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A Letter from Our Guide

VetEx Ice Climbing PhotoRather than try to sum up how awesome of a week we had last week with our friends at Veterans Expeditions and Conrad Anker, I figured I'd share with you all our guide's letter to our big team! Many thanks to The North Face, Petzl, Marmot, Black Diamond, and The Sierra Club Foundation for making it all happen!--Stacy Bare

Hello to all,
To  bring veterans to my home turf was an honor and I want to thank all of you for making it happen!  The flag you gave me remains folded perfectly in its triangle form.  I wanted to hang it up but wondered if I could ever get it back to that nice fold?
The veterans 2013 Hyalite trip is currently one of my best guided/instructional trips to date (it even surpassed VetEx / Sierra Club September 11th, 2011 Grand Teton).  The thing that stands apart from these trips is the enthusiasm, determination, appreciation, honesty, respect, and interest of the group at large.   It was wonderful to see the development of each individual climber through out the duration of our 5 days.  The evolution of skills and confidence was blatant from day one with the general lack of confidence to day 4 where individuals were embarking on multi-pitch outings, climbing steep ice pillars, mixed routes, learning to correctly place ice screws, etc.  In short, identifying personal goals and challenges and then over coming those very cruxes.    
Through out the week the level of joy derived from reaching ones personal goals as well as from the group camaraderie that developed off of the ice made for a very unique group dynamic.  It seemed apparent to me that every one thoroughly enjoyed their time in Hyalite, which in turn made the entire trip incredibly rewarding for me.  
Working with veterans makes me realize the direction I want to take with my guiding/instruction and perhaps with my own personal guiding business.  The added educational component makes my job so much more than guiding;  it is passing on knowledge and passing on a love for the outdoors, exposing the challenges found in the mountains to a group of eager individuals.  Individuals who like many of us, find/discover an unprecedented connection with the simple challenges and simple (albeit immense) awards that can be drawn from a few minutes, hours, days or maybe a lifetime amidst the vertical world.  
Thank you all once again for bringing such a positive energy in the Hyalite Canyon for the week.
Topping out in Hyalite
I definitely see this past week as a complete success as each of you left with the skills and confidence to make climbing a major part of your lives whether it be on ice or on rock.  Even if many group members never choose to climb again I hope that this trip has opened eyes to what is possible.  For after all if a hairless five fingered mammal can some how ascend water locked in its solid state you would think anything could be possible.
Here is to reaching for the "impossible" and making it possible!

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