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The snow is melting in the mountains allowing hikers and climbers to start nudging into the high country. Our summer guide training wrapped up last week which, for us at least, is always the “official” start of the summer season.

Guide training always begins with a review of our risk management plan and any new additions to our safety procedures. Risk management is a constantly evolving process that continues to improve each season. Of course the fun part of training is getting into the field, and each season we have a different focus to the hands-on component. This season we had a number of small training modules covering rescue sled use and lowering, managing emergencies in a remote wilderness setting, assisting a stuck climber, and improving the efficiency of climbing transitions. As an AMGA guide course instructor, SMG co-owner Erik Leidecker is able to bring back new and improved techniques to share with our staff. All of this adds up to more effective guides and a better client experience. Which of course is a great thing!

We’re excited about a few new programs for this upcoming summer…check them out:

  • We’ll be continuing our popular Peak a Week program with an extended line up of Saturday peak hikes and scrambles. For a discounted rate, you can join a group of adventurous hikers to tackle on of our area’s countless summits.
  • Want to tackle Idaho’s most iconic rock climb? Our new 2-day Perch Climb will help you improve your skills on a warm up day before taking on the Elephants Perch’s Mountaineers Route. Spend a night in our cush Canyon Camp the night before the climb.
  • Our new Backpacking 101 Course is designed to help the beginning backpacker break into the world of backcountry travel by providing the mentorship of an experienced guide and all the gear, food and instruction you need to become a confident backcountry enthusiast.

Conditions Update:

While there is still snow in the higher reaches of the mountains, it’s melted enough to allow hikers and climbers to reach some of the common destinations. We reached Sawtooth Lake today with only minor snow walking, in fact the trail was snow free as far as Alpine Lake. Comparing the photo from today (see below) with one from last year, we’re about a month ahead of last summer (which was later than normal).

Hope you’re as excited about the summer as we are! Take a look at some photos from guide training, early summer in the Sawtooths, and more: