Stratiform has three missions:
1. To help competent ,and aspiring, Alpine Recreationists become safer, faster, better, and more experienced. Technical lapses, avalanches, getting lost, being unprepared: There are many ways to have an accident in the world of outdoor recreation, and we have all had friends who have had preventable accidents. These accidents have such a significant ripple across the Alpine community. Our mission is to reduce these occurrences by providing better education and a safer way to gain experience. We never want to lose a friend to a preventable accident in the mountains again.
2. To increase access to the most beautiful Alpine playgrounds in the world. We aim to enable people to enjoy the significant rewards that climbing, skiing, and mountaineering can offer. We want people to have a way to access the parts of the world that without a guide they could not go to safely. We want to help open the door to these experiences and places to people who might not have grown up with skis in one hand, rope in another, and beautiful vertical relief right outside their back door.
3. To provide meaningful and gainful work for Mountain Guides. Being a mountain guide is a very unique profession. It requires a high level of technical competency, fitness, and terrain familiarity built through decades of climbing, skiing, and mountaineering. In addition it requires a highly developed emotional intelligence, mindfulness, self awareness and empathy. Mountain guides must strike a fine balance between humility and confidence; optimism and skepticism, and theu must know when to emphasize each. Successful guides have an entrepreneurial flair, a true nack for conversation, and a reasonable level of risk tolerance. All of this is a tall order to ask of someone. It is because of this that Stratiform's offerings are designed and priced in a way to appropriately compensate guides, provide meaningful and rewarding year round work, and to increase guide's longevity by decreasing impact.
Stratiform is a mountain guide service built in the vision of IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide and lifetime alpine recreationist Brent Butler. Brent started Stratiform in order to better serve the alpine community’s need for quality education, mentorship, and guidance. Our goal is to make cliffs and mountains more accesible, and those who travel there safer and more skilled.
Stratiform’s program offerings are built on two pillars: Education and Experience. Combining these two elements provides the structure for our clientele to achieve independence and competence in their climbing, skiing, and mountaineering. To address these core needs we offer three program structures: courses, experiences, and guided trips. Our instructional courses are designed to cover the skills, knowledge, and techniques of these pursuits. Our meticulously curated array of experiences are designed to provide a conduit for gaining experience under mentorship. Private guiding is for those who’s goals don’t fall into the prescribed previous two boxes.
We know that we cannot be all things to all people and thats why we do what we know well, and leave the rest to the others - 7000m peaks, through-hiking, bouldering, hard and scary ice climbing are just a few of the things that you won’t see here. Instead you’ll see that we focus on technical and non technical, mid-latitude, mid-elevation mountaineering, rock climbing, and backcountry skiing.
Stratiform seeks to embody a small set of key values:
1. Competency. Education and Experience are the two pillars on top of which competent Alpine Recreationist stand.
2. Authenticity. An authentic experience is tough to find these days; you can find it in the mountains.
3. Self Fulfillment. Climbing, skiing, and mountaineering are purely pointless pursuits other than to those who undertake them and hold onto the personal fulfillment.
4. History. Climbing, skiing, and mountaineering have history, depth, and roots that go far beyond the us and the now.
IfMGA Licensed Mountain Guide, Owner Of Stratiform
Brent is a 3rd generation Colorado Native and grew up in rural Southern Colorado with skis on his feet and a rope in his hands. He began skiing when he was 3, rock climbing when he was 5, and climbed his first mountain sometime between. When he is not climbing or guiding he prefers to be eating and drinking with friends or family, training in the gym, or dancing to the umps umps umps of house music around a campfire.
Brent realized his lifetime hobbies of climbing and skiing had true value to offer when he began guiding professionally in 2010. Since then he has worked with thousands of clients to help them realize their alpine goals and enjoy their mountain experiences. Brent has enjoyed climbing, skiing, and guiding throughout the western US, western Canada, European Alps, Norwegian fjords, New Zealand Alps, Brazilian granite domes, and Thailand limestone. Brent has skied numerous steep descents including the likes of the Grand Teton. He has climbed 5.13 on bolts and gear and enjoys scratching around on snow covered rock and ice.
When you work with Stratiform, you're working with Brent. He will tirelessly work with you all the way from your initial inquiry through being your guide and instructor during your program to insure the upmost quality of instruction and experience.
IFMGA — The International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations. The IFMGA is an international association of mountain guide associations from all over the world. They represent all mountain guides of their country, which are qualified according to the IFMGA guidelines.The IFMGA, founded in 1965 by guides from Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy, is currently a body of mountain guide associations from more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania, representing a total of almost 6000 guides. Stratiform is owned and operated by IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide Brent Butler.
AMGA — American Mountain Guide Association. The American member of the IFMGA. The AMGA trains and certifies mountain guides to the international standard. Stratiform is owned and operation by AMGA Rock, Ski, and Alpine certified guide Brent Butler. Any programs that need additional assistant guides other than Brent, will be only staffed by guides who have been trained by the AMGA in the discipline in which they are working.
CGC - Certified Guides Cooperative is an effort to provide guides certification based access to operate on public lands. Stratiform is an active member and utilizes CGC permits for many of our programs.
Whats in a name...Stratiform
Stratiform is a technical adjective to describe any substance arranged in layers. It is most often used to refer to clouds, rock, snow, and substrata. Stratiform clouds are a big part of playing in the mountains, as are stratus rocks, and layered snowpacks. In addition to these more tangible connections to what we do, it is also the perfect name to embody our philosophy. To progress in the mountains means to build personal layers of skills, intellectual understanding, experiences, and techniques. A true Alpine Recreationist has layers and layers of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. A true Alpine Recreationist is Stratiform.
The crux of being an independent american mountain guide is access to work in public lands. In America the land management agencies strongly restrict access simply because the task of completing an environment impact analysis is too great a burden for the managing offices. Unfortunately, this also reduces competition and innovation in the guiding industry, and limits the business viability of small guiding operations. Stratiform benefits from having some certification based access, holds some of our own CUAs/Special Use Permits, and maintains relationships with certain larger mountain guide services in order to "Guest Guide" with our own guests through their permits.