Featured Guide: Joe Crawford

 joe on the north arete of bear creek spire

joe on the north arete of bear creek spire

The IAG team is truly amazing and every so often we just have to show them off! This month we will be featuring Joe Crawford. Joe came to us from Shasta Mountain Guides a few years ago and now is one of our lead full times guides! This past year, Joe has been busy working hard taking two AMGA courses and guiding two Mexico Volcano Trilogy trips.  His final Mexico trip is this week! Folllow the adventure on instagram @international_alpine_guides and @joeonsnow

We sat down with Joe last week and asked few questions about what he's been up to: 

How long have you been guiding and what is your favorite terrain/trip to guide?

I got my start guiding on Mount Shasta in 2011 with Shasta Mountain Guides. I can’t imagine having a better place to learn the ropes of guiding than on one of California’s best mountains for skiing and glacier climbing. Moving to the Sierra and California Alpine Guides has been a dream come true. Guiding and climbing in the world’s best range for rock climbing and skiing has been a dream come true. My absolute favorite route is the North Arete of Bear Creek Spire; several pitches of stellar 5.7-8 ending with a tunnel-through move that gives way to the most classic ridge climbing imaginable!


Have you recently taken any courses?

This past summer I took part in the Alpine Guides Course with the American Mountain Guide Association. This course focused on techniques to move safely and quickly through complex alpine terrain. It has paid huge dividends in my personal and professional climbing. At the end of this month, I will be taking the Ski Guides Course in Jackson Hole, WY. I am really excited to expand the range of my AMGA training and learn more about making backcountry skiing safe AND fun!


What are some of your personal outdoor goals and what have you been doing to accomplish them?

This last summer felt like a springboard for my personal climbing goals in the Sierra. This coming summer I have my sights set on a few goals that will hopefully come with some epic sunrises and mind-blowingly-good ridge climbing. The first is to do a single day link-up of Temple-Gayley-Sill-Polemonium-N. Palisade-Starlight-Thunderbolt: this 3-mile section of ridge reaches five14ers and  two 13ers and starts off with 2,000’ of 5.8. Hopefully this gets me in shape for a single-day push on the Evolution Traverse, an 8-mile ridge that tackles eight 13ers and difficulties up to 5.9.

What is your favorite piece of gear and why?

Well, it’s winter so I can’t imagine going anywhere without my Rab Neutrino Puffy. I’ve had this piece of gear for 5 years and it has barely shown any signs of wear. Not much gear seems to hold up to the demands of daily use and abuse of guiding, but every piece of Rab gear I’ve owned has been outstanding. Here’s to another 5 years of loving how warm this jacket keeps me in the coldest, harshest storms the Sierra Nevada has to offer!


If you had to give one piece of advice to a first-time client what would it be?

If there is one thing I wish I knew when I began climbing in the mountains, it would be that they are indifferent to our experience or goals. As climbers and skiers, we should not base the value or quality of our experience on the “success” or “failure” of a trip. Every trip, whether we reach the summit, or just camp, has untold opportunity to teach us something profound about ourselves, the mountains, and our place in the world. The opportunity to spend a night or a week in the mountains is one that should not be taken for granted nor diminished because the original goal is not reached on the first attempt.