Guiding in the time of Covid
Mountain Madness guide Kyle Hornor reflects on how the government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has kept the uncertainty in climbing in the Cascades confined to the weather and big crevasses.
As someone who works seasonally guiding in the Cascades, every season is beset by some degree of uncertainty as to how much work will be available. Throw in the Covid-19 crisis into the mix and there was enough to fill a moderately sized crevasse surrounding the 2020 guiding season. Early spring left us wondering not only what the volume of work there would be, but if we’d be able to operate at all.
We are all incredibly grateful that conditions have lined up to allow us to operate this season. One key ingredient to making this possible has been a Paycheck Protection Program loan that Mountain Madness was able to take advantage of, which allowed guides to be paid as full time employees in contrast to the per trip, per-diem pay structure which we usually operate by.
Becoming a full time employee has allowed me to relax and focus on guiding and being in the mountains, which is what it’s all about. The season is not over yet, but its been great so far with trips up Mount Stuart on the North Ridge, Mount Baker, the always beautiful Mount Olympus, and some great courses. Thanks to all that joined me.