2020 and COVID-19 – Cancelled
As of June 1, 2020, We were hoping all trips this summer might be able to go ahead as scheduled but it’s simply not possible.
Like everyone else, we’ve been taking a hopeful but “wait and see” approach before making any decisions about operating this season. After further consultations with medical advisors, outdoor rec safety and risk management personnel, guides, and other tour operators, as well as search and rescue personnel, we’ve decided we cannot risk operating this summer with the degree of safety we try to adhere to. I don’t take this lightly and tried my best to make this happen. But we simply cannot do so responsibly in 2020. There are multiple factors that have come under scrutiny and led to this decision.
i) the risk/consequences ratio is simply higher than we’d like to have for remote backcountry travel. It’s simply unfair of me to ask guides to put themselves in a situation where they may be required to provide primary care in the field to someone who may have COVID (symptomatic or not). It’s similarly unfair to risk our guests to exposure to this when we essentially have little to no control over the management of it.
ii) COVID is not something our team has expertise on. I’m proud of our safety record and the professionalism and expertise of myself and my guides in the field. We recognize our operations include ample inherent risk, but those things are things we do have practice with and some level of expertise with safe travel through bear country, river crossings, whitewater rescues, crevasse and glacier travel, hypothermia and other exposure risks, and so on. Infectious respiratory diseases are not within our field of expertise.
iii) Limited available rescue resources and the complexity of managing such procedures for backcountry extractions this year.
iv) Travel restrictions and mandates still exist at the local, state, and federal levels that we need to follow, and they effectively make many of our operations impossible. International travel into the US is largely still banned, as is non-essential travel within the state to any of the off-the-road-system villages and communities we base a number of our trips from. There remains zero guidance from the relevant government agencies as to when these might be lifted.
v) With summer approaching, in order to operate we’d need to begin taking final payments for upcoming trips, and that simply isn’t fair considering the continuing high degree of uncertainty as to whether or not your trip will proceed. That places the entire risk of the trip running on you, and I’m just not willing to do that.
vi) There is still a number of vendors we operate with (air taxis, lodges, etc) who haven’t committed to operating this summer either, and that adds to the uncertainty. We can’t operate if our air taxi isn’t flying, etc, etc.
As much as I don’t want to, I’d rather cancel the season now than hold to our schedule and then have to cancel your trips as the departure dates approach, leaving everyone in a last-minute lurch.
These are unprecedented circumstances and not what any of us would like, obviously, but after numerous consultations and hours of thought I feel it’s the responsible and only reasonable approach to our operations during a pandemic
I’m so sorry for this situation, and I understand it’s difficult for everyone, but it’s simply not possible to make it happen this year. I hope all of you are safe and well and look forward to moving past this and toward a great backcountry adventure in the future when things are somewhat more stable. Thanks so much for your consideration.
See you soon.