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My father was always a people person. A master salesman, who could effortlessly remember 99% of the faces and names of anyone he'd ever met. The few he didn't remember, he was able to talk with them in such a way that they had no idea that he had no clue as to who they were. It was a work of art to watch him in action. He could make almost anyone feel totally at ease, while they were signing on the dotted line. No used-car shyster, this was a man who sold million dollar deals for air conditioning and heating equipment for huge buildings going up in Florida. He was a rep for products that contractors and builders came to him for.
Now I've always felt that a good guide has many of these same characteristics. Of course a guide isn't selling a tangible product that a client can actually hold in their hand. Yet they are selling the experience and of course their abilities. Just as my dad was able to make a potential client feel comfortable by chatting with them about things that they can relate to, a good guide does many of the same things.
For the past 4-5 years I've worked as a part-time (non-AMGA-certified) guide for a local climbing school, I've done a fair amount of private guiding on my own over the years and worked with a number of group programs. Over that time I've found that beyond the obvious and not so obvious technical skills that are of course required, to be even moderately successful you have to have good people skills. You have to be able to get a sense of what a client thinks they want to do, what they are capable of doing and balance that with all the other external things that are going on. All are constantly being re-evaluated all day long, most of the time without letting on that you're adjusting the day's itinerary as you go. And of course managing things so that when the day is complete most of the time you can declare success, even if you may not have done what you had originally set out to do. Success is very important, especially when working with kids.
Over the past 10+ years I've been fortunate enough to be able to climb alongside some of the real master guides of this area. Not being guided mind you, just watching and observing how they did things. One of the things that I have especially admired is how these master guides deal with their clients; the respect and consideration they show for them - never condescending, always supportive. It's no wonder that the best guides have clients that come back to them time after time- often well after the client is perfectly able to do pretty much everything on their own.
While I have no intention of ever doing guiding full time, I strive to bring their same attention to the client to my own lowly efforts. All this came up in my mind when I worked on Saturday and Sunday with 2 clients who I have had the good fortune to be associated with the past 3 years. They are great people, good fun to be around, and we all enjoy each others company. They keep coming back and we keep having a good time. I guess that's what the game is all about.
It seems as if it has been years since we've had a sunny Memorial Day. I just looked back through the older Reports and that was at least true for 2005 and 2004. My clients like the end of May and last year we spent the weekend running up things like Thin Air and the Saigon's in the rain. Sheesh! Not my idea of fun, no matter how nice the client. This year was a different kettle of fish. While it did shower on Friday night, the weekend was magnificent. I was totally amazed that there was only a single truck in the lot at Whitehorse at 9:45 Saturday morning. That party and mine had the cliff effectively to ourselves until almost noon. Go Figure!
We had planned on doing Sea Of Holes. However, the first 25 feet, being under the trees out of the drying rays of the sun, was about as slimy as it could be. I thought I could manage it, but after going up 15 feet and sliding slowly back down I decided that something like Standard was more appropriate. A little joking about how I felt a bit like a Gecko on a greased cookie sheet defused any frustration and we headed over. While a paltry few clouds threatened while we were up on the arch, they never coalesced into anything. We climbed up to the thread at the top, rapped off together and then went over and did Beelzebub. The day couldn't have been a whole lot better.
Except Sunday WAS better. There were already a dozen cars in the lot at 8:30, but Sea Of Holes was open and we jumped on it. It's been a while since I have done the route, but I've always felt it is one of the best on the cliff. A climb that starts with a full 60 meter 5.2 pitch with no gear, and crescendos to a much more vertical but very well protected last pitch below the white upper overlaps, it has something for everyone. I had planned to do the 5.8 step-over left to the bolts variation but was sensing that after 2 days of climbing the guys were getting too tired to manage it, so I did the direct mossy finish to the tree. Both of them surprised me, making short work of that finish and making me wish I'd done the variation. Oh well, there's always a next time. And the cool thing about repeat clients is there's always next time.
Ice Conditions Report:
Selected Ice Conditions effective October 27, 2016
Both the Black Dike and Pinnacle Gully have been done this week. This is probably as early as they have ever been climbed! Is that a good thing, I suppose so. [wry grin] Pinnacle was a solo. Unfortunately there is nothing climbable in the lower elevations, and based on the lack of ground-water in the system right now, I’m not sure when there will be. Let’s hope for some more rain and early snow in the Notches. Couple that with some consistent cold weather and that would at least give us something reasonable to play on. Special thanks to Peter Doucette from Mountain Sense guides for the great picture of the Black Dike.
NOTE - as of the middle of the week, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail above the Huntington intersection is closed for construction. Stay tuned for more info.
14th Annual Women's Rock Day - June 17-18:
Two days of rock climbing, instructional clinics, a dinner, gear auction and an amazing slide show for women climbers! Clinics are open to women of all ages and abilities. There will be demo equipment for event participants to use and a raffle at Saturday evening's dinner to benefit local programs. Held in cooperation with IMCS and EMS Climbing School. Check both sites for details.
Jim Gagne Update:
Yes folks, the man got down off the Mountain safely and is now, Friday, back home in Ashland. He is the first New Hampshire Native to have climbed Everest, much less the complete 7 Summits. It's an impressive feat and one that will not likely be repeated soon. I'm sure that he will be doing slideshows around the area as soon as he has some time to recuperate and I sure want to catch it. Stay tuned...
American Alpine Club NE Section - Basecamp 2006:
Saturday, June 17th, 2006, 5:00p
Nancy Savickas' Alpine Refuge
17 Bridge Street, Albany, NH
(617) 285_0517 (cell)
(Rain or shine)
Slide Show- You do it! Bring some of your best slides
We always have fun no matter how many show up!
-o0| Snacks, salad, soda, |0o-
BYOB and something for the grille
For details and directions see: www.atkinsopht.com/mtn/aacnesct.htm
Harvard Mountaineering - Call For Submissions:
This coming fall, the Harvard Mountaineering Club will be publishing the 26th issue of their journal, Harvard Mountaineering. At the moment they are trying to get the word out into the climbing community for potential submissions.
They publish articles, artwork, photography and trip reports pertaining to rock and ice climbing and mountaineering around the world. The club has published Harvard Mountaineering on and of since 1924, featuring articles by such luminaries as David Roberts and the photographs of Bradford Washburn (both former HMC presidents). After a 10 year hiatus, they published number 25 in 2004, and plan on continuing publication on a biannual schedule.
If you have unpublished articles and photography which would be perfect for the journal contact check out their website and contact them:
In House Band at Common Man in Ashland:
This is totally self-serving since, yup, it's my band. If you haven't seen this group, you really should.
Friday, June 2nd, 8:30 - 11pm
Randy Roos – guitar
Jimmy Alba – guitar
Al Hospers – bass
Carl Iacozili -- drums
Randy Roos is a legendary jazz/fusion guitarist who has been on numerous LP and CD's over the past 30 years. While he can bebop with the best, on any given night he can channel Clapton! Jim Alba is the perfect foil for Randy, with leanings toward Hendrix and Page. Carl and I have been playing together for the past 3 years in all sorts of projects, including the popular North Conway funk band SoundsClever.
groove, jam, dub, and ambient, with occasional leanings toward jazz and hip-hop
Folks it ain't your daddy's pop music!
For more info call 603-968-7030
Mobile Version Of NEClimbs:
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
NEClimbs & White Mountain Report On Facebook:
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
This is how they die, I thought. They pass out or freeze without caring. They die as spectators, believing it's all happening to someone else. I'd rather be fully alive and awake when I die, I want to be terrified. The last place I want to snuff it is on a slope no steeper than a beginner's ski hill.