Chamonix- the birthplace of alpinism and mountain guiding
Kip follows the crux pitch of the Voie Rebuffat.
A party behind us on the classic Arete du Cosmiques.
The Aguille du Midi from across the Col du Midi / Vallee Blanche glacier.
The Aguille du Midi.
Kip follows pitch 3 of the classic Voie Rebuffat on the SE Pillar of the Aguille du Midi.
Mike and Michael ahead of us on the Arete du Cosmiques.
One of our goals with Cloudsplitter has always been to provide a professional standard of mountain guiding on rock, ice and snow in the Adirondacks, but also beyond. While in the past apprenticeships and employment has been an accepted path to mountain guiding in the US, participation in American Mountain Guides Association training and certifications has been integral to the process of attaining a truly professional and international standard of proficiency, which means more rewarding experiences, better climbing and better risk management for our guests. Just as Lake Placid is home to world class athletes and international athletic competitions, we would also like to be on par with the standards of the International Federation of Mountain Guides (IFMGA). It's a serious commitment to be an IFMG guide, requiring a significant investment in time, energy, experience, ability and proficiency.
Better yet, we'd like to be able to take our guests that have climbed and trained with us here in the 'Daks, to international venues like the European Alps, the Canadian Rockies, the Peruvian Andes, and beyond...
A party starts up the final mixed chimney on the Arete du Cosmiques.
Which brings me here to Chamonix, where AMGA/IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide Michael Silitch has called home for almost a decade now. He's at the forefront of a community that has been integrating American mountain guides into the European community over the last decade. Specifically he is instructing an AMGA Aspirant Alpine Guides Course and Exam that I am participating in right now. It's an intensive program that both assesses our foundational skills in rock and ice climbing and technical rescue systems, as well as coaching us in our guiding skills on complex alpine terrain and ultimately verifying our entrance into the final Alpine Guides Exam. In the big picture, it's still only part of the process towards full international certification- which is a rigorous and lengthy investment in multiple tiers of training and exams in rock guiding, alpine guiding and ski guiding- but if there's any place in the world to build those skills- it's here in Chamonix, the birthplace of mountain guiding.
If you think this is a cool idea, and like the idea of training with us at home and eventually joining us for a trip to some of these great venues- then give us a call for some climbing this summer. It's the guiding work at home that makes this all possible. Thanks to all of our guests over the last 15 years that have helped put us on this path.
I'll be back in the Adirondacks on June 17. Emilie- who is also in pursuit of her Rock Instructor Exam this fall, is there now (and also available for guiding). Call or email us, and let's get out in the Adirondacks this summer- a birthplace of American mountain guiding, and a great place to climb!
UPDATE 6/15/09: Some more photos from the course/exam
Kip on the arete of the Petit Charmoz.
Kip livin' the dream of primo alpine granite.
Kip traversing the Petit Charmoz ridgeline with the N face of Grand Charmoz behind
AMGA Instructor/Examiner and IFMGA/UIAGM guide Michael Silitch- taking notes for our final scorecards during the day.