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Trip Video: Vestal Peak via Wham Ridge


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Vestal Peak, elevation 13,870 ft (4,230 m), is a summit in the Needle Mountains of southwest Colorado. The peak is southeast of Silverton in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Described by many as one of the most aesthetic peaks in the San Juans, our client David Yurko was able to capture this incredible Alpine adventure summit of Vestal Peak on his 3 day trip with San Juan Mountain Guide Dan Zokaites. For more information over our Vestal Peak trips.

 

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Trip Video: Vestal Peak via Wham Ridge

Meet our Guide: Dawn Glanc

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Dawn Glanc, pronounced, “Glance”, was born and raised in Brunswick, Ohio. In 1996, at the age of 21, she moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is where she learned to rock and ice climb. After 8 years in the hills, Dawn wanted to explore bigger mountains and more complex terrain. In 2004, Dawn moved to Bellingham, Washington, to begin a career as a Mountain Guide. She now works year round as a certified rock climbing and alpine climbing guide. Dawn is certified by the American Mountain Guide Association. She has guided clients of all ages, and clients with varying levels of abilities. Dawn is now based in Ouray, Colorado.

How long have you been a guide?

I started guiding right after college. I started as a part time guide in 1998 as a belayer for basic courses. In 2004 I moved to Bellingham, WA and started guiding full time. I have been with SJMG since December 2005.

Why did you want to be a guide?

I first became a guide because I loved climbing and I wanted to be paid to do it. As the years have gone on, I stay with this career because I still have a lot of passion for climbing and I find it very rewarding to share this passion with others.

What is the most rewarding experience of being a guide?

The most rewarding thing about guiding is when a client is truly ignited by the climbing experience. It is so exciting to see the initial spark that triggers the giant smile and the new found love of climbing that will forever capture them.

What’s the best part of guiding in the San Juan Mountains?

I love the San Juan Mountains. They are so beautiful and wild. This is my back yard and I like to share that with others. Plus I sleep in my bed at night. That is a coveted thing as a guide.

What is one lesson or perspective a client has taught you after a course /trip?

I am constantly reminded that I have to face my fears. I watch clients every day overcome a mental obstacle and it pushes me to do the same. It is so inspiring to watch a client step up and face their challenge.

What’s your go-to “On the Trail” snack or meal?

Snicker bars are my number one choice for a snack when I am in the field.

If you had a spirit animal what would it be and why?

I am drawn to the raven. They are big, strong, beautiful and very intelligent. They are social yet very independent. They also adapt to all environments.

What’s the one thing people usually don’t know about Mtn. Guides?

This is an unofficial statement, but most of the guides I have ever met have gross feet. They either stink, are full of some nail funk or they are deformed from being stuffed in old boots and shoes. Guides are not typically barefoot models.5s-iceland-feb-22-2013-375

What’s the one thing you want to do when you get back from an extended trip?

I want to take a long hot shower and eat a good meal at a table.

Describe a personal EPIC you have had and how it worked out?

In 2012, the Thursday before the Ouray ice fest, I was climbing a bolted mixed route in the park. As I climbed onto the 20 foot free hanging dagger, the ice cracked and I rode the dagger as it fell. Eventually, the last bolt I had clipped and the rope pulled me off the dagger and into the rock. The force of my fall pulled my belayer off the ground. Even though we were both completely freaked out, my belayer and I walked away from the scene unharmed. Neither one of us had a scratch. To say we were lucky is an under statement.

What’s one lesson or phrase that the mountains have taught you?

The mountains and climbing have taught me so many lessons it is hard to pick just one to discuss. I know that I would not be the person I am today if I had not had these outdoor experiences. I continue to learn about myself and my environment every time I go out.

Red Bull Vodka - Fred Marmsater

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Meet our Guide: Dawn Glanc

Meet Our Guide: Ryan Riggins

 

1525144_10151895022828099_1314954672_nRyan Riggins is a Durango transplant, originally from Orinda, California. He came to Colorado chasing the “white surf” as he went from a the never-ending Cali summers to the never-ending winters of the San Juans. A Fort Lewis graduate in Marketing, Ryan has been guiding since his Sophomore year in College. Ryan received his SPI instructor certificate with San Juan Mountain Guides and has been with the company since then. This year serves as his first year officially leading trips and we are thrilled to have this “young-gun” on our team!



 

What is the most rewarding experience of being a guide?

The most rewarding part of being a guide is being the individual that helps people realize a goal or dream using the skills that many of us have spent years developing and giving those skills and additional purpose and meaning.

What’s the best part of guiding in the San Juan Mountains?

The best part of guiding in the San Juans would have to be the accessibility to the backcountry and some of the most aesthetic technical peaks in Colorado. The San Juans offer world class terrain for any sport or season , in addition half the crowds you find in the front range or elsewhere in the United States.

What’s your go-to “On the Trail” snack or meal?

I love garlic beef summer sausage, cheese and crackers. Lots of calories and fat to keep you going in addition it won’t go bad over a couple of days.

What’s the one thing people usually don’t know about Mtn. Guides?

Most mountain guides are in the process of getting a college education (me) or have received a degree. We are very educated contributors to society who just love to spend more time in the woods than the average person.

What’s the one thing you want to do when you get back from an extended trip?

Crack a cold beer and enjoy the company of good friends.

