On September 6-7 of 2017, the AMGA, in partnership with Eddie Bauer, ran the 2017 Rock Discipline Mentorship Camp. This two-day annual event consists of low ratio (2:1) rock discipline specific training with local AMGA Instructor Team Member(s). Mentorship Camps provide opportunities for AMGA members to further their skill sets and help prepare for their next AMGA course or exam.
This year’s Rock Discipline Mentorship Camp attendees were AMGA Assistant Rock Guides, Casey Graham and Cody Bradford. Here’s what Cody had to say about his experience:
1) What does “mentorship” mean to you? Has this definition changed as the result of attending the camp?
I believe that mentorship can be defined by having mentors and being mentored by people, the environment or the experiences one finds themselves in. I have been mentored by many, however I find myself being a mentee of the climbing and guiding community as a whole. I am not one to be in the company of any one person for any period of time, so gathering knowledge from the other guides and climbers I come across is of the upmost importance for me.
The mentorship camp helped to show me that this is normal and ok. The amount of experience I have gathered from the array of people throughout my climbing career has brought me to a point I am comfortable being in, although it has been a slower process than perhaps I thought it would be.
2) In what ways do you feel mentorship is significant to the craft of mountain guiding?
Taking people into the mountains, whether guiding or instructing, is a dangerous proposition in many respects. It is foolhardy to assume that any of us have the perfect knowledge of the best and safest day for every client. Mistakes will be made and it is how you learn to correct those mistakes that makes you a good Mountain guide. This is something that only making those mistakes for yourself can show you. Having a mentor that you trust there with you or reflecting with afterwards is an excellent way of looking into the mirror and having the mirror offer suggestions and advice in return. In this regard, mentorship in the mountains to all Mountain Guides is invaluable to the security and enjoyment of our guests.
3) How did the 2017 Eddie Bauer & AMGA Rock Discipline Mentorship Camp help you grow as a professional?
During the 2017 Mentorship Camp, I found out what it was to make mistakes and turn them into opportunities to make for a better day. I found myself on occasions over thinking a situation, wanting not to make a mistake and subsequently thinking too much and choosing an inappropriate path to success. Instincts by now have become honed in the mountains over rock terrain, but the experience of on-sighting destinations has not yet created an outlet for understanding when those instincts are valid. This camp helped me to understand the value in listening to those instincts, testing them, and reevaluate if they prove to be misguided. One can also create fruit from mistakes. A misjudged path, becomes an excellent view for the guests and a point of learning that even they may take away with the guide. After all, it is not only us who want to learn about the mountains.
4) What was the biggest learning you had on the Mentorship Camp?
My biggest learning from the camp was not allowing a mistake to grow into a larger error. Just because you move forward into a descent and realize 5-10 minutes in that it is not accurate does not mean trying to continue anyway. This is a time to show humility and humor, turn around and try again. Mistakes happen to everyone and will happen again. The secret is to stop trying to make it work and start fresh.
5) What was the most fun you had while on the Mentorship Camp?
Some of the most fun was had while meeting at belay ledges discussing and making fun out of the history of Eldorado Canyon and many other areas of climbing around the States. The hilarity of “sandbagging”, the cerebral nature of the climbing style, or the ethics by which routes are established. Being able to be both humbled and laugh about predicaments and styles was crucial to keeping cool heads under pressure in such a place.
6) What is your next step on your path to becoming an AMGA Certified Rock Guide?
I recently sent in my application for the Rock Guide Exam in April of 2018. I am living and working out of California and Nevada to help prepare me for the rigors of this undertaking until then!
7) What advice do you have for future mentorship camp attendees?
My advice to future mentees in this camp is to bring honesty to the endeavor. I arrived knowing that I would be brought to a rigorous standard in a place like Eldo. Having never been, I approached Day 1 with that honesty of having spent an entire summer season guiding moderate routes on moderate stone. My time for training was non-existent and my fitness was limited. I asked to focus on the things knew I could work on and refine…Transitions, pacing, route selections, descent tactics, etc… Approach this opportunity with honesty about where you are in your climbing so that you may walk away with a gumption for training hard and new knowledge that you were able to walk away with because you allowed yourself an emotionally safe space to learn.
To learn more about AMGA Mentorship Camps, click here.