Guiding

One Hand Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is used in climbing for many different applications. It is handy for attaching oneself to an anchor because of the ease of adjusting it during its use. Tying it one handed can be of great benefit to secure yourself when you are hanging by one hand. Here is a tech video I made where Cody Bradford shows the one handed clove hitch.

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Life, on the road, in my house…

  In 2011 I moved out of my Subaru and into a Toyota Tacoma Double cab truck with a Four Wheel camper. The Subaru was great, but eventually you kinda want a bed. I was spending 50 to 80 nights a year in my car and was doing this in every season as well as needed off road capabilities for those long approach desert rock climbs. I had a look around for what the best options were, Sprinters, Sportsmobiles and truck campers and came to the conclusion that 4 wheel drive is a must and it had to be an everyday driver. What fit the bill, the Four Wheel camper on a Double Cab, Long Bed Toyota...

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Footwear Choices in the Alps

As I got ready for the Alps I inquired to some friends who were already there as to what boots would be appropriate for the conditions this season. There has been quite bad weather and much more snow than is typical has fallen this summer. Most of the recommendations I received were that the “red boots” would be too cold and I should instead go with a Batura to stay warm. Having recently upgraded from the Trango GTX to the Trango Cube, I really wanted to try the boot out, so I brought both. On our first afternoon up the Aiguille du Midi we did a small glacier stroll over to the Cosmiques...

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Rock Climbing Summer Camp Video

Here is a video that I put together of a Fox Mountain Guides's summer camper's thoughts on "The Seal" at Looking Glass Rock.   Click here to see more: www.rockclimbingsummercamps.com

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Guiding’s Professional Problem… Follow up (2 trends that will kill crossfit)

Ok, so this article on Crossfit (pasted below as well) finally got me to write about a touchy subject in the guiding industry. It is amazing the parallels I see in these two industries’ problems. In the U.S., a guide or climbing instructor doesn’t need any training at all. Many folks just start a web page after a few years of climbing and proclaim themselves “mountain guides” and start taking people out on to the rock and into the mountains. Others, like myself and those that I am proud to work with, take the long path of years of personal climbing followed by spending tons of money...

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Ice Climbing: “A Leader’s Game”

Ice climbing is one of the essential tools for alpine climbing. Moving efficiently across mixed and ice terrain is a must to be efficient in the mountains. Ice climbing as a sport itself has exploded over the past ten years. There are now “ice fests” all across the country, and many folks attend these, take clinics, and try out all the new exciting gear.   This year in New Hampshire, I helped run the first ever Advanced Ice course that Fox Mountain Guides has offered, with the main focus on leading ice. In this course we talk about the seriousness of the leads and how ice climbing...

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The Feeling of Sending, Falling, and that Moment in Between

I worked with a client the other day who has come a long way in her climbing. She is now leading 5.10 sport but still having trouble falling. She has taken Arno's Warriors Way clinics and said they helped but like anything that isn't practiced, it fades into the peripheries of our mind. We have all experienced fear before a fall as well as the defeat after, or as Arno puts it "the learning!" Paige also sent one of her hardest climbs in the last two days. It makes you proud as an instructor to see students send their projects and you get many of the same feelings you have yourself when completing...

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Added Friction for the GriGri

  Here is a belaying tech tip that I shot while in Thailand last month. I use this technique with smaller ropes to give more control without feathering the lever on the GriGri.     Improving GriGri Friction while lowering from karsten delap on Vimeo. Check out these other tech tips: Locking Quick Draw Carabiner Break Rappel Locking Munter Hitch   For more climbing instruction information visit: www.foxmountainguides.com

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The Art of Guiding

Shhic... Shhick… It is 4:00 am and still dark out. I kick the next step. Shhick. The snow is fairly hard, and it is taking some effort to make the steps flat enough for my clients following  behind. I am working to keep them at a 45 degree angle to allow either foot to be placed in either step. My clients aren’t working at all however due to one of them being an IFMGA guide and the other a guide in training. Just as I think they are probably asleep, I hear Jeff Ward from the back say, “Make your steps look good.” I thought to myself for a second, "Who the hell cares?" I replied, “What...

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An Afternoon Cup with a Friend

As usual, my inspiration for this post comes from coffee - well not coffee directly, but from my experience at Starbucks this morning. As I pulled into the drive thru, I was greeted by Tom, the manager of the Bishop Starbucks. He is always cheerful and seems to enjoy his job; this morning was no different. He greeted me and asked if I was off to work. I replied, "Nope, headed to play today!"  Tom retorted, "But your job is like playing!" I didn't know what to say and with reluctance just said "Yeah, I guess so." After I pulled out, I thought to myself, I bet Tom loves coffee as much as I do, but I bet getting...

