This pas weekend, MMG Guide Ben Mirkin was in charge of an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Exam. A big thanks to all the candidates on the exam.
Alex Teixeira
We had a fantastic group of participants in our AMGA SPI Assessment this weekend!  Our aspiring and re certifying guides included individuals from Atlantic Climbing School, the new Director of Carrabassett Valley Academy’s ALPS program.Like any AMGA course or assessment, the emphasis was on learning and bettering ourselves as climbers and guides – which I deinetly believe was accomplished this weekend.

I am reminded about how essential this type of training is for any climber leading groups, guiding, or just taking friends climbing.

Keep playing and keep learning!

Ben Mirkin

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Jerry Gale and I traveled to the Canadian Rockies for ten days of ice climbing in early March. This trip was our grand finale for our 2015/16 ice climbing season. Over the winter we climbed, we trained, and readied ourselves for the cold difficult ice routes of the north. Upon our arrival and through out the trip we both were truly surprised at what we found. The temperatures remained constant, hovering around freezing levels, the ice was generally fat and sticky, and the routes plentiful with so many to choose!!! 

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The Canadian Rockies viewed from Banff

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Our first day we found ourselves walking up to this local favorite – The Pilsnar Pillar. This gem was our prize climb, right up the center pillar.

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                      Inside the cave behind Pilsnar Pillar.                        

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Wicked Wanda is located in the South Ghost area. The Ghost areas comprised of two main areas the north and south. Wicked Wanda was our first choice as it was the easier to get to. Easy being barred by a 10 mile dirt road, the infamous big hill, and gravel river crossings.

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The north Ghost is another story. Both Jerry and I wanted this place in a bad way. Home to the Sorcerer pictured above and another classic called Hydrophobia. We settled on this unknown route, the Sorcerer. We were gifted with this picture as were rounded the bend early in the morning.

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A spectacular afternoon on the Sorcerer!!!

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My  friend Dale made this Sorcerer journey possible. As you can see the a rental car would not make these river crossings. Dale had the right rig for the task the Toyota Tacoma in 4×4 low.

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 Snowline – the center, Moonlight the left were two long flows of ice in tip top shape. This ice climbing area was south of Canmore in the Evan- Thomas Creek area in the Kananaskis foothills.

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 Snowline – a skinny route that spiraled its way to the top

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Mammut in action – the Nordwand GTX Boot, Trion Guide Pack, Neon Light Pack, Nordwand Gloves and much more. Thanks to the Mammut and the Vermont staff  for all the help gearing up for this fine adventure.

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Our grand finale was Curtain Call. A brilliant climb in our minds. We approached in the dark and the first light displayed this – a very technical looking ice route with an overhang at the top. We both new this would be our grand prize for the season.

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This is our third and final pitch. Beautiful stemming up the corner leads to the imposing roof section. Picked out by others, the transition over the overhang was doable for us.

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Jerry topping out high above the Icefields Parkway.

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Wild ice formations on the Curtain Call – Canadian Rockies.

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Jerry a long time partner who is committed to the sport. Whether it be rock, ice or mountain climbs Jerry seeks out the cleanest line. We both work together to climb the prize lines of the area together.

So much thanks to Jerry.

Art Mooney

Already looking into he next ice season? Please get in touch for a late winter trip to the Canadian Rockies!!! Contact Art.