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On the north ridge of Mount Stuart with Mountain Madness

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.