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“Working on the profile stuff is a bit of a struggle. It turns out that I am not very good at stuff like that.”
“Ignorance is ze root of adventurrre” or so a Czech waitress in Talkeetna once said and I took it to heart for several of my younger years.
I routinely set out unprepared and proceeded to make just about every non-fatal mistake possible.
After years of suffering through adventures I started to learn enough about living in the wilderness that I found myself actually enjoying them and rarely uncomfortable. I finally understood the sarcastic tone in which she said that and realized that adventure and suffering do not have to go hand in hand.
In fact with proper preparation and good systems there was no need to suffer at all which freed me up to concentrate on the real roots of adventure.
As I write this I am on a grand adventure in Patagonia packrafting uncharted rivers and climbing unexplored peaks. I’m pushing my limits physically and mentally but I also find myself having a ridiculous amount of fun.
I can’t remember the last time I was uncomfortable in the back country because of a mistake. I now get to laugh at my younger more stubborn self over a gourmet backcountry meal. Guiding is passing on all those lessons so others can avoid the suffering steps and find what it is that they are looking for on an adventure.
I do a lot more than just sea kayak and hike. I have arranged my life in such a way that I get to do a whole lot of passions. I’m an accomplished climber (rock, ice, and alpine), whitewater paddler (raft, kayak or canoe, but especially packrafting), and cyclist. I also make a pretty good camp chef and photographer.
This year marks my tenth year as a guide. From rock climbing to paddling to cooking and from kids to veterans to troubled teens these trips feel like a culmination of my experience. Where the landscape is limitless and my resources are only bounded by ingenuity and skill.
“The mountains are not a stadium in which to show off your physical prowess but a cathedral in which to worship.” – Anatouli Boukreev
“I suppose we amounted to nothing more than a gang of overgrown children delighting in the conquest of altitude by the force of our own muscles. Yet to see a companion arrive on a sunlit crest, his eyes full of happiness, seemed in itself an adequate recompense. Tomorrow he might return to the valley and be swallowed up by the mediocrity of life but for one day at least he looked full at the sky.” – Lionel Terray
This quote is one of my favorites because Terray was not only an exceptional mountaineer but a guide as well and this was written to explain why he loved guiding. For him it transcended profession and became his life’s calling just as much as climbing the mountains he is famous for.
I get to experience a wide variety of clients with very different goals and ability levels. That’s a great lesson in how to balance conservative judgement calls with the clients desires and give all of them an enjoyable and safe trip.
All these activities have given me a level of comfort in the outdoors. No matter how far out I am.
I believe this calm, confident, ‘everything is going to be alright’ approach is the number one quality for a wilderness guide. Couple that with having the necessary skills to ensure it will be.
10 years as Wilderness First Responder
CPR for the Professional Rescuer
Assessed at the PL level (higher possible) for rock climbing and wilderness instructor
Wilderness therapy instructor
Glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques
“Goat Trail 15 -23 Aug 2016. Amazing experience. The entire experience was a pleasure. Thanks Carl and thanks for putting us with Rhane. He is an awesome guide and great cook. By the time we were finished, the group felt like we had made a new friend and the experience in the wilderness was life changing.
“Rhane looked after every detail. He ensure we were well cared for, included us in every decision, and ensured that we were safe and healthy the entire trip. I hope Rhane continues to guide for EA next season. He is great add to your Company. I would enjoy another trip with EA and Rhane as the guide.” George K
Backcountry specialty .. “fresh picked berry cobbler”
Rhane has worked with me
a season9 seasons and done a phenomenal job. I’m stoked he’s hanging around with us for more to come.
Rhane’s a superb climber, backpacker, a Class V boater and cooks a tasty backcountry supper. He has a great sense of balancing “can we do this” with “is it a good idea to do this”.
Last summer he sprayed a bear with pepper spray and is still here to recount an awesome tale to tell about that.
Most impressively; I get to hear him talk afterward about the people he guides. It’s so apparent how much he cares about doing a great job for you, about making the best decisions and managing situations exceptionally well. Rhane loves being in the field with folks like you and sharing the experience of the mountains with you.
He’s currently headed to Patagonia to go climbing. It’ll be fun to catch up with him and his partner Kira when they make their way north again next season.