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Testimonial for Denali

This expedition was extremely challenging, and it really put my physical and mental fitness to the test. At the same time, it was if not the most rewarding and memorable expedition I’ve been on so far. I enjoyed every single moment on the trip – the amount of planning, investment, and care was clearly evident in all aspects.

While the equipment and other necessities such as food were extremely important vehicles for success/ the overall experience on this expedition and definitely contributed to the overall quality, what really made this trip shine were the guides. I really think that you could have stuck me in a plastic tarp with a bag of stale animal crackers and I would still have rated this a high quality expedition with the same guides.

Off the bat, I want to say that all the guides demonstrated exceptional leadership and decision making skills, especially given the set of circumstances that happened with this particular group. They made it very clear that while their desires to get us to the summit were high, the safety of the climbers trumped everything else.

Prior to this trip, I have gone on climbs with different companies and I have to say that David, Pasang, and Aili were the hands down the best guides. They were all very personable and approachable, so I always felt comfortable asking them about anything, not matter how silly the question was. While having the opportunity to climb Denali itself was the crowning highlight of this trip, some of the most enjoyable times were just hanging out in the cook tent with the guides and having great conversation.

In regards to David, what can I say? I’ve had the privilege of having him as a guide on the Denali prep course earlier this year and he was the main reason why I decided to climb Denali with AAI. I call him my mountaineering sensei – not only is he extremely generous with sharing his knowledge and experience, he also teaches by example and was more than willing to show how things were done in action. If AAI started to offer trips down to the seventh circle of hell, I’d sign up if he was the lead guide on it.

A major strength of the program is definitely the personnel involved in it – the guides, office administration, and the supporting staff. The itinerary was also a strong point, it was well planned out and allowed for ample time to climb at a comfortable pace.

Personally it’s a little tricky to provide concise feedback on this particular trip, given that Denali is a little unique in comparison to other climbs that I’ve done. This sounds like a cop out, but I can’t think of any glaring weakness of the trip, other than elements outside of human control.

2017 Climber

Testimonial for Mount Rainier 3 Day Muir Climb

ABSOLUTELY! The entire trip was well planned and perfectly executed by the guides, despite rapidly changing route changes. Each guide taught part of the snow school day and did a good job teaching through lecture and then reinforcing with hands-on drills. Big time! I thoroughly enjoyed each guide. They were interesting to talk to, took an interest in me and were entertaining – all while getting us up/down the mountain safely. Impressive! Everyone at the office was great to interact with. I called in advance with questions that were answered in detail each time. I appreciated the emails sent in advance with various reminders and tips before the climb. The accommodations were fantastic considering how remote the camps are. What a treat to have tents already put up for you at high camp. The only suggestion I have is to oil the squeaky door at the hut at Muir so it wakes fewer climbers up in the middle of the night.

You guys did an amazing job. This was our second climb with you and we loved every minute of it. I am so impressed by the caliber of the guides. They are so highly experienced and personable, all while taking care of us every step of the way to ensure we are safe and having a good time. What a rare breed those guides are. I have the utmost respect for them and the entire Alpine team. I’ll definitely be back for more climbing with your organization.

2017 Climber

Testimonial for 9 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course

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.

2017 Climber

Testimonial for 9 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course

The 9 day North Cascades/Rainier climb was fantastic. The skills learned were invaluable and I feel much more equipped to go glacier climbing. The 2 instructors, Devin and Brian, were both TOP notch, extremely knowledgeable and fun to be with. Yes, during the 6 day North Cascade portion, both Devin and Brian were phenomenal leaders. Their years of experience was plain to see. Both guides were well skilled as being patient teachers. You could tell that both of them genuinely wanted all of us to learn the skills they were teaching. They were patient in answering questions and did a great job in thoroughly explaining everything. Yes, both guides were very personable. Devin and Brian have very different personalities, but complemented each other well. Devin can seem a little intense at first, but it is clear to see that he loves teaching others about mountaineering and does a fantastic job at it. Likewise, Brian is a gifted teacher and is able to present material in an easy to understand way.

Strength was that the instructors were top notch and were able to present the material in an easy to understand way. Combining the 6 day North Cascades course with a 3 day Rainier climb is a great idea and I loved every day of it.

Testimonial for Mount Shuksan Sulphide Glacier

Our Mt. Shuksan climb was fantastic. The views were incredible, the weather was perfect, and our guides were professional, personable, and highly skilled. Yes! I was particularly impressed by our lead guide, Seth, and my guide for summit day, Connor. Seth did a fantastic job managing the whole climb, including the needs and moods of each climber and guide on the team. Most impressively he made this attentive customer service seems natural and effortless.

Connor, my guide for summit day, did a similarly outstanding job. He quickly developed a bond with us and matched speed/difficulty to our experience levels. I was impressed by his work.

Our guides did a great job passing on their knowledge. During snow school on day 2 I learned several new cramponing techniques and approaches to self arrest, which had never been covered with me before despite numerous guided climbs in the alps.

Similarly Connor knew I was interested in independent rock climbing (and had recently bought a rack) so he went out of his way to point out how he approached protecting our whole summit ridge climb (alpine anchors, counterbalanced weight, etc.)

The group food definitely exceeded my expectations. Dinner was definitely a highlight of each day 🙂

The strength of the program is clearly the very strong guides, and the beautiful north cascades mountains!

2017 Climber

Testimonial for 9 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course

Course was faultless, very well structured, lots of fun, lots of hard work but never too much. Yes I feel ready to use the skills I learned and ready to practice confidently without an instructor.

Amazing couple of instructors. I worked as a guide, instructor and cruise director and know a good, enthusiastic, professional instructor when I see one. These guys couldn’t have been any better, what an asset to AAI. The way they worked together kept us all interested, excited and hungry for more knowledge!

2017 Climber

Testimonial for Mongolia Trek & Climb

Yes – enjoyed that it was more than just a mountain climb. Enjoyed the cultural aspects as well as the hiking/climbing. Yes. I’ve climbed with many guides through the years and appreciated Ben’s low key yet competent demeanor and his sense of humor. Appreciated his pace and his desire to make sure everyone was able to summit.

2017 Climber

Testimonial for Mount Everest

When I compare this against most other teams I knew, this is amazing and reflects the attitude with which your guides lead. Thanks again for a once in a lifetime trip and look forward to the next adventure together (not sure what that is yet).

2017 Climber

Testimonial for Volcanoes of Ecuador

You know you are climbing with the right guide when other guides refer to your guide as “Sensei”. Sensei is referred to teachers or beings that have achieved a certain level of mastery in a skill or art. Being a mountain guide is a job, being a good guide is an art. Not only did Jose Luis become my true friend but he is a multifaceted person that is a pleasure to be around. Intelligent in the most subtle and elegant ways, not a in your face kind of snob.

Doing a private creates a tempo and rhythm that is only defined by one person, the client. This allowed Jose Luis to be very thorough of the lessons and knowledge present. Not only was everything related to the alpine but he is a world of knowledge related to the person, the country, the soul, and the body. Not everyone can hang out for 10 days with the person and be completely able to continue the journey.

Gordon is a true professional and fantastic to correspond with. It feels amazing to be able to ask many questions to the experts without feeling annoying. Volcanoes of Ecuador is luxury climbing. The ease of approaches gave me a new perspective on climbing.

I would not change a thing about this trip. Had the adventure of a lifetime.

2017 Climber

Testimonial for The Eiger

It was a great expedition. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t allow us to try the Eiger. But The pre-Eiger climbs were excellent. They (Our Guides) did a great job in finding ways to have fun even without the Eiger. They were really patient and helpful.

2017 Climber

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