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10 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course Testimonials

I loved this course. My goal was to become an asset on a rope team instead of a liability, and create a solid foundation of skills to build upon to continue my growth in mountaineering. I feel that I have achieved this. It was great we were able to summit both Baker and Rainier, but that was just icing on the cake. The training that I received is what I’m most grateful for.

2017 Climber

Thoroughly enjoyed the course. Felt like it was top quality and really well done. Guides were extremely knowledgeable and conveyed the information in a clear and concise manner. I feel prepared to use the skills in future climbs with some practice on my part. Baker school component offered those of us who live at sea level a chance to get acclimated before doing Rainier. I think this was key to our success. Appreciate the guides pushing us early on and focusing on the basics of footwork and awareness so that became second nature. Improvement areas: none really.

2017 Climber

Yes, thoroughly enjoyed the course. Felt like it was top quality and really well done. Guides were extremely knowledgeable and conveyed the information in a clear and concise manner. I do feel prepared to use the skills in future climbs with some practice on my part. Yes, I thought the guides were very attentive to the safety and care of the participants and were strong leaders throughout the course. They communicated clearly, were clear about expectations, were patient with the participants, and drove the right level of rigor to accomplish what we needed to do.

They were all solid communicators and had no problem conveying both technical and personal experience. They were good at putting the information in context and certainly had a wealth of information to pass along. They all had different personalities but all were able to teach and communicate really well. I thought it was GREAT that there was a woman guide on the trip who served as a good role model for my daughter. All were easy to talk to and no interpersonal issues that I am aware of. They provided constant positive reinforcement with everyone. They were all nice people and treated us great.

I felt all the support systems were excellent. Office staff quickly answered any questions and the website and course materials were clear and really helped us prepare.
(re: the training reminders) Yes, absolutely. Scared me into the gym (where I needed to be) 😉 I thought the information provided was really good. Training plan was comprehensive and useful.

Strengths: excellent guides and support systems. Baker school component offered a chance for those of us who live at sea level a chance to get acclimated before doing Rainier. I think this was key to our success. Appreciate the guides pushing us early on and focusing on the basics of footwork and awareness so that became second nature.
Improvement areas: none really.

2017 Climber

I enjoyed it a lot!! I think the course has a very good level and combination of teaching and practicing. In my case I had some experience but lacked on formal education so the course set me to the proper handling of gear, terrain evaluation, ways to proceed and safe climbing practices. I read as well the course material/books so it was a good way to put everything together and practice in the field. I personally have a lot of trust in american mountain guides, I have spent most of my time in the American mountains with guides and I like to learn from them. I believe is the way to go when it comes to safety in the mountains.

I think all guides have shown to be very professional, safe and trustworthy in the way they conducted the team in the mountains. They proved to have reliable assessment of the terrain and the mountains, its dangers and how we should carry ourselves in dangerous mountain terrain. Definitely they demonstrated very good leadership, social skill and mostly fun guys! All guides where very articulate and able to convey verbally their technical skills to us. Additionally the theory was turned into practice each and every time with drills and practice. They are all very easy to get along with; they are all fun and I personally connected with all of them very well to have a trustful and respectful relationship and also being able to make jokes and share great sense of humor.

What to say? The wilderness experience is always beautiful, especially in the Cascades. Campsites where spectacular. I liked the teaching about the “Leave no trace principles” to protect those places from human impact. Building conscience about it I think is of paramount importance when we go out to the wilderness.

The biggest strength of the program is the combination of teaching in a lower a smaller mountain like Mt. Baker and after 6 days transferring that theory/practice to a climb like the Kautz. Is a very comprehensive program that although short, provides a good skillset as it is taught progressively from having a good footwork ahead into more vertical snow/ice. I liked some tricks the guides taught me. I think this is a very solid course when you have some previous climbing/mountaineering experience or have been in the mountains and you want to become more proficient. Is an introduction as a “mini-expedition” to get people ready to spend some extended periods in the mountains. I think is very important and can bring more value to the course if like you do with the training you ask people to put some time reading the reading list you propose. That theory along with the practice and teaching you get in the course translate into really solid knowledge.

2017 Climber

I thought this course was Outstanding. I had a great time, was constantly challenged, and learned a number of skills that I will use in the future. Our guides all had fantastic leadership skills. The experience and competence Mike has was on display at all times. Connor had a constant calm and steady demeanor that was very reassuring. And Don provided an interesting and
quirky dynamic that never failed to hold my attention. I felt that all three are world class and I would love to work with them again. I was surprised to find how easy they all were to get along with. They worked great as a team, and each one was easy to approach, interesting, and personable one on one. The group of climbers I was with on this trip were fantastic. If that was a function of the training statements and reminders then I wholeheartedly endorse them. I had a stellar experience. The program’s strengths are the guides. My experience was strongly positive and I plan on recommending and using Alpine Ascents again.

May 2017 Climber

Yes. It was exactly what I was looking for. We got to learn and practice everything I had hoped we would. I do feel ready to use the skills I learned on future climbs. The guides made the trip! Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I have recommended your outfit to others. I also may climb with y’all on Aconcagua and Denali in the future. Thank you!

June 2017 Climber

This course is going to be something I remember for the rest of my life. The quality was superb – I felt like nothing was glossed over, we were fully prepared for our summits of Baker and Rainier, and we had a lot of fun doing it all. I most certainly feel prepared for another adventure and I can’t wait! Everyone involved was supportive and knowledgeable. Course materials were super helpful especially with food planning. All emails were promptly replied to. I truly thought the course was practically perfect. I loved how it was split into two parts – learning on Baker and then applying on Rainier.

I enjoyed it and the guides where great.  It is a lot to learn in a short period of time, but being able to apply it to the Rainier climb right away was awesome!

2016 climber

Overall I had one of the best experiences in my life during this trip. The program was great – from the first 6 days on Mt. Baker to summiting Rainier via Kautz and getting back home safe. The guides carefully selected our camping and training spots so that we were all by ourselves on the mountain without other groups and being distracted. Then as we continued with Kautz route on Rainier, all that hard work of the previous 6 days was paying off –  the climb certainly was challenging but it was fun too – our guides have great personalities and the jokes were a great part of what made this strip so fun and time to fly by!  And having such experienced guides with us made me feel confident and safe (well apart from the unexpected objective hazards which our guides were constantly reminding us of ;-). Given that this was my very first experience of mountaineering I cannot really think of any weaknesses… I really enjoyed the program, guides and team members and want to believe that I took a lot from this course

Marina B.

The course exceeded all expectations! As far as enjoyable, yes very much so, met a lot of fun and interesting people, and took away a lot of basic skills that I feel will be extremely helpful for future climbs! The guides were exceptional and went above and beyond in all aspects of the course. As far as leadership, our guide was the man with the plan, a class act. These guys didn’t mess around and are at the top of their game!!! I couldn’t imagine having a better set of guides. I would go up the mountain anytime in the future with either of them.

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