Guiding in the Alps surrounding Chamonix is the norm for American IFMGA guides. Over half of America’s 80-something fully certified guides are here this summer. Why? Not because the pay is great. The plane ticket here is expensive and the dollar is lame against the euro. It’s also not because the US doesn’t have great rock for guiding. The western US has some of the best rock in the world. It’s not because Chamonix is the birthplace of mountain guiding, either. We’re here because the guiding is AWESOME! With our customers we can zip to the alpine on a tram and climb impeccable rock all day, then whisk back to a comfortable town where guides are socializing and living their normal life. Small, non-knee crushing backpacks are another bonus.
It is funny to me how goal setting can be such an indomitable force. Sometimes I have to strive for something really impossible just to find my motivation, while other times I’ll set my sights too low and be greeted by successful dissatisfaction. I’ve found that balance is harder than executing, especially when the factors are out of your control and dictated by nature. But not this summer… this summer in the mountains has been one of the best, and it just keeps on giving.
In May somewhere along the Annapurna Circuit’s long, winding, dusty road, I began to believe that after a safe and successful slaying of snow on two peaks that I had finally achieved my goals as a Himalayan mountaineer. This shouldn’t be that shocking since I have spent ten years pioneering first ascents and descents in the world’s highest range with narrow-minded focus and more than a handful of narrowly missed catastrophes blending the good times with the bad and no regrets for how we did it. This insight was forced upon me in January, when my friend Jack died in my climbing partner Jon’s arms and then I decided to take a day off from filming heli-skiing in Haines, Alaska and my friend Rob died on a routine run guiding clients. The number of passionate people I have seen meet their demise in the mountains now takes up two handfuls of digits and that is likely too close for comfort, and forces me to ponder my own fate.
Know the poorest of the poor are among your neighbors, in your neighborhoods, in your town, in your city, perhaps in your own family. We must look first to our own streets. — Mother Teresa
The dynamic Kenyans we met demonstrated that the first place to make a difference is in our own neighborhoods—in our own country. For those with greater wherewithal the help can and should extend further. In the big picture, our greatest hope is to educate as many people as possible in the areas where our world is struggling and losing balance: clean water, sanitation, wildlife poaching, climate change, poverty, illiteracy etc.
Pete McBride and Jake Norton teamed up to film the trip. Their talent is exceptional with stunning imagery that captures the path of water from its origins on Mt Kenya, which supplies the country with 70 percent of its water, through the bush to the city where it runs dry in the slums. This film will show even those in the first world that there is a lot at stake as we lose our watersheds.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week. We call it the Osprey Round Up… Happy Friday!
The snow is falling in the West and if you’re like us, you’re probably getting your gear ready for the weekend ahead. But with the loss of four more incredible people in last weekend’s avalanches in the North Cascades, our excitement is bittersweet. For all of you who have loved and lost someone in the mountains, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Ski hard, be safe and love the life you live.
PHOTO via Evan Stevens in British Columbia
From my last post you might think that all it does is snow up here in the Selkirks of BritishColumbia. Well, usually it does and for most of January it sure did. Alas, last week the snow hose shifted its focus, and squinty eyes and sun burned noses returned to the mountains of BC.
With my father in law, the original owner of my backcountry ski lodge Valhalla Mountain Touring, in place as the hut keeper, I knew I needed to get out of my neck of the woods and go play in the big peaks of Rogers Pass. A quick 2.5 hour drive from home (not including the snowmachine ride to my truck and the half-hour ferry ride inland), Rogers Pass is the number one place I go to play when I have some time off. If you haven’t been, its time to change that, as it is host to some of the best road-accessed ski touring in the world, hands down.
It started 5 years ago. The goal is to ski every month of the year, through all of the seasons.
On summer when I was climbing Rainier, I noticed skiers coming down the mountain. We had just finished slogging up
and down the standard route, upon arriving at camp Muir, there we’re skiers climbing up and skiers skiing down. Being a skier first. I thought to myself “why am I not doing that?”. At that moment it all changed and skis have become a crucial piece of gear whenever I make a trip up into the mountains.
By: Markus Jobman, Osprey Adventure Envoy Team
Once in a while you need to step back, pause and re-boot. Look at the world around you and the everyday life that each of us lives. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day craziness. We get busy with careers, friends, obligations and adventures — and sometimes we forget to just stop and see what is going on and really enjoy what is around us.
This past weekend we took a break. We attended Mountainfilm on Tour. It is a celebration of what is around us: life, adventure, nature, mountains and the thrill of enjoying it. We attended the tour in our home town of Rapid City. For the third year in a row, Mountainfilm’s tour event acted as a fundraiser for the Rapid City Urban Orchard Project, an organization that works with the Department of Parks and Recreation to plant apple trees in green spaces throughout the city and organizes volunteers to care for them after they are planted.
Ski the Himalayas is now in it’s third season of online “making of” podcast episodes born out of Ski the Himalayas first two feature length documentary films available this year on Dish Network and Comcast Xfinity VOD and Pay Per View. Look for Ski the Himalayas 2 on Dish and Comcast Xfinity on May 1st. We climbed a peak and survived an avalanche, those were just two instances along the way…