If you were to ask me one year ago today where I’d be in one year, the Pacific Northwest would have been the last place to come out of my mouth. So here I am, the last day of May, 2016 and I find myself sitting outside of my girlfriend’s house in Olympia, Washington scribbling down ideas and thoughts about the future which lay just around the green and rainy corner. When the hell did this happen? I don’t even like the rain, and Yosemite Valley is a good 15 or 16 hour drive. Who’s idea was this? Well, I did it to myself. And to be honest, there is nothing I regret about my decision to move north to this green land of rain and eclectic young people. Things are moving in a very cool direction, and the new journey of becoming a professional guide, and the beginning of the journey has barely begun. This is indeed a very exciting time.
I don’t know when exactly it was that I made the decision to take the proper steps in coming a professional guide, but after a few months of searching and applying and interviewing, I have now found myself locked into a spot to instruct and teach full-time. I will spend this summer of 2016 working for Kaf Adventures, a small, Seattle-based adventure company whose primary focus is inspiring and educating both well-seasoned and prospecting outdoor adventurers. They have taken me under their wing with no prior guiding experience, and only one certification which is at the very bottom of the list of certifications needed to be a fully-qualified mountain guide. My enthusiasm and passion for climbing musth have exposed them to something within me that gives them the level of confidence in my to take beginner climbers into dangerous situations and manage risks appropriately. I’m sure that some people would expect me to say that this level of responsibility makes me somewhat nervous; but to be completely honest, I am super, super stoked to be in that position. It’s these kind of environments that bring me life and make me feel whole. I trust my judgement and experience enough to make sound decisions about the mountains, and look forward to stepping out with those with that certain glint in their eyes to push themselves and find how much they can actually endure. I cannot say enough how excited I am to take this responsibility, and hopefully impact my future clients’ lives in ways I may never know.
This weekend will mark the official beginning of the new job, a training that starts with a day at a crag followed by a 3-day mountaineering trip up Mount Shuksan, a beautiful alpine peak crowned with some apparently top-quality granite above a beautiful glacier, where Mick Pearson will give us the knowledge and tools we will need to teach people how to get up and back down these peaks as safely as possible. After our training is done, I go back into the wilderness to teach an Intro to Mountaineering course with one other instructor. I cannot begin to portray just how excited I am to have begun my journey down the path to be a mountain guide, and by the looks of it, I’ll be doing just that in no time at all. Too many things are falling too perfectly into place for me to even question the fact that I seemed to have found a niche. So now here we go, cast off for new adventure, and a new path of being the absolute best outdoor education professional that I can be. This summer is going to rock. No pun intended.