Photos & text by Josh Jackson, Apprentice Alpine & Rock Guide, Certified SPI and Rock Instructor and Eddie Bauer Scholarship recipient
As a climbing guide for over 20 years, I have been blessed to be both a teacher and a student within the vertical world. As I have developed from a recreational climber into a guide, I have had the great reward to help others to do the same, participating in an endless evolution of skills development and gaining insightful understandings of the “climbing mind.” I often say that climbing is the ultimate metaphor, and needs only to be viewed through the lens of the participant to inform his or her life. In climbing we learn to seek, struggle, learn, risk, feel, and dare to know the harder things that enlighten our character.
It is often said that climbing is not a sport, but a lifestyle. In reality, it is both, and like a drummer using both hands, a greater rhythm can be made by using both than by their segregated parts alone. The climbing community is as diverse as the disciplines that make up our sport. The climbing family tree is gnarled, twisted and beat by the elements, but is always in bloom. Life and inspiration is always teeming within a culture that is forever progressing and endeavoring to make the unattainable the attainable. This is the world that I inhabit as a climber and influence as a guide.
The enlightened find learning in all things. However, being an introspective guide and reflective student has brought me time and time again to seek professional training. The AMGA has played a large part in my ability to wholeheartedly engage as a pupil, soaking up the knowledge and gaining vision from thoughtful course and exam facilitators. This past spring, I was able to continue that process by attending the AMGA’s Alpine Guide Course in Grand Teton Nation Park, WY. This was made possible by a generous grant by Eddie Bauer, makers of the First Assent product line and more. This Diamond/Next Generation Partner of the AMGA has committed itself to furthering world class guide education, and I was fortunate enough to reap the benefits of the scholarship program. With my course tuition covered, I was able to use that savings to head back into the alpine, apply what I had learned in the class, and share my newly obtained knowledge with others. This holistic educational process can be directly accredited to my receiving the Eddie Bauer scholarship.
My Alpine Guide Course has set me on the cyclical path of learning, reflection, and application. With newly acquired techniques and understandings of alpine guiding, I am excited to pour back into my climbing community. Clients, friends and family will all benefit from my ever-developing guiding education, and this will, in turn, help to create a richer and more professional climbing environment. With much gratitude I thank the AMGA scholarship committee for my selection and for Eddie Bauer’s support of the climbing profession. This academic gift has added greatly to my professional development and will help me to cultivate the growth of my clients and climbing partners alike.