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Featured Guide: Mark Miller

Ice Climbing Skylight Area – Ouray Colorado
December 18, 2013
Guide Tip: V-Threads
December 19, 2013

Senior SJMG Guide Mark Miller

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Mark is one of the original SJMG guides working in Ouray. He has been teaching ice climbing longer than any other active guide in Ouray. Well known for his calm and no nonsense approach to ice instruction, Mark is one of our most requested guides. A true water ice master, Mark makes climbing steep and delicate ice look easy. Mark is also an Instructor with Rigging for Rescue, Ouray county EMT, and a member of the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team. Mark is a superb person to work on your balance, technique, and confidence.

Mark Miller at the belay on The Ribbon earlier this season.

Mark Miller at the belay on The Ribbon earlier this season.

1.  Where did you grow up? 

2.  What is your personal alpine/rock/ice/ski experience? 
Alpine – trips to Himalaya, Pamirs, Ecuador, Cascades, Canadian and U.S.  Rockies and Alaska

Rock- Many areas in Western U.S. and Canada

Ice-Western U.S., Canada, and Norway

Ski- I ice climb to much to get very good

3.  What is your training background?
In High School I was a math and physics geek, so when I graduated I went in to the Navy where I was trained as a mechanical operator of Nuclear power plants. I am also an AMGA Certified Rock Guide.

4.  What are your favorite places to guide?
For teaching, nothing beats the Ouray Ice Park. Other than that, big ice routes in the San Juans.

5.  What is your favorite part about this job? 
Light bulb moments. That time when you’re teaching someone and you see the light in their eyes as the idea clicks.

6.  What makes you a good guide? 
I really like teaching.

7.  What is your most memorable guiding experience? 
I’m not sure it’s technically guiding because I did it as a volunteer, but I was asked to help teach a young woman who had her right leg       amputated at the hip a few years previously to climb ice. It took a total change in my thinking and watching someone do something they no longer believed they could do was beautiful.

8.  Best/coolest climb you have ever done?  Anywhere.
Red Man Soars. I was very new to mixed climbing and as I got on it the ice was to thin to hit with my tools so I had to grab the little icicles with my hands and the rock holds were so thin I couldn’t hold them with gloves, so I had to hook them with my tools. It just felt so backwards it really made me think.

9.  What’s on your iPod right now?
The same thing as when my wife got it for me a couple years ago

10.  3 most Crucial Elements of a guide-client relationship? 
Trust, Respect, Friendship