Q&A with past client Adam M.

We caught up with Adam to ask him a few questions about his climbing and skiing career and how hiring a guide fit into his progression.

So first off, can you give me a brief synopsis of who you are and where you’re from? 

My names isAdamMuldoon and I am a 28 year old living and working as an construction estimator in Washington DC. I was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up between there and Kansas City after my dad was transferred just before I went to high school. 

How much is climbing/mountaineering/skiing a part of your life? How often do you get out? What discipline are you most psyched on? (big mountains, ice, rock, bc skiing, etc)? 

Ever since I graduated college and left Kansas the mountains have been a major part of my life. It first started when I moved to Washington DC post college and picked up climbing in the gym after seeing some people taking part in the sport at one of the local outdoor crags. It wasn't long before my curiosity and love for the sport took me outside onto local sport routes. That quickly progressed into leading trad routes, and I eventually found myself completely obsessed with alpine climbing not long after returning from a trip to the PNW with Brett.

Do you have a “most memorable” climbing or skiing day/trip?

To date my most memorable climbing trip would have to be my attempt on Mt. Denali this past summer with my former climbing partner Don Kettering. Don and I had been climbing hard together ever since sharing our first alpine experience while on a trip to Mt. Baker guided by Brent Butler back in 2016. After a year of planning, Don and I assembled a team of four amateur climbers who had never experienced high altitude climbing (ourselves included). After 19 days on the mountain we were able to put 50% of our team on the summit while me and another team member had to turn around at 19,000 ft due to inadequate boots and the threat of frost bite. Even though I was unable to reach the summit, I walked away from the experience with a new found respect and perspective for the mountains. I realized the importance and the magnitude small decisions can have while in the alpine. I learned how to listen not only to what my body was telling me, but what the mountain was telling me as well. 

What are your strong suits in climbing/skiing? 

I am not afraid to turn around and save my turns for another day. I think one of the most important things to bring with you in the mountains is the ability to decide when its time to throw in the towel. Coming home safe should always be priority number one. 

What are some areas you’d like to improve on or that haven’t come as easily?

Route finding and critical problem solving are two things that I can always improve on. These things are hard to teach in a controlled environment. You can read all the books and watch all the youtube videos you want, but there is no substitute for the real experience. Spending time in the mountains with individuals who know what they are doing and eventually learning through your own experiences is where you will gain the most useful knowledge in this sport. 

Would you call yourself a self-proficient climber/skier (able to independently plan and execute most outings that interest you)?

After four years of instruction and practice I believe that I have reached the point where I am efficiently and confidently planning and executing the majority of the trips I partake in. Not all of these trips end up being a success, but I come home having learned something new every time. 

If there are certain climbing/ski trips that you wouldn’t currently try to independently plan and execute, can you describe what they are? Do you want to be able to do these types of trips independently? If so, what is holding you back?

There are two types of trips that I would not feel comfortable planning independently, and the reason for that is my lack of experience in both areas of climbing. Those areas are big wall/aid climbing and high altitude himalayan climbing. I absolutely want to be proficient in both of these areas and am in the process of seeking out other people who have the neccesary knowledge and are willing to take the time to pass it on to me. 

What kind of trip did we do together?

Bret took my climbing partner and I on a 10 day climbing trip in the Pacific Northwest. The trip included everything from mountaineering on Mt. Baker, alpine rock climbing on Cut Throat Ridge in the Cascades, and multi-pitch sport climbing at some local crags near Washington Pass. 

What were you looking for when you decided to hire a guide?

Don and I were looking for one on one instruction from someone who had the same passion but way more experience in the mountains than we did. During our 10 day trip with Brent we bombarded him with questions and hypotheticals scenarios in order to pick his brain and absorb as much as possible of what he was willing to teach us. 

Would you recommend others hire a guide? Why or why not? For what purpose?

100%, without any question what so ever. It is only because of the instruction that we received from Brent that Don and I were able to have the success we did, not only on Denali, but on all of the trips we have taken to the mountains.

Thanks so much for taking to time to chat with us Adam! We wish you and Don a long and rewarding pursuit of your mountain recreation!