I LOVED this course. I had almost no experience with winter mountaineering prior to this class, and now I feel proficient enough to try some more challenging mountains. I thought the course was very well considered – lots of information but it was all relevant, interesting and useful. Devin gave clear instructions and was patient with the entire team as we learned. He was able to take a step back and let us learn through experience but also was not shy about stepping in to help when needed. He made the course fun, but also kept us on our toes with a healthy dose of reality every now and then to emphasize the importance of being prepared in the mountains. I was never afraid to ask questions when I didn’t understand. Devin also set a high standard and high expectation of teamwork that set the tone for an awesome week with a group of people who really did have fun working as a team! Stephen was great about stepping in to explain things in more detail. He was very patient, especially with me as I struggled on the last push to camp Muir. He was always positive and encouraging, offering useful instruction on specific ways I could be improving. Together Stephen and Devin made a great team, leading by example they encouraged the whole group to cooperate together – and have fun together, of course! It was obvious that both Devin and Stephen had lots of experience and were very qualified to teach the course. I was glad that both had been to Denali before and were able to answer any and all burning questions we had about Denali in particular. I could tell that both Devin and Stephen enjoyed teaching, they were willing to answer questions and explained things well.
LOVE the website redesign! It’s so much easier to navigate than it used to be. I am very impressed with how responsive the entire Alpine Ascents staff has been – I’ve spoken with Gordon, Matt Miller and Chris Thalman via email with questions and all were very responsive and helpful. Being able to talk to the gear department is a major selling point too, I know I’ll get good advice when I call ya’ll! Overall this was a rewarding course to participate in – it was worth every penny! There was so much information packed into one week, if anything it would be beneficial to be a day or two longer.
I think the strengths of the course were that it was a part of Alpine Ascents, which is clearly an expert in the mountaineering field so it felt like a trustworthy source; the guides were experienced and knowledgeable and enjoyed teaching; crevasse rescue day – it was the chance to put together everything we’d learned and though intimidating and challenging, was very rewarding.