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The Joy of Summiting, and Realizing it is Only Halfway

The last Mt. Whitney trip went very well considering weather and medical hardships. The trip started out of the Whitney Portal with forecasted winds around 115 mph at 12,000ft. This is not a good outlook at any elevation, but of course, the summit is another 2,500 ft above that. The first night at low camp (10,000 ft) we received 85 mph winds and really had to hunker down to make it through the night. The next day looked bleak as the winds were supposed to be even stronger. When we woke to a chilly but bluebird day, we were all very surprised and thrilled - there was no question which way we were...

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The Sweet Lemonade

Mt Whitney towers above the Sierra (14,500 ft.) as the Lower 48 States' tallest peak. I usually guide the "Mountaineer's Route" in the early spring where there is much snow and, with the altitude, it becomes a full-on alpine climb. When someone signs up for a trip, they will have put a lot of time and money and focus into it. When I tell them we have to turn back, they are defeated and rightfully so. I always have feelings of  abhorrence when making the decision to turn folks around. It is never an easy decision, I think a fellow guide and friend of mine explains it well here: Will Gadd Blog It...

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Getting Bored Guiding Clients Up Mountains

We are asked the question many times, “Don’t you get tired of guiding the same climbs day in and day out?” Lindsay had this question arise during an AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor course and explained the difference between guiding and climbing.  A participant followed up,  sending her an email with this quote from Gaston Rebuffat: “With the inevitable repetition of the same ascents, the work of the guide could become tedious, but the guide is not just a machine to climb slopes of ice and walls of rock, to know the weather and the route. He does not climb for himself: he opens...

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Icy Road to Canada

On the way to Canada for some training with the Canadian Avalanche Association,  I was able to get in a bit of skiing and ice climbing.  It started off in RMNP, CO, where we got up to Hidden Valley for a day of “rock” skiing. I then checked out Loch Vale Gorge and climbed the not-so-classic Ice Chim.  After Colorado, I headed to Wyoming and climbed for a few days in Cody. This place has adventure written all over it--long approches, steep ice, and hunters shooting all over the place made for long days and a great time!       I then headed to Bozeman, MT,  which...

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Practicing Rescue

Some guides practicing rescue. Yes, this is what we do at night...   Rescue Drill from karsten delap on Vimeo.

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Easton Hat Trick

The super-light Easton Hat Trick is a great tent for one to three people looking for a light, strong, and reliable shelter in many different environments. I just got done using this shelter in the extreme conditions on Mt. Whitney. The first night in the tent we had 70 mph gusts of wind and blowing snow. At one point, a tent pole bent down and hit my head as I was laying there. In the morning when I awoke, every single piece of the tent was intact! Other tents on the mountain were rendered useless - not the Hat Trick. One of the cool things about the Hat Trick is the pole system. Easton calls...

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American Alpine Club Rescue Course and Climbing Day

As the Ambassador for the American Alpine Club in the Western Mountains of North Carolina, I set up a few events every year for the local members. One of them is a free rescue course at Fox Mountain Guides. This year we had fourteen AAC members and four Fox Mountain Guides attend this event. We started out the day with some coffee and donuts and then quickly moved into looking at ways to keep our climbing systems quick and efficient to keep ourselves out of trouble. We also looked at the gear museum that FMG has on hand with old bolds and broken gear. After lunch, we went to Looking Glass and folks...

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The Warriors Way

Arno Ilgner is quite the legend in southeastern rock climbing. He has been putting up “hard man” routes since the early 80’s. He has also delved into mental training and wrote the book "The Rock Warriors Way," followed by "Espresso Lessons" about a year ago. Now Arno travels the country teaching the way of the warrior in his clinics. I was fortunate enough to take this training with my fellow employees of Fox Mountain Guides. The training made me realize I am not very present in the moment when I am climbing.  I was already familiar with and had practiced most of the teachings and techniques...

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Training the Special Forces

Training the Special Forces is a great privilege. These men are super dialed and pick up on any thing we teach them. We take them from never being in a climbing system to leading multi-pitch climbs in just a matter of days. From blasting up trails to holding their fear back on the runout leads, these guys are incredibly smart and well-conditioned machines. The group that I just worked with last week was nice enough to let us take a few shots during their training.

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Technical Rescue Training

At Fox Mountain Guides, we do a lot of continuing education and training for our guides to stay on top of what is out there in the climbing world. Technical rescue is something we hopefully never have to use but need to be very proficient with....... just in case. I do find myself employing these techniques when guiding to make my clients' experience better as well as during high angle operations with the Brevard Rescue team. Nonetheless, revisiting these systems is always good and discussing with peers ways to do things better seems to keep us at the forefront of our industry. We use the AMGA...

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