Friday, March 21, 2008


As featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine for the month of April, our 2008 guided hiking/climbing season officially kicked off today (March 21) with a guided father-daughter hike up and over Old Rag Mountain.This may be the earliest start of our spring guiding season, ever...

Found on page 38 of the magazine, in the "Instant Adventure", East section, you can read all about our guided hiking on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. A memorable hike regardless of your experience or age, ORM is always refreshing, and leaves you full of wonder and awe.

The article refers to the "50,000 hikers" who start out on the trail to the summit every year..what was left unsaid in the article was that unfortunately, many of those who start out, are ill prepared and insufficiently experienced to complete the circuit or even summit. A long, dry, exposed hike that often requires the use of your hands as well as your feet, the hike climbs up into a granite-filled summit region that is always windy (often howling and harsh) and much cooler than the surrounding valleys and hollows. It can be an intimidating hike for the inexperienced.. but unforgettable, too!(file picture from August 2007)

Old Rag is home to a unique plant community, found only on the occasional mountain top and rock outcrop, and rarely outside of the Northeastern US and Canadian mountains several hundred miles to the north. We'll have more about Old Rag as the season progresses, as we are doing some exciting, cutting edge work in conjunction with the National Park Service. For now, however, we are happy in the knowledge that not a week will go by between now and November that we won't have the opportunity to make this amazing climb/hike. You ought to grab your hiking stuff, (especially your camera!) and join us..

(also, see Chad's Shenandoah Mountain Guides blog)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be Prepared

.. our mantra.

Early spring.. guiding season right around the corner.. that's when our refresher training cycle kicks into full swing. Training for our staff includes not only interagency training (rangers of the National Park System, military rescue/SOF teams and other emergency service providers) but also a tremendous amount of personal professional development. To even QUALIFY for summer internship application, a person must show a high level of personal motivation to prepare the most important tool in the outdoors... their BRAIN. This past weekend, we completed our annual wilderness first aid training weekend.

Students included PhDs, scout leaders, former professional athletes, survival instructors, trip leaders, climbers, alpinists, students... and our staff, including several of our 2008 crop of interns.

So, be prepared... as an outdoor professional, guide, instructor, practitioner, you owe it to your loved ones, to your guests, your students and to your clients... but mostly you owe it to yourself.