Entries By seth waterfall

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall Recounts The First Two Days Of His AMGA Rock Guide Course

Posted by: Steve Gately, Seth Waterfall, Pete Van Deventer, Billy Haas, Caleb Ladue | November 29, 2014
Categories: *Guide News *Guide Grant

In late October, RMI guides Pete Van Deventer, Caleb Ladue, Billy Haas, Steve Gately and myself took part in a Rock Guide Course conducted by the American Mountain Guides Association. The course was contracted and sponsored by the RMI Expeditions/First Ascent Guide Grant, and the instructors included former RMI Guide Jeff Ward, RMI and Colorado Mountain School Guide Mike Soucy and CMS Guide Mark Hammond.

As a guide staff, we felt very fortunate that both RMI and the AMGA instructors were able to plan the course during a timeframe that allowed us to work a full summer schedule on Rainier and still have a few weeks to prepare and train in the rock realm after a long season of alpine climbing in the Cascades. After completing my Ski Exam and becoming a Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide in April of this last year, I am personally very grateful to RMI for sponsoring the course, which allowed me to complete a second financially committing segment of my
continuing education and progression toward full IFMGA certification.

The 10-day course took place at Smith Rock State Park near Bend, OR. Over the years I have spent a fair bit of time climbing at Smith and I knew the venue would provide some unique challenges from both a climbing and guiding perspective. While Smith is known for it’s high quality sport climbing, on this course we would be dialing our focus more towards traditional climbing.  Lucky for us, many of the ‘trad’ routes at Smith are notorious for having less than stellar rock quality, adding another complex element to the guiding objective.

The course kicked off on the last week of October. The weather looked to be good for the first couple of days, so we postponed the ground-work until a later date, and got right into the climbing. For me, the learning process brought me right back to my apprenticeship days at RMI, when I had to change the filter on my perspective.  I quickly learned to transition my thinking from that of an advanced recreational climber to approaching a climbing objective from the viewpoint of a guide. It’s a subtle change, but it makes a huge difference in your mindset, risk management, and the decision making process.

The instructor team did a great job of leading by example. They started right off with a very professional and competent course opening discussion and several demonstrations on belaying and anchoring techniques, as well as various ways to increase both guide and client security. As outdoor professionals, we don’t sit still well or for very long, and so were very thankful when we even got to climb a few pitches at the end of the first day!

The fair weather held on into our second day, but as the forecast looked to be deteriorating later in the week, the instructors opted to keep us in the field climbing in the event that we got shut down by rain and wind over the following days. This strategy worked quite well, as we were able to practice more of the techniques and rope trickery we learned the previous day while spending time off the ground in the vertical orientation.

By nature, guides tend to be kinesthetic learners, and as a group we all commented on the fact that we were able to process and retain the information with higher success if we could get our hands on the rope.

After the first few days, the course continued to ramped up both physically and mentally. For me it just got better as it went on, and the final day was by far the best, culminating in a lead of the aesthetic final pitch of Zebra Zion.

I can’t say enough about the both the quality and caliber of the AMGA instructors, and I’d like to especially thank my co-workers for a great time and creating an environment that was positive and fun, all while staying engaged and eager to learn every day.

Finally, a big thank you RMI, for investing in your guides and organizing this opportunity to allow us to further our professional education!
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Seth Waterfall has been guiding trips for RMI for over a decade, and leads trips to destinations the world round. He lives in Enumclaw, WA, were he spends his spare time skiing, road biking, and climbing throughout the Cascades. 

The gorgeous venue of Smith Rock State Park, in Terrabone, OR   Photo: Seth Waterfall Billy Haas leads the first pitch of the West Face route on the Monkey Face   Photo: Seth Waterfall

Mt. Rainier:  Final Teams of the Season Reach The Summit!

Posted by: JJ Justman, Seth Waterfall | September 29, 2014
Categories:
Elevation: 14,410'

Today marks the end of the 2014 Mt. Rainier Season.  The final RMI Four and Five Day Summit Climbs Teams reached the summit around 7:30 am led by RMI Guides JJ Justman and Seth Waterfall.

The teams reported great route conditions, a beautiful day with clear skies and a fun climb.  After spending some time on top they began their descent to Camp Muir and will continue down to Paradise later today.

Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb teams!  And a big THANK YOU to our amazing RMI Guides for a safe and successful 2014 season.

