Eastern Mountain Sports Convergence (and Schools Training)

I know I blogged last week about the cool commitment EMS has to training its store employees though the new “Schools to Stores” initiative. That initiative is more of an on-going effort, like the 10 free employee lessons our store guides get to take every year. However one of the largest annual training events of the year happened to land right behind it, so bear with me while I chat about how awesome this company is yet again…

On Monday 50+ employees from across the EMS’s chain of 68 stores, from Virginia to Maine, traveled to Mount Washington Valley for 3 days of camping, rock climbing, vendor villages, product demos, free swag, and slideshows from some of the country’s greatest climbers! That same day 3 small groups split off to backpack the Northern Presidentials while the rest settled in at Great Glen for the next couple days of cliff-side training.

On Tuesday reps from Petzl, Black Diamond, CAMP, Five-Ten, and Sterling, La Sportiva, and Scarpa, ran round-robin clinics at Cathedral Ledge educating the store guides on product use and giving everyone a chance to get hands on. From climbing shoes to advanced hauling systems and fixed line ascension everyone got involved.

After a full day of knowledge saturation the store guides returned to the evening festivities at Great Glen with a vendor village, scrumptious catered BBQ from the Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery, and slideshow from world famous climber Cedar Wright!

Busy North End

Busy North End

Fixed Rope Ascension, aka "Jugging"

Fixed Rope Ascension, aka “Jugging”

Petzl Anchor Central

Petzl Anchor Central

Petzl gear talk with Dave Karl

Petzl gear talk with Dave Karl

Free swag from Petzl!

Free swag from Petzl!

On Wednesday EMS Climbing Guides from North Conway NH, Lake Placid & New Paltz NY, Boston MA, and West Hartford CT gave clinics on advanced anchor building, climbing movement, multi-pitch skills, and fixed rope climbing (LOL improvised Lhotse-face on Whitehorse) at 7 different stations. That evening wrapped up with another great slideshow from one of MWV’s own famous climbers, Janet Bergman.

While the Convergence ended for our store guides this was the first time in years we had just about our entire Climbing School staff in the same town so Charlie, Keith, and Eric organized a great climbing guide training day the next day.

Starting the day at the Classroom at Cathedral

Starting the day at the Classroom at Cathedral

Some small group chat

Some small group chat

Some fancy rope work practice

Some fancy rope work practice

Guess what kind of snake this in in the comments if you read this far...

Guess what kind of snake this in in the comments if you read this far…

Some guide-to-guide short-rope practice

Some guide-to-guide short-rope practice

Some mock guiding up Upper Refuse

Some mock guiding on Upper Refuse

I got a lot out of this entire week. I got to see yet again how committed EMS is to it’s mission statement. I got to see old friends from around the industry from store guides to gear reps, pro-climbers, and retired climbing guides. I learned 2 more ways to tie a clove hitch (I now know 5). I learned a great short-rope trick that involves a tree. But I think best of all I got to know some of my fellow climbing guides who work in other locales a bit better. Coming together, sharing ideas, a pitch or two, a quick lap up a classic climb at lunch time, a trail run I would later regret, some guide tricks, a mug (or three) at The Moat, a few funny stories, fewer scary stories, and a healthy bit of debate on gear preferences made for an awesome couple days of guide related work in an otherwise pretty slow time of year. La vie est belle!

About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
This entry was posted in Professional Development, Rock Climbing, Self-Rescue. Bookmark the permalink.

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