Helping to train the next generation of Alpinists.
A 100% volunteer-driven project lead by Steve and Eva House.
The goal of Alpine Mentors is to teach climbers how to make the best decisions. Teaching judgement is hard. Technique training, such as how to swing an ice tool, is easy. Frustrated by the traditional small group Alpine Mentors approach (4 climbers mentored for 2-4 years) and inspired by Ray Dalio's book Principles I set out to film a climbing trip in the Canadian Rockies and then I tried to distill the most critical decision-making moments of that trip into a set of principles for alpine climbing.
I hope this series of vidoes informs, inspires, and mostly, makes you a safer and better alpinist.
Alpinism often does not leave room for error. Perfect Preparation is the first step to staying safe, and ultimately, to success.
The alpine environment is highly dynamic: Weather, snow, ice, rock, temperature, wind, partners, energy, hydration, bivy sites, belay systems, the number of things one has to pay attention to on a big alpine climb is very very long. You can't focus on everything: Here's what to do.
We will not be conducting any more small-group mentorship programs through Alpine Mentors.
After seven years of Alpine Mentors it is my opinion that the model of small groups of alpinists mentored for 2-4 years, is inefficient and ineffective for more than half the participants. Furthermore it was highly time intensive. This is a 100% volunteer effort, and I was spending 8-12 weeks per year on this, which was not sustainable for me personally. It was also dangerous. In 2016 one of our participants lost her life during the final expedition.
We will continue to work on our mission to promote alpinism through mentorship, but how we deliver on that mission is about to change dramatically. Watch this space in the spring.
- Erik Rieger.
On January 12, the Alpine Mentors group, which includes Nik Mirhashemi, JD Merritt, Kurt Ross, and I, flew from the US to Munich. From there, we drove south to meet Steve House, first in the small mountain hub of Lienz, Austria. Steve secured lodging for us at the highest farmhouse/lodge above Lienz from January 12–15 from which we could base our initial adventures. Imagine a steep, snowy, winding road, endlessly switch backing up a vertical mountainside—something like you might see in car chase movie scene.
With a notably good late fall season for alpine climbing in Europe—meaning, no snow—we hoped to climb long and technical routes on some of the big walls in the eastern alps, primarily northwestern Slovenia, all the while meeting up with skilled, local “mentors” who’d climb with us. (All we had for prior planning, really, was a handwritten note Steve left us during a prior trip to the Black Canyon.)
Alpine Mentors is brought to by the generous support of