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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 Arête. 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 Arête. 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