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About Tommy

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  • Occupation
    Mountain Guide
  • Location
    Seattle, WA. USA
  1. “I believe life is about action and passion, and you can only truly begin to live life after you overcome your fear of dying” Quote by Jan Davis (died BASE jumping El-Cap) Condolences to Nik’s family.
  2. BASE accident in WA last weekend?

    I run with todd, denzil, and josh... they should know. I will ask and let you know. PS: Need any Beta on Baring?
  3. BASE on Baffin Island

    D-Dog, Thor (or was it Asgard???) was jumped in the 80's as part of "For Your Eyes Only" opening scene. Not sure who the jumper was, but I think it was Javier Bongard (sp?). PS: Upper Town Wall has been opened. 350 usable alt. Mostly go and throw but we think you might be able to take 2 seconds and still make the landing. The evening winds tend to die at about 8 PM, and the train runs prety regular at about 7 PM and 9 PM. good to know because the tracks are the landing area. exit point is where the "Town Crier" route tops out. you can drive most of the way to the top, with about a 20 minute flat hike in. There is a ledge to jumpers right, so a 90 off to the right could hurt, gotta get on those rear risers fast... Blue Skies [ 06-27-2002, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: Tommy ]
  4. BASE Jumping at local crags/peaks

    Jens, I have been climbing in the cascades for 13 years and have seen a lot of stuff we could huck off of, the problem is that landing areas are few and far between... We need a good safe landing area and possibly alternate landing areas... As for the climbing/rapping... that's not an issue, I got into BASE with the idea of a quick way down from climbs... Climbing is still my number one passion. Thanx [ 06-20-2002, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Tommy ]
  5. Recently the north face of Mt. Baring and the Upper Town Wall at Index have been “opened” as BASE Jumps. “Opened” means that the first jumps of these objects were made. While it is unlikely that there should be an encounter of climbers on the wall when jumping Mt. Baring, we are curious as to how climbers would like BASE jumpers to communicate to them when intending to jump a wall that climbers are on? I myself am a climber, and have advised the small local group of jumpers that they should clearly communicate to any climber in the area of their intention to jump, and ensure that any climbers on route are in a position as not to freak out and fall as the result of a body flying by overhead. I also have advised them that if any climber in the jump path should indicate discomfort with an overhead BASE jump that the jumpers should respect that, and either not jump or wait until the climbers indicate that they are out of the way. I would like to solicit any other feelings that climbers posting to this site may have about a peaceful coexistence at our crags between BASE jumpers and climbers (similar to that of Yosemite or Moab). Any ideas, advice, or opinions are appreciated and will be passed on to the BASE jumping community. That said we are always looking for new jump sites both front and back country. If you have ideas on jumpable sites please let us know. The criteria are at least 300 feet high (the higher the better), vertical or overhanging, and a large enough landing area (i.e., about 200+ square feet and obstacle free, or knee-deep to deeper water), and preferably an exit area where it is possible to take a few running steps to get good clearance from the cliff. Any Beta is much appreciated.
  6. unroped on a glacier?

    Dear Norman Clyde, I typically don’t post that much on this site, but felt compelled to do so in this situation due to much of information provided to your original question. Obviously you should be proficient in navigating glaciated terrain and know how to perform self and team rescue scenarios. With that said the AMGA/UIAGM recommends the following guidelines (not verbatim just a summary): 1. Rope up on all wet glaciers. Meaning glaciers that contain seasonal snow on them. Regardless of snow cover, temperature, and your skill level, you might still find yourself punching through. I have punched into crevasses in mid winter, and also in mid summer. The snow thickness that covers or fills crevasses is predictable to some extent but is not 100%2. Travel un-roped on dry glaciers. Dry glaciers are glaciers on which all/most of the seasonal snow has melted off of and the “dry” glacier ice is exposed. You can see the danger, and you can avoid it by careful route finding and good cramponing technique. It is also wise to be un-roped in these situations because the likelihood that your rope team can affect a full arrest of a fallen climber on solid glacier ice is unlikely (the accident on the Coleman Glacier last September may have been a result of this). You can still use a rope for sections of dry glacier that are steep in a belay type situation. (e.g., climbing the Entiat Ice Fall, or Ice Cliff Glacier in late season or other similar steep glacier/ice fall route). The guidelines I have summarized above are the ones you will find being taught by most (if not all) reputable guide services, and are generally excepted around the world and by the UIAGM. If you have any additional specific questions, please feel free to email me.
  7. Guided climbs, RMI and other spew

