9 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course Testimonials

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

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.

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

I think the greatest strength of the company was reflected in this course and in every trip I’ve done with Alpine Ascents; and that is the guides.  My guides were 100% fantastic.  They were truly impressive in regards to both their skills and knowledge as well as their interpersonal skills.  The main reason I continue to take trips with Alpine Ascents is that you have the best guides in the business. As far as I’ve seen in my experiences no one does it better than Alpine Ascents International. From education to organization from safety to the skill level of the guides Alpine Ascents is head and shoulders above the rest.

Tim A.

As for the class itself, its contents and the methods, manners, and demeanor of the three of you I could say nothing more than a perfect 10+ on all fronts.  It was a fantastic experience and surpassed all expectation I had developed during my preparation.  I understand the course to be an introduction to the sport and an exposure to the skills needed to minimize risk and enjoy the settings to the fullest.  My intentions are to continue climbing for many years to come and I will absolutely consider Alpine Ascents my first choice for guiding on any of them as well as possibly attending some of the more advanced climbing courses offered.  I hope to cross paths with all of you in the future and until then wish you the best of luck.  Thanks again.

Alpine Ascents is an extraordinary expedition and training program. Our guides,  shared a strong ability to transfer their knowledge of mountaineering to members of the expedition. I have worked with a number of instructors and trainers during my time in the Navy and our guide was one of the best hands-on teachers I have ever worked with.

Yes, I enjoyed the course and it exceeded my expectations in every way. After completing it, I feel 100% confident on using the skills I learned and would be ready to use them on future climbs. I couldn’t have asked for better guides, and their teaching style worked well with my learning style! Even aside from activities like knot tying class and such, they were constantly passing on helpful bits of information throughout the course. Yes, all of them were incredibly easy to get along with. In addition, they were also helpful in giving me ideas on what I should advance to next for climbing and I’m already planning on booking more trips for next year with Alpine Ascents just because of these guys! Everything was better than expected. Stuart knew the areas well and picked excellent campsites. I could not think of any weaknesses in the course. It covered all of the objectives advertised, and more.

It’s a fantastic program above my expectation. I came from China to US for this course and it’s worthwhile to do so. I would recommend this course to other climbers who want to build their climbing skill and learn from highly qualified guides. Before the program, relevant and adequate information is shared. The team roster helped team member get contact with each other and build relationship earlier. Our team had a joint dinner 1 day before the course which is a great arrangement. During the program, safety is the first priority, we never had concern about this as our guides even care more about this. The training is organized in a structured manner. Climbing skill, LNT and etc. are clearly introduced with good and enough demonstration. We had opportunity to practice at the 1st time and got comment from guide. After the program, the climbing evaluation helps me understand my strength, weakness and specific improvement area for next climbing target. I admire Michael not only because of his climbing achievement but also his great capability to translate the skill to beginner in a practical way. He made his point very clear with high quality demonstration. Something looks complicated as described in pre-material becomes easy such as knots.

The course far exceeded my expectations in terms of quality, coordination, and sheer enjoyment. I certainly will use the skills on future climbs, and expect that those will be through AAI too. It was truly humbling to have such experienced and renowned guides on our trip. That was hands down the best part of the trip and made the experience world-class. There’s very little you could do to improve the experience. It’s 100% clear that this is one of the best organizations in the world at what you do and who you get for your guide staff. I will be using and recommending Alpine Ascents International as long as I’m a climber.


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