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Anchorage, AK


Original Post
Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

So I'm heavily considering moving to Anchorage Alaska in the beginning months of 2018. I am pursuing a career as a mountain guide and would like to start taking AMGA courses but lack the technical skills to begin. Coming from the Midwest, this will be a huge move for me (I'll have a friend living  out there for his job) and could use all the advice I can get. What is finding a job like to get me by while I focus heavily on gaining Alpine experience? Is it easy to find people that want to go on Alpine expeditions with? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 90

How many places are you "planning to move to"? This is the second different one that I've seen. 

As for work, if you aren't picky and have a good work history you'll get by. If you've had 10 jobs in the last year, then you won't be the first pick for anyone. It is quite spendy, but well worth it. 

As for partners, it's not the easiest to find   I moved up here last May and have managed to get out enough. But very few of my partners had bigger goals then to climb every once in a while. If you're a really strong climber then it might not be that hard, but I'd call myself average. 

Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Just trying to figure out where the best place for me is, so asking all around to get different opinions. Would you say it is worth the move in the end?

climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 90

What track in the AMGA are you wanting to take? Rock climbing is fairly limited on the road system, so it would be hard gaining the experience necessary to do the rock track. If your a solid rock climber then it might not be too bad. 

Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
climbing coastie wrote:

What track in the AMGA are you wanting to take? Rock climbing is fairly limited on the road system, so it would be hard gaining the experience necessary to do the rock track. If your a solid rock climber then it might not be too bad. 

I am most interested in the Alpine courses. With that being said, do you believe Alaska or Colorado would benefit me more in terms of gaining the appropriate experience quickly?

climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 90

If I recall correctly from your other post you don't have a whole lot of outdoor experience. If that's the case and the sole purpose is to become an AMGA guide my choice would be Colorado hands-down. Not only is there a better rock Colorado, But you could road trip from there as well. Spent a few years in Colorado and then move up to Alaska

yukonjack · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 15

+1 for Coastie's comment.

If "quickly" is part of the equation, CO deserves serious consideration.

The sheer number of guides and mentorship opportunities in addition to cost of travel to said rock/alpine training grounds vs. AK is significant and might be good to consider in your calculus when seeking certification.

North to the Future! But AK will make you work.

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

I really enjoyed the time I spent in Alaska.  It was always easy for me to find an outdoor job.  I also was able to get a lot of experience alpine climbing, mostly with people I met through the Alaska Mountaineering Club.  As far as rock climbing, Colorado has a longer season and more easily accessible rock. With that said, there is plenty of climbing in AK and many places to gain Alpine experience. Hatcher pass is a great place to trad climb in a semi-alpine environment.  If I had to choose a place like Boulder vs Anchorage, to find a job and housing, Anchorage would be much less of a headache (though a much larger move).  Get a part time job at REI and prodeal all your gear (also applicable in CO).

Points for AK:  Less crowds, more jobs, big country

Points for CO: More rock access and longer rock season, proximity to other areas of the US

Colorado will have many more options for AMGA classes and such, but ultimately I think you could go either way.  If you want to climb alpine routes and are motivated either place will be pretty conducive to that.  I think Alaska is a great place to get a solid base of outdoor skills, as self reliance is just a part of the outdoor culture.  But if you just want to climb a ton of rocks, CO will have better access.

I really like the remoteness of Alaska and the small town feel of it.  I was in Eldo last June, and off season, on a Tuesday morning, there were more climbers than I have ever seen at any other climbing area. 

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65

Have you thought of Washington and the cascades? Lots of rock in the summer months and alpine climbing on the volcanoes to include rainier, baker, hood.... pretty easy to find a job too, and you aren't far from Canada and flights Alaska are cheap. Never had a problem finding partners either

Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
a.blair wrote:

Have you thought of Washington and the cascades? Lots of rock in the summer months and alpine climbing on the volcanoes to include rainier, baker, hood.... pretty easy to find a job too, and you aren't far from Canada and flights Alaska are cheap. Never had a problem finding partners either

I really haven't.. are there any cities specifically to look into? It is a pretty big move I would just need to build the confidence and get out there.

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65
Ian Ritterbush wrote:

I really haven't.. are there any cities specifically to look into? It is a pretty big move I would just need to build the confidence and get out there.

I'd look at Tacoma, north bend, or Leavenworth. Leavenworth has a lot of alpine rock climbs, tons of climbing with easy access, ice climbing in winter, and you can climb the mountains. Same with north bend (snoqualamie pass). Tacoma is a bigger city and a short drive will get you to all the locations. Everything is within a 3ish hour drive from Tacoma, making it good option if you have 2 days off. North bend is the halfway point to Leavenworth

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

How many alpine routes have you ever climbed?  If none, then don't start planning to be an alpine guide.  You might be fascinated with the idea, but hate it in reality once you experience it a bit. 

Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Eric Carlos wrote:

How many alpine routes have you ever climbed?  If none, then don't start planning to be an alpine guide.  You might be fascinated with the idea, but hate it in reality once you experience it a bit. 

Haha nice advice.... I got some big dreams man, not too worried about others opinions thinking I can or can't do it. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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