The Four Day Summit Climb Team September 26 - 29 ascending to Camp Muir on September 28.  Photo: JJ Justman RMI Guide Zeb Blais leads the final Four Day Summit Climb of the 2014 season to Camp Muir on September 28.  Photo: JJ Justman
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Mt. Rainier: September 21st Summit

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Pete Van Deventer | September 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Seth Waterfall and the Five Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer reached the summit of Mt. Rainier shortly after 7 a.m. The team spent about 90 minutes on the summit enjoying light winds and clear skies before beginning their descent to Camp Muir. Once back at Camp Muir, the team will rest and re-fuel before continuing their descent. We look forward to greeting them in Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulation’s Climbers!

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Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team’s Safari Comes to an End

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Safari is over and that means the trip is coming to a close.  We are all in a bus headed back to Arusha.  We’re planning one more shopping mission before heading back to the Dik Dik Hotel to get ready for our flights. Everyone is scheduled to fly out tonight.

It’s been a great adventure that was capped off by a wonderful evening last night and a really nice morning game drive.  We got extremely close to some elephants and got a great look at a female leopard.  Everyone’s still having a blast but the idea of heading home to our friends and family is taking hold. Hopefully our travels homeward are all as smooth as the rest of this trip has been.

I would like to give a big thanks on behalf of both my climbing teams this summer to the staff of the Dik Dik Hotel and tour operations and the RMI support team. The program here is excellent and everyone has really enjoyed their time in Africa.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Seth Waterfall's team headed back to Arusha. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Spots Leopard to Round Out Big 5

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Just another great day on safari. Today we rounded out our ‘Big 5’ sightings with an up close look at a leopard. This elusive cat is always a tough one to get but we were lucky today for sure.  We are spending our last night in Tanzania out in the bush in Kikoti Camp and tomorrow we finish the trip with a.morning game drive and evening flights.  We pack the action in until the last minute.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Kikoti Camp, Tanzania.  Photo: Jeff Martin Team members at Kikoti Camp, Tanzania.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Enjoys Great Wildlife Viewing in Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Day two on safari is going great!  We are down in Ngorongoro Crater and the wildlife viewing is as good as ever.  The team is taking to the safari life like a fish to water.  Everyone is also psyched that we didn’t have to pack our back and move locations for the first time in over a week.  That’s about all for now.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

Big cat in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Explores Lake Manyara National Park

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Safari has started!  This morning we met for breakfast and then headed out through the edge of Maasai country to Lake Manyara National Park.  We have just finished with lunch and are about to head through the forested region next to the lake.  This is the home of the tree climbing lions so hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to see some.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

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Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & Team Back to Dik Dik Hotel

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Hello from the Dik Dik!  We made it down and out of Kilimanjaro National Park today.  It’s nice to be back inside a place where they have cold drinks.

The group moved off the mountain in good spirits and our lunch at the park gate was excellent as always.  Our legs were tired from the long climb when we awoke but the pull of getting back to comfortable living got us up and moving by 8:00.  The crew has been wonderful all week and today was no different.  They made a great breakfast that sent us downhill in style.

Now we are shifting gears; getting ready for safari.  I just checked in with the drivers and everything is all set for the morning.  That’s it for now.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

The Dik Dik Hotel pool area. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Team Descends to Mweka Camp at 10,000ft.

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 10,000'

Hey, this is Seth checking in from Mweka, it’s our last camp on Kilimanjaro.  We came off the summit after my last call in and had a nice hike down to our high camp at Barafu.  Then had a nice breakfast and rolled down here to our last camp.  It was quite the hike, the last few miles are always tough on tired legs. Everybody is safe and sound down here.  We are looking forward to a little dinner and then a long nights sleep, well deserved.  Tomorrow we head back to our hotel and then we are off on safari.  We will check in again from the Dik Dik Hotel.  All is well here on Kilimanjaro.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall


RMI Guide Seth Waterfall checks in from Mweka Camp after descending from the summit of Kilimanjaro.

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Kilimanjaro: Waterfall & 100% of Team on the Summit!

Posted by: Seth Waterfall | September 07, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 19,340'

Hey this is Seth calling from the summit of Kilimanjaro.  We have every single last member of the team up at Uhuru Peak.  That’s 100% of us 11 plus 5 great African guides.  It’s a nice day, clear skies all night long. The rain we had before, the last two days, just disappeared. There is a cloud deck down below us. We just had the nicest summit day.  Everybody is doing great and we’re gonna head back down.  We have a long drop, it’s about 9,000 feet down to our last camp.  And then we are on safari. We will check in when we get to our last camp.  Ciao.

RMI Guide Seth Watefall

The August 30th Kilimanjaro team on the summit at 19,340 ft.  Photo: Seth Waterfall The sunrise over Tanzania as seen from summit day on Kilimanjaro.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Seth Waterfall calls from the summit of Kilimanjaro.

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