Mountaineering and camping outings

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 9-15, 1997
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Mountaineering and camping outings

Mountaineering and camping outings
Question: I love mountaineering and winter camping and would love to get a trip planned this winter. I'm a National Ski Patroller in the Poconos Mountains and a lot of my fellow patrollers and I would like to plan a trip. The only problem is we don't know where to go or how to organize a really cool trip. We would welcome any ideas you might have.

Mark Reese
Quakertown, PA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Call the American Alpine Institute (360-671-1505). They offer loads of itineraries from beginner rock climbing in California to tackling major peaks in every corner of the world.

An example of an American Alpine Institute trip is their 12-day expedition to the top of Mount Waddington in British Columbia's Coast Range. Though the peak is 13,260 feet — peanuts compared to Colorado's dozens of fourteeners — you'll find the climb to be very technical and strenuous; it includes feats such as carrying a heavy pack on your back over ice as steep as 60 degrees.

Because a bit of experience is required for this particular trip, it may not be the right match for you guys, but I think you'll find the American Alpine Institute can provide you with an itinerary to fit your needs as well as top-notch mountaineering instruction.

Option number two is to organize a trip through Jackson Hole Mountain Guides (800-239-7642), based out of Jackson, Wyoming. Using the incredible Teton range as its playground, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides offer trips that balance your skills with the backcountry winter camping and mountaineering skills that are necessary to survive in a high-altitude winter setting.

Novices as well as experts are welcome on these trips, and the pace is tailored to your skiing ability. Though the trips are custom-designed, they are usually a six-day run of the mountain ridges and powder bowls of the Tetons.

You generally overnight in yurts or huts, but you may be able to arrange some winter camping for your group as well. At least a day at the beginning of the trip is spent at low altitudes to prepare you for the adventure to come.

The best part about taking a trip with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides is that after a rough six-day backcountry jaunt, you can treat yourselves to a day or two of downhill at Jackson Hole Resort — some of the finest steep-and-deep skiing in the U.S.A.

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