    Mr. Beefcider, I am not entirely aware of the exact curriculum of the RMI 6 day, but I can’t imagine it being all that different that the 6 day at American Alpine Institute (AAI) or Mountain Madness (MM). With that said I do not know the exact hiring and training process that RMI uses, beyond the rumors that I have herd I will not repeat any of those as I can’t confirm them. I am however intimately aware of the hiring and training process for others, as I work for one and know a bunch of people how work for the other. I can’t imagine that the actual RMI processes are too different? 1. All potential candidates will not even be considered unless they have an extensive climbing resume that includes rock, ice, glacier, alpine, etc experience.2. All potential guides will only be considered if they have Wilderness First Responder training, and CPR certification (all must be kept current)3. All potential guides must prove that they posses excellent communication skills, and are able to teach the curriculum in several different ways so that they can be sure that everyone in the group understands and gets the most out of the course.4. While not all guides in the US have AMGA or UIAGM certification (as it is not required by law), all guides at AAI and MM, and I would presume at RMI are trained by fully certified senior guides according to the exact material that the AMGA/UIAGM requires. In-fact many of the senior guides who conduct the 2-4 week annual guide training courses are the same people who teach and administer examinations for the AMGA (e.g., Mike Powers, Mike Silitch, Steve House, etc…) AAI and MM (and presumably RMI) all emphasize that guides listen to what their clients goals are and shape the trip accordingly. The 6 day courses are typically geared as introductory courses to basic snow/glacier mountaineering, with snow travel, cramponing, basic ice (i.e., French Technique), roping up, glacier travel, self and team crevasse rescue, navigation, mountain weather, ecology, glaciology, etc. being the focus. The typical outcome is that you have the skills to be part of a mountaineering team on basic to intermediate climbs. Both AAI and MM offer 12-13 day courses that are designed specifically to teach the skills, judgment, and knowledge to safely plan, prepare, and execute climbs on your own at a basic to intermediate level, or be part of an experienced team in a more advanced situation. These types of courses actually let the client(s) guide the guide for the last 2-3 days of the course up a peak of their choice (within permit boundaries). The guides basically sit back and let the clients plan the climb, call all the shots, pick the route, etc… while of course providing feedback as needed or requested for safety reasons. The long and the short of it is that, you will get what you ask for from your guide. If you want to learn to become a climber your guide should be willing to put the extra effort in to teach you more aggressively and challenge you a bit more. If you want to just summit for the picture and the bragging rights you will get that. One other misconception raised in this thread that I would seek to clarify is the statement that “There are some real bad asses in here that do more climbing than most guides”. I am sure there are some “real bad asses in here” as the poster likes to put it, but most of the guides I work with are lifestyle climbers. Meaning they live on the road most or all of the year and climb. I would say that most of them are getting between 150-250 days a year climbing (including ~ 30-40% of that number being guided climbs). Take care, and have a great time on your 6-day trip. If you have further specific questions feel free to email me. Tommy
  8. REI Garage Sale this weekend...

    REI=Return Everthing Inc.
  9. Alpental

    look outside not at your computer and judge for yourself
  10. revolutionary new camming units!!!!

    Hi All, I was with Mark of the PO-Wall last October when we tried these things out. We were given the cams as part of the American Alpine Institute gear-testing program, and I must say we blasted off on the route with enthusiasm to have such a new weapon at our disposal. Of the ½ of the 28 pitches I lead, I tried at least a dozen times to get these things to place, but was only able get the things to stick once in a semi-secure fashion. I didn’t really spend time analyzing what was wrong with them because I was a bit preoccupied with the climbing, but I would say that after trying them, that they are defiantly not worth buying and/or taking along. The engineers at Splitter Gear still have some work to do. Regards, Tommy [ 01-27-2002: Message edited by: Tommy ]
  11. Glacier Travel: to rope or not to rope?

