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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
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Default Side note about Bob

Disclaimer: This is a side-story about Bob, an awesome guy we encountered on our trip to Baker, and his Guide. I don't know what I intend to accomplish with this thread, other than to document something that made me feel uncomfortable.

Link to TR:

If you didn't read the TR, we picked up Bob near the top of the Roman wall where he was waiting while his two climbing partners pushed for the summit. Their pace was too intense for him, and being a nice guy, he offered to stay behind while they plowed on. After sitting for a few minutes however, he noticed that he just needed a small break.

We offered to take him up to the summit, and to re-unite him with his 2 climbing partners. On the way up, we learned that Bob's two companions were one of his friends and a guide. It sounded a bit unfortunate that his guide had set such an unreasonable pace for him, especially considering they had plenty of time, and only two clients.

On our way down, just before roping up, we ran into Bob's guide, who came across as a major dick. Upon reaching us, he skipped any kind of greeting and immediately started commanding Bob to put on his helmet, and telling him to "come over here". To be fair to his guide, he definitely had a right to be upset. His client had said he was going to wait at a spot, but changed things without any communication. Still, the guide shouldn't have put Bob in that situation in the first place, and handled the situation inappropriately. He practically berated this guy right in front of us, and we could do nothing but offer our condolences to Bob, and offer him a trip down on our rope if he wanted.

After they roped up, the guide said a very reluctant and sarcastic "thanks" to us, and they were off in a blaze. This guide was really upset, and was in a massive hurry to get down.

As we were going down the small pitch of rock before the big snow patch at the top of the roman wall, I saw Bob being directed to hop over the bergschund in an effort to bypass another downclimbing rope team (one of ours, I think). Bob had a small slip and was arrested by the guide, but this was upsetting.

Anyways, they hurried off at an intense pace I would have been really uncomfortable at.

One of the members of our team mentioned to me that while Bob and his guide were passing them, they heard the guide saying that they were not going to be stopping for him any more, and that the guy looked like he was going to cry.

I didn't see any more of Bob, but at the very end of the day, he ran into some of our group members waiting for the rest of us at the parking lot. He was so drained after the down-hike, as his team members didn't do any waiting for him. I hear at a couple of points, he was considering leaving his pack behind and just replacing the gear, he was so drained.

He expressed some very sincere gratitude to our group for being kind to him and taking him up to the summit. It was apparently the highlight of his trip.

He also expressed a bit of guilt, saying that it was his fault and that he shouldn't have held them back in the first place.

Anyways, we learned that this guide was operating on behalf of the American Alpine Institute, and from what I hear they have a stellar reputation.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 04:16 AM
High on the Mountain Top
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You did a great thing for Bob.

Group travel only works when you don't have any jerks.
If one person is traveling at 95% of their normal speed, it will be a breeze for them.
Someone else in the group may be traveling at 105% of their normal speed and it will require a herculean effort to keep that up for the trip.

Moving at a pace that is sustainable for the slowest member in the group is the only practical option. To even things out, weight can be distributed to the stronger members of the team.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 10:09 AM
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I have some sympathy for the guide, as he was responsible for Bob, and suddenly Bob is traveling with gad-knows-who and isn't where he was supposed to be. That said, he made what I consider some goofs...

1. Surely he must have had some time with Bob prior to summit day, and would know his limitations. Coming up with a plan for him to have someone to take him down or wait with him would have been a lot nicer than leaving him on his own.

2. Even if he was angry with Bob, and your group, he needed to retain his professionalism and keep his cool. It's fine to explain the issue, but you need to be calm and in control.

I was climbing a larger peak in the Rockies and came upon a guided group with the exact problem as the group you ran into. A climber had run out of gas. They were re-rigging their ropes to allow one of the guides to escort the knackered climber down. Recreationalists might park someone somewhere, but I've never seen/heard-of a guided group doing so.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 10:22 AM
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I wonder if he tipped.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 01:23 PM
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I would normally have sympathy for the guide. Sometimes they end up with clients who really don't have the ability level they ought to, and want the guide to pull them up the mountain; but even if this was the case, the guide was being a jerk. As a whole, he was acting quite unprofessional, and I was quite surprised to find out that he worked for AAI.

First off, the pace the guide was trying to set was simply unreasonable for his team. This is basic 101 How To Be a Guide stuff: hold a relaxed pace and everyone can stay energetic and move efficiently for a long time.

The "jump over the moat" trick was also uncalled for. Bob (understandably) botched the landing and took a tumble. The guide arrested his fall, but in the process Bob's water bottle fell from his pack, and it tumbled down the Roman Wall, becoming glacier garbage in the process. A stunt like this would only serve to make Bob even more tired and saved them a whopping 30 seconds of time while they waited for my rope team to scurry across the rocky ledge to the solid snow.

I'm thinking of sending an email to AAI about this.

Edit: grammar
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 02:13 AM
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Trick, yes by all means send an email to AAI about this - as well as a link to this thread, and to Karvitk's ascent thread. I think it's most unfortunate that the guide behaved this way with his client, and in front of others too. The group was 2 people, not 12, there is no reason whatsoever that Bob's pace could not have been accommodated - and there is no reason whatsoever for this kind of guide behavior to take place.

By all means contact AAI with your concerns re what you heard and what you saw.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 08:12 AM
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Yes, definitely contact the AAI, if you feel up to it. The guide's rude behaviour is unacceptable, but forcing Bob to move at an exhausting pace (for him) is downright dangerous, and invites a serious injury.

Unless the guide was having an exceptionally bad day, which I doubt given the consistently poor behaviour, I'd be surprised if this is the first time someone has had an issue with him.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 11:41 AM
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I don't know what I intend to accomplish with this thread, other than to document something that made me feel uncomfortable.
The question you ask is associated with the fact that you watch too much reality TV and you like drama and want to share it with people.

As Dlofting said, Just call AAI and actually accomplish something.

If you work in the service industry I dont give a **** if you had a bad day, its your job.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:57 PM
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Good for you to help out, Rayn. Like the others have written, make that call and report this Guide's behaviour. Their organization's reputation is at stake, and as noted the exhaustive pace can lead to serious fatigue and possible injury.

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