I enjoyed the course, which exceeded my expectations in all respects. The Mt. Baker phase of the course was well structured, and the guides tailored their instruction to the aptitude and enthusiasm of our group. I felt that my team was sufficiently competent and prepared to use newly-acquired skills during summit day on Mt. Baker and, later, on Mt. Rainier. Indeed, I’ve signed up for another glaciated climb with AAI, so I do feel ready to use these skills. All guides were clear, patient, and detail-oriented. They all were consistent in their methodologies. And they all took care to teach to standard and to the needs of the group.
Devin Bishop: An eminently qualified and professional lead guide, Devin demonstrated effective leadership skills that gave (and to my knowledge, the others in my group) absolute confidence in his ability to guide safely. His teaching style could be described as direct, but this approach is critical when teaching and guiding in hazardous areas and conditions. Devin took the time to review and retrain on critical tasks, and always took the time to address any question or concern. He pushed us to push ourselves (well within limits) on Rainier, and that level of intensity is what made that climb one of the best experiences of my life. In short, Devin is a superb guide and a reason why I’ll return to AAI for future climbs.
Brian Houle: Again, Brian demonstrated leadership skills and competence that gave me absolute confidence in his abilities. His teaching style was more laidback than Devin’s, but their differences in teaching styles was a net positive for us and a reason why I enjoyed the 6-day Mt. Baker phase so much. I wish he’d been on the Rainier phase of the course, but I would join a climb led by Brian anytime and anywhere; he was just that good.
John Stollis: A very patient and competent assistant guide on Rainier, John went out of his way to address our questions or concerns, keep us comfortable, and when necessary, corrected mistakes or critiqued our technique. He was awesome.
Robin Pendery: Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious and boundless. She exudes confidence and competence. Like John, she went out of her way to address questions and concerns, keep us comfortable, and provide instruction. She was awesome.
Craig van Hoy: Despite reaching the Rainier summit for his 442nd time, to our group Craig made it feel like a first ascent. He was positive, reassuring, and exceedingly patient. His experience and composure set me at ease and gave me confidence in the climb. Also, I appreciated hearing about his experience, climbing generally, and Rainier in particular, after we returned to high camp. He was awesome.
The program was well structured and appropriate in length. The quality of the instruction was excellent. Everything moved smoothly, efficiently, and flexibly. I can’t conceive of a single improvement to be made to the course. I’d highly recommend the course to anyone.