Major bummer

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 12:28:44 07/24/16

In Reply to: Down south... posted by 46er


I have read multiple articles about Exum Mountain Guides over the years. One particularly long article in OUTSIDE magazine concentrated on the professionalism of the organization, the rigorous, lengthy training and certification program, and the long line of accomplished climbers trying to become Exum guides. It is truly a case of "many are called, but few are chosen". As I remember it, on average, Exum adds two new guides per year. That has to cover losses due to burnout, retirement, and, unfortunately, in this case, death; as well as any growth in the business.

It takes several years before a new guide is actually turned loose to assume the full role of a guide. There is a long progression of training, tutoring, and mentoring that occurs, and eventually, the climbing equivalent of "student teaching". Someone with 12 years at Exum would be a VERY experienced climber. I can't imagine what happened to create this tragedy. I hope we eventually see the result of whatever investigation determines to have been the root cause.

I have known quite a few NPS climbing rangers that have done high angle rescue work in places like Denali, Grand Teton, Rock Mountain, and Yosemite National Parks over the years. I have found each and every one of them to be coolly competent, dedicated to protecting human life, with understated egos. What I have read about Exum Mountain Guides over the years gives me the impression that their guides are quite comparable in skill and demeanor. I see these people as "American Sherpas", and stand in awe of their accomplishments. It hurts to lose one of them!


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