    Erik, As a guide I get this question often, and would like to answer your question in a more constructive way (rather than telling horror stories and spreading common misconceptions). The first thing you should understand about glaciers is the difference between a “wet” and a “dry” glacier. A wet glacier is a glacier (or section of a glacier) that still has seasonal snow on it. A dry glacier is a glacier (or section of a glacier) that has no seasonal snow on it (i.e., bare ice). The rules on when to rope up are purely a personal choice, but the following are generally agreed to by most professional climbers and/or guides: · If you are traveling on a “wet” glacier there is still a chance of hidden crevasses as well as the possibility to self arrest (in seasonal snow). There fore we rope up approximately 25-35 feet between climbers (this measurement applies to the cascades and may be different in other ranges depending on the size of crevasses). While traveling roped you should maintain a comfortably snug line between you and your partners (the rope should make a smiley face between you and your partner) · If you are traveling on “dry” glacier it is ok and often times more desirable and safer to travel un-roped. The reason being is that you can clearly see all the dangers, and you should for the most part be able to rely upon proper technique (i.e., French/German technique, and proper ice axe use) to avoid falling into a hole. The reason traveling roped can be dangerous on a dry glacier is that if one person falls, and there is no form of ice protection or a proper belay it is very unlikely that you will be able to self-arrest and hold the fall in ice. Often times you want the security or a rope on dry glacier (such as when you climb through a steep ice fall) but then it is best to use ice pro (screws, thread through, bollard, natural features) and proper belay techniques which will hold the max anticipated load. Last but not least, if you are unsure about how to properly rope up, rescue, use crampons and ice axe properly, and judge objective and subjective danger, I would highly recommend obtaining proper instruction from a trained professional. Reading books is a great start, but as you have learned from this dialogue leave many unanswered questions. Regards, and be safe. Tom Dancs
  12. Crevasse rescue on Baker...

    I just got of the phone with John Colver (the guide from American Alpine Institute who was first on the scene of the accident). We had a brief discussion about the incident and here is what he told me. At about 8600’ just below the saddle (at 9000’) on the Coleman Glacier, there was an icy section on the route. One of the climbers slipped and fell into a crevasse. The rest of the party was unable and/or failed to arrest the fall, and as a result all 4 were drug into the crevasse. John and his two clients arrived on the scene approximately 30 minutes after the fall. The deceased victim was still alive when John got to him. John began rescue breathing for him but to no avail. The victim suffered massive head injuries, and died shortly thereafter.
  13. Crevasse rescue on Baker...

    When will the news media get it right???? The other “Hiker” on the scene first was John Colver of American Alpine Institute, a fellow guide and good friend of mine. What the news media fails to indicate that if he was not there more than one would likely be dead or in a lot worse shape. Anyway, I left a message with John and as soon as I talk to him, I will provide more detail. Good Job to John and all the other AAI and Rescue Staff involved. Tommy
  14. North Face of Maude - will it go this late?

    About 50% of the face is bare rock Tommy
  15. Mt. Baker

    Jason Martin is absolutely correct. Both he and I practice pulling people out of holes on a weekly basis (teaching others that is) and it's really not that hard. There is this myth amongst the climbing community that you are screwed if you fall in and you are in a team of 2 which is totally false. With proper training and PRACTICE one person can pull out another without too much trouble. If you are worried that you won’t be able to arrest your partner in a 1:1 crevasse fall try climbing with a partner of similar weight. You can also tie several overhand knots in the rope between you to provide friction on the snow surface. WARNING! The knots will need to be passed while rescuing or prussiking. If you are one of those climbers who tools around not knowing how to do a 1:1 rescue.... well you better hope Jason is around when you go in Tom Dancs PS: Jason I have had several calls from Portland in recent days )))