Monday, September 12, 2011

Remember When We Used to Go Rock Climbing...?

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  It has perfect temperatures, the trees are nice to look at, the breeze is perfect, and I actually have some downtime to climb.  As I sit in the climbing shop in Bar Harbor, I look forward to my first afternoon off in a few months.  The idea of rock climbing excites me more then I can describe here.

On days like these all I can do is reflect on how amazing my life has been so far, and in no small part because of rock climbing.  Now don't get me wrong, rock climbing is a fun activity (dare I say sport?).  But what rock climbing has taught me, where it has taken me and the people I have met through it far out-weigh the simple act of grabbing a rock and pulling on it. 

Some of my best friends are people who I have met rock climbing.  My first two climbing mentors, Ivan and Josh, are still to this day two people that I would drop anything to be around.  The adventures and "Oh $#@T" moments with them helped cement my love of this sport.  My fellow guides can all recount their own experiences with their mentors. 

Beyond recreational climbing I have found my way to yet another brotherhood; guiding.  The guides I have met in my short three year career have all left a profound impression on me.  I learned what it meant to be a professional, no matter what your employment.  My mentors, Silas, Jon and Ian, have all taught me what it means to be a guide.  I am constantly learning new skills, ways of teaching, patience and gaining confidence to go anywhere and do anything. 

Today, I'm not here to sell anything or promote a business.  I am here to express my deep appreciation of those who have brought me to where I am, and brought rock climbing to where it is.  My mentors, my friends, my fellow guides and all the professional rock climbers (new and old) have all helped shape my perception of life.  Seeing the extremes to which the human mind and body can be taken is indeed amazing.  More so, the humility that accompanies many life-time rock climbers makes me proud to be counted among them.

Alright! Enough gushiness.  Here are some rock/ice climbing photos:

Triassic Sands Red Rocks, NV.

Iron Messiah Zion National Park, UT.

Jeff Slide Smuggler's Notch, VT.

Mixed Climbing at Toko Crag, NH.

Looking toward Denver Eldorado Canyon, CO.

"Beach Muscles" Kirk on top of the Red Garden Wall, Eldorado Canyon, CO.
Last pitch on Armadillo Katahdin, ME.

Emigrant Crack Acadia National Park, ME.
Get psyched for FALL folks!

Try Hard,
Ande Kahora

Thursday, September 8, 2011

AMG Guides Do New York!

A few weeks ago, Adam Butterfield and Ande Kahora were fortunate to be part of the University of Vermont's Climbing TREK program.  The UVM Outing Club takes incoming freshman and sends them to various locations in the area to get first hand experience hiking, climbing, biking and paddling.  It is a great opportunity to get to know the areas vast diversity of outdoor pursuits.

As guides, Adam and Ande were charged with showing the new students around the cliffs of the Adirondack High Peaks of New York.  As fellow UVM students Adam and Ande have spent a great deal of time in the Adirondacks lifetime supply of rocky crags.

Some of the students had been rock climbing since a young age, and some had never touched rock before.  We visited many spots known for their varied terrain and get setting.  Mackenzie Pond boulders, the Beer Walls, Deadwater, Bark Eaters, Jewels and Gems are just a few placed the students climbed.  This just scratches the surface but does give them a great taste of what is out there.

UVM Student at Bark Eaters, NY
 Beyond the climbing, Adam and Ande decided it would be a great chance to make some TREK history and create a Tyrolean Traverse at our campsite in Wilmington Notch.  The two guides scouted an area where they could create a 90ft. traverse over the most pronounced rapids of a close by river.  Many of the students had never done a traverse like this before.  Some were excited while others had a few more trepidations.  Mostly all the students made the journey across and back.  It was definitely a memorable experience for all!

UVM student dangles above the raging river.