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The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Grades

This page is under construction!  Check back soon for updates. There are lots of different styles of climbing and places where people climb in the world, so it's natural to have different ways of grading...

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    North Cascades Guided Alpine Climbs 2024

    2024 North Cascades Guided Climbing Dates

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        Mt Blanc Gouter Route Summit

        My first trip to Mont Blanc this season was via the Gouter Route and began in a rainstorm.  Not exactly how anyone wants to begin a trip, but with hut reservations at the Tete Rousse and Gouter Huts and an improving forecast, we made moves up the mountain.  
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          Temple Crag: Classic High Sierra Alpine Climbing

          When the weather is nice in the High Sierra Alpine, there's no better place to climb than Temple Crag.  With huge alpine rock routes spanning well over 1,500', Temple crag boasts some of the longest continuous climbing in the High Sierra. The 4 major routes on the north face of Temple Crag, known as the Celestial Aretes, range in difficulty and length. 
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          Mt Shuksan Fisher Chimneys: Small Mountain, Big Punch

          For a relatively small mountain, Mount Shuksan packs a big punch. Stretching only 9,131’ above sea level, one might easily overlook this gem of the North Cascades. Luckily for Mt Shuksan, mountain climbing is more than mere altitude.
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            Summit on Mount Rainier

            Blackbird Mountain Guides made the summit of Mount Rainier during the Rainier Summit & Skills Expedition on July 20th. The summit was made during the 5 day skills seminar & after a number of days of mountaineering skills including crampons, ice axe arrest, glacier travel, knots, anchors, crevasse rescue & ice climbing
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              Tocllaraju: Our Final Climb in the Cordillera Blanca

              We woke early, knowing that if we wanted a chance to summit Tocllaraju, we were in for a long day.  The morning started off like the evening: clear, cold and still. As we gained altitude on the glacier, the winds picked up and soon gusts were blowing snow into our faces and pushing us around.  As we started the first steep pitch of climbing, the wind hurled loose snow grains from the surface down the slope into our faces and eyes, causing us to pause and shield ourselves from stinging ice pellets.
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                The Ishinca Traverse: Peak 3 of 4, Cordillera Blanca

                After a wild and windy summit on Urus Este, we were feeling well acclimatized, and ready for our next objective: the Ishinca Traverse. This is a classic climb in Peru's Cordillera Blanca and offers incredible views of Ranrapalca, Ocshapalca, Tocllaraju, Palcaraju and our last peak Urus Este.
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                  The Ishinca Valley: Urus Este, Nevado Ishinca and Tocllaraju

                  After acclimatizing and refreshing ice climbing and mountaineering skills on Yanapaccha, our team took a well deserved rest day in Huaraz to prepare for our next objective: The Ishinca Valley. The Quebrada Ishinca, as it is known in Peru, is one of the Cordillera Blanca’s most famous valleys and is home to a slew of classic climbs from easy glacier ascents to bold, technical lines.
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                    Success on 17,913' Yanapacha - Cordillera Blanca, Peru

                    100% Success on 17,913' Yanapacha - Cordillera Blanca, Peru Two days ago all members of the Blackbird team stood on the summit of Yanapacha in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. The weather was fantastic and the climbing conditions were fun and engaging, making it an unforgettable day.
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                      Our Teams are Acclimatizing in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

                      Yesterday we started the process of acclimatizing in the Cordillera Blanca in Huaraz, Peru. We're preparing our bodies for the altitude we’ll experience while climbing peaks Cordillera Blanca, including one over 6,000m (almost 20,000'). Acclimatization is important for safety & performance in the Cordillera Blanca.
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                        Blackbird Peru Teams Have Made It To The Cordillera Blanca!

                        Blackbird Peru Teams Have made it to the Cordillera Blanca! Today, we boarded our Mercedes Sprinter for the long drive north to Huaraz, Peru, the gateway to the Cordillera Blanca. After a nice breakfast with fresh eggs and tropical juice, we boarded our shuttle and started the long journey to Huaraz.
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                          Blackbird Teams Land in Peru!

                          2022-06-15 Today our team arrived safely in Lima, Peru for this year’s Cordillera Blanca climbing trip.  We’re attempting to climb 4 peaks, up to 6,000m, over the next couple weeks including Yanapacha, Ishinca, Urus Este and Tocllaraju.  The climbs involve glacier travel, steep snow, steep ice and moderate rock climbing at high altitude and they’re all located in one of the world’s most magnificent ranges: Peru's Cordillera Blanca.

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                            Where is the best place to learn mountaineering?

                            So, you’re wondering: where is the best place to learn mountaineering?  We’ve got some great ideas on what makes a mountain a good place to learn mountain climbing.  We'll also dive into what it means to climb in good style and the skills mountaineers should look to build as they broaden their tick list of peaks and routes.
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                              The Rest Step: An Essential Climb Technique

                              From simple hikes to standing on top of Mount Everest, the rest step is the most important skill you can employ to reduce energy output and improve your chances of success. For long, endurance based climbing and ski mountaineering objectives  It is essential for efficient movement on terrain with any sort of incline. Our in depth video and step by step instruction walks is a great "How To" for the rest step.
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