In the mountains, the distinction between spring and summer is a blurry line. It can feel summer-like down low while the high country remains locked up by snow. This year the transition seemed more abrupt. Last weekend a heatwave melted significant amounts of high elevation snow, raising the river levels and sending maladjusted mountain dwellers scurrying for shade.
We found ourselves in the City of Rocks for our annual summer guide training. While the heat was on, we managed to keep our cool by staying on shady climbs and starting early. After our review of risk management procedural updates, we turned our focus to rock-specific skills: multi-pitch guiding efficiency, smooth transitions between 3rd/4th and 5th class terrain, rock rescue, and emergency scenarios in a vertical environment. Guide training provides guide of all experience levels an opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and share tips and tricks picked up during various American Mountain Guide Association training programs.
Returning back to the Sawtooths, we discovered the heat wave melted lots of snow in the peaks. While snow is likely to be encountered on any excursion to upper elevations, some of the popular hikes are beginning to open up and we’ve already run a few climbing trips to the Super Slabs.
Regardless of the weather or snow cover, guide training is always the official start of summer for those of us at SMG. We’re looking forward to a fantastic summer of climbing, hiking, scrambling, and backpacking. We hope you’ll join us!