September 9, 2012
From: Joseph Manning
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2012 11:35 AM
To: Tye Chapman
Subject: Thank you!
I am sitting in Seattle now, with clean clothes, and am a couple of showers post my incredible week on Rainier with IMG and the Glacier Skills Seminar. I am beginning to reflect on what an incredible week it was. It is not easy to put into careful words just how great the experience was. I find that it takes several weeks to really come down off of the mountain, my head is flooded with so many things about the experience. I was out of my comfort zone the whole week, from the first time I put on the loaded pack and we left from Paradise. I experienced many “firsts” that week. As a competitive cyclist for many years, I know what it feels like to be in a sport where everything is automatic. In my favorite new world of mountain climbing, everything still is new, and I felt like I had two left feet, ten thumbs and was focused, always focused, on (trying) to remember knots. Those damn knots. Was it a Butterfly knot here, or a clove hitch. “Hey Aaron…….” But you know what, the IMG guides were always besides me helping out, answering questions patiently, but also knowing that we students had to do it ourselves. That feeling of learning, of gaining confidence, slowly, of finally learning that knot, was a real joy. I was exhausted as Dustin and I reached Paradise. But I wanted to head back up hill the next day!
Now that I am back at sea level, and reading The Freedom of the Hills again, I realize how much we actually learned, and how I can build on this for the future. The amount of new knowledge, both positive- learning new things, and negative- learning what I need to improve on (pretty much an uncountable list in my case), was absolutely priceless. I am truly amazed that a week-long course like this, with world class guides, in a breathtakingly beautiful environment, actually costs so little. IMG courses and climbs (my kind of vacation for sure) truly are a bargain.
All of the guides were amazing, patient, highly skilled, giving of their time and experience and really great to be around. Like the Kili trip last fall, this IMG experience has to be chalked up in the “most memorable life experience” category. How great is that?
IMG, you all really offer those who come to you world class adventure as well as first class teaching that I, as someone who teaches for a living, truly appreciate. The Glacier Skills course was just an outstanding week. That goes for the weather too! Mountain climbing, it is often said, is best taken as a journey, not a destination. We did not summit, getting weathered off from 11,100, so I have to come back next Summer. But descending in the storm was a great experience itself, a real confidence builder.
Aaron, as Lead Guide, thanks so much for your superb leadership. Chris, thanks for your instruction, and Dustin, thanks for many things, especially for hanging back on the descent as I was fighting a tummy bug. You guys are class acts all.
I hope you realize that on the ” what to improve” section of the Survey we filled out at headquarters, I was being facetious when I said that we could have had more personal attention. Not possible. We could not have been better treated by you all or by Tye back at headquarters.
Thanks guys, very much! IMG rocks. I can’t wait to get back into the Hills, and I am making plans for Spring and next Summer with IMG already! And I can’t wait for more instant oatmeal in some kitchen tent, up high, with the best guiding company on the planet.