbing. I mention more than once how I wish I had learned the things I’m showing him sooner. It took me a lot of years, many routes, hundreds of anchors and gear placements, a couple epics and a few close calls to learn some of the things I was able to share with Brendan that day. It was a special feeling going full circle on a route like that; my first alpine rock climb and now, 10 years later, guiding it.