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Featured Guide: Dave Ahrens

No Belay Device? Use the Munter Hitch!
June 5, 2014
Sendero Iluminoso Ouray Rock
June 18, 2014

Dave Ahrens

AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide

Dave Ahrens

Superior Guest Review of Dave: “Phenomenal, the trip was catered to our ability level, designed to challenge but stay within our group capabilities. Skills were covered while our own personal goals and powder skiing ambitions were met. Our guide Dave was professional and highly enjoyable to be with. We were encouraged to take leadership and develop skills with an appropriate amount of support from the guide, thus building our skills for future ventures. Location and objective selection were exceptional. Our interactions exceeded all expectations of safety, professionalism, friendliness, patience, knowledge, and teaching ability. Thanks for the awesome time Dave!”

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the Front Range of the Rockies just south of Denver in a place called Franktown. We had about 6 acres of forest and it was a great spot to be a kid, build forts ride dirt bikes and chase snakes. Next to Franktown is Castlewood Canyon State Park which is where I began rock climbing and bouldering.

2. What is your personal alpine/rock/ice/ski experience?

I began scrambling at age 4 around Rocky Mountain National Park with my Grandfather before I could even walk to the top of the peaks, he would carry me when I got tired. They had a cabin in Estes Park which was a wonderful place to visit as a kid.

At the age of 15 I took a 14 day Outward Bound course here in the San Juans, 17 years later it is still one of my favorite ranges. I began ice climbing around the Front Range when things came in reliably and was taken under the wing of some local crusty climbers who also got me on my first traditional rock lead in Eldo, “Whales Tail” at the age of 16.

Growing up skiing and snowboarding made Western State College an attractive spot to attend a higher education and I cut my teeth on the steep terrain of my favorite ski hill, Crested Butte. WSC also had great climbing including the Black Canyon just down stream as well as the gem that is Taylor Canyon to the north. College really laid the frame work for becoming a guide and introduced me to many influential people in my life who I still get out with today.

3.What is your training background?

My training as a guide has come through numerous courses through the American Mountain Guide Association. At this point I am a certified Rock and Alpine guide and I am continuing to work on the ski certification which when finished will culminate in me being a fully certified IFMGA guide, a goal that has been looming in the distance for almost 8 years.

Dave Ahrens

4. What are your favorite places to Guide?

My favorite spots include the North Cascades, Alaska and of course the San Juans. I think skiing and climbing ice in the San Juans is by far my favorite spot. Not to mention that off days can be spent climbing splitters in the desert.

5. What is your favorite part of this job?

My favorite part of this job is introducing people to wild places and helping them reach there goals and learn new skills to take them further. Sharing experiences in the mountains is a special bond and it is great to help people experience that.

6. What makes you a good guide?

I would say patience and a humble approach. I try to always maintain a calm and positive attitude and find a common thread with people to see where they are coming from and what there goals are. Most importantly I make people remember that being in the mountains is supposed to be fun!

7. What is your most memorable guiding experience?

I would have to say that guiding the SW Ridge of Peak 11,300 in the Alaska Range 4 years ago is my most memorable guiding experience. It was a super friendly and strong client, our weather window was good enough and I got to on sight guide a classic route with a variety of interesting climbing with a fun and positive client. With 2 planned bivis it was a great Alaskan experience.

8. Best Coolest climb/ski you have ever done?

Boy that’s a tough one and the list is long… These are personal things that often involve more then just the climbing but also the partners. I would say it’s a tie between a first ascent on Citadel Spire with a 3rd ascent of Gurnny Peak both in the Kichatna Range of Alaska and a recent ascent of the Salathe on El Cap both done with great friends. Oh not to mention skiing numerous aesthetic couloirs around the San Juans…

9.Whats on your Ipod right now?

Anything from Willi Nelson to Wu Tang… I celebrate all music depending on the mood.

10. 3 most crucial elements of a guide client relationship?

Number one is trust, and this needs to go both ways and comes from time spent together. Second would be communication, this also go’s both ways and is of vital importance from the first contact. Lastly is to have fun, this is often forgotten in an age where the bar keeps being pushed further and further I think its important to stay humble and go have some fun in the hills!