Describe a personal EPIC you had prior to guiding with SJMGs. How did it all work out?523980_10151722277578099_233782806_n

I was climbing in Red Rocks and if you have climbed there before you will know that many will say that the climbing is never the toughest part. In fact descending is where most people run into trouble. My friend Tayrn Pierce and I were no exception to this known trend.

We thought it would be fun to climb Solar Slabs a 5.6 1,200 ft route and make quick work of it. We climbed the route with ease and topped out around 5pm a little later than we wanted although everything was still going just fine. This all came to a screeching halt when unknown to Tayrn and I, we began to descend down the wrong gulley.

The sun was going down and I wanted to at least get down a couple hundred feet before it got totally dark. This did not happen, first the rope got stuck and I had to ascend back up the rope using prusiks and by that point we had been benighted. Luckily we had headlamps and continued down 1,600 feet of dense shrubbery and attempted to route find in the dark knowing the only way to go was down, someway somehow.

We would follow carins through the darkness that ultimately led to massive cliffs with no obvious way of descending . The walls were so tall that we couldn’t even see the ground or develop an image of where we were to orient ourselves and possibly make the descent that much easier. Eventually after countless rappels into the dark abyss we safely made it to the ground 14 ½ hrs later. Luckily the other members of the group had held off on alerting the local authorities and a couple people came looking to see if they could find us or possibly just looking for Tayrn considering she is a very pretty, nice and athletic girl.

So many ask what could you learn from this EPIC, well my take away is to always climb with a pretty girl because if you do go missing someone will always come looking for her and you can just be there to benefit from it.

What’s one thing that the mountains have taught you?

The mountains have a way of teaching you that a plan is never a hundred percent full proof and that to be successful in the mountains you must be adaptable to the situations as they occur in real time.

Check out our upcoming trips as we enjoy the remainder of the summer and head into Fall: http://mtnguide.net/

 

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Meet Our Guide: Ryan Riggins

Alpamayo Expedition July 23

Andrés and Christel had a wonderful expedition to Alpamayo. They have been enjoying the descent and being in the mountains. This morning they were in Cachapampa and will be going to Huaraz today. We look forward to hearing their stories and seeing photos. Congratulations on a great trip!

Andrés, Christel and Annie top of Bridalveil Falls, Feb 2014.

Andrés, Christel and Annie top of Bridalveil Falls, Feb 2014.

 

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Alpamayo Expedition July 23

Alpamayo Summit July 19

Congratulations Andrés and Christel! ¡Felicidades!

The team started climbing from High Camp around midnight last night and were the first on route. After climbing through the night they were rewarded with a beautiful summit. Andrés checked in this morning from High Camp. They had an awesome climb and are now resting.

The French Direct on Alpamayo

The French Direct on Alpamayo

expedition

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Alpamayo Summit July 19

Alpamayo Expedition July 18

Andrés and Christel are doing well at High Camp (5,490m/18,011 ft.). They are feeling strong and tonight will go for the summit of Alpamayo (5,947m/19,512ft). 

The French Direct Route leads out from the glacier, over a significant bergshrund, and onto the steep, beautiful SW face of Alpamayo. The team will endeavor the climbing of  50-70 degree ice for many continuous pitches, to top out on the glorious summit pyramid.

Alpamayo in Quechuan signifies: Alpa – Earth, Mayu – River. May the continual energy of the Earth River flow though them as they climb tonight!  ¡Buena Onda Andrés y Christel!

 

Alpamayo French Direct Route

Alpamayo French Direct Route

 

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Alpamayo Expedition July 18

Alpamayo Expedition July 17

Andrés phoned in this afternoon. Christel and him are doing terrific, both are feeling great. Christel is super strong and positive, so together they are an outstanding team. They are at Moraine Camp (4,900m/16,075ft) tonight and hope to advance to high camp tomorrow (5,490m/18,011 ft.). We are cheering them on from the San Juans, wishing them a safe and fun journey as they go higher.

Alpamayo

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Alpamayo Expedition July 17

Alpamayo Expedition July 16

Andrés and Christel are doing excellent en route to Alpamayo. They are at Base Camp (4,300m/14,100ft) feeling great. Today they did a carry to Moraine Camp (4,900m/16,075ft) and will stay tonight at Base Camp. Sending them BUENA ONDA, positive vibes from the San Juans!

Alpamayo Camp

Alpamayo Camp

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Alpamayo Expedition July 16

Mt. Sneffels with Bill Grasse

San Juan Mountain Guide Bill Grasse captures the experience of summiting Mt. Sneffels with his client. Mt. Sneffels is located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in the SouthWest of Colorado. It is a prestine 14,000+ peak and considered a classic in Colorado. If you are interested Mt. Sneffels or Mountaineering in the San Juans’- reach out to our expert staff who can answer all of your questions and book your trip. or mtnguide.net

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Mt. Sneffels with Bill Grasse

Alpamayo Expedition July 15

San Juan Mountain Guide’s second Alpamayo Expedition of the season is underway. Senior Guide, Andrés Marin is accompanied by the wonderful Christel Hennet. They arrived to Huaraz over the weekend with time to watch Christel’s team win the World Cup, Congrats!

Yesterday they met the burros and hiked from Cachapampa to the first camp. Andrés checked in and all is well.

Today they are heading to base camp. Wishing them a fun journey in the cordillera!

Andrés y Christel enjoying sunny Huaraz

Andrés y Christel enjoying sunny Huaraz

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Alpamayo Expedition July 15

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