The Guides

The Denali Guide is a rare breed indeed.  And the RMI Guides are revered as a cut above.  Some are considered legends.  Yes, they are trained, tested, experienced, and certified.  But so much more.  I would describe my Guides as superhuman.

For starters they are superior athletes. They carry the heaviest packs and sleds. They move up and down the hill the fastest. They seem to do it effortlessly, confidently and with boundless energy. When they get to their destination they go into Turbo mode. If we are caching, they take out the shovels and dig a massive pit in the ice and snow for our collective treasure.  If we are setting up camp, they dig the latrine, the posh, level the foundation and throw up tents.  If wind breaks are required they saw ice blocks and build massive walls.

When not climbing Denali, you will likely find them leading several consecutive Rainier summits, or somewhere else in the world scaling a huge mountain for work or pleasure. 

The Guides get up earliest and go to bed the latest.  They expertly cook breakfast and dinner, boil endless amounts of snow for water, fill our water bottles and frequently deliver them to our tents almost as a way of tucking us in for the evening.  They even tend the latrine (I do not know where the waste goes, but it disappears magically every day).

They are expert storytellers. They make you laugh, put you at ease, impress and awe you.  They are humble yet wise.  And they are sleeping 3 to a tent for weeks on end, so they must be good roommates too.

Our Guides are teachers.  They must have both patience with the novice guests and be willing to go deep with those clients desiring to learn the finer points of mountaineering.  They will correct  you when you make a mistake without embarrassing you too badly.  They are always keeping a watchful eye - quietly taking the measure of each climber from a health and skills perspective.

The Guides are well educated and articulate.  They pride themselves on their ability to read and predict the weather.  They are cool under pressure, but never seem to get cold (temperature wise).  They are impervious to the elements.

Our Guides were rewarded with the Summit after patiently waiting out the weather and putting up with climbers like me.  Congratulations to Pete, Jess and Jenny.  Well done!


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