What it’s really like to go up for a climb at the North Face
With many of the world’s most luxurious resorts situated near their fabled origins, travelers are often looking for an authentic and rugged experience – and the North Face has got you covered.
Staging tours of its famous Montana mountaineering camps, this famous branch of the Burton Snowboards Group has taken its spot in the spotlight of the minds of snow sport enthusiasts for decades.
Each of its multi-activity camps (with different themes each year) are packed with an intensive slate of activities, including ziplining, rock climbing, heli-skiing, golfing, mountain biking, archery, wildlife photography, diving, filming and wellness.
Each camp involves transportation, logistics, food, gear and at least one practice ascent before the guests reach their destination.
Leaving the walls behind and meeting with a group of experienced guides from the guide service Alain’s Tour (an elite one in its own right), the day really begins when the bus reaches the camp’s base, Haystack Rock.
With an opening summit of 4,277 feet, Haystack is one of the tallest points in the U.S. And starting here, the group will experience and learn about the north face of the mountain, the pinnacle of any alpine climb – which has been visited by climbers from around the world.
Thereafter, the expedition is broadened, with stops throughout the camp for dinner and afternoons dedicated to a bit of meditation, meditation with the wind, and retreats (that require sleeping bags, blankets and flat-soled hiking boots) to focus on Tai Chi.
Watch George take some time for reflection and yoga and also examine some of the rich heritage that the North Face has found at Haystack: the ruins of an American ferry, a 19th century adobe, and a sandstone glen.
It’s the true test of whether you can make it from the bus back down to where the group has parked, thanks to the gurgle of the waterfalls cascading from the summit.
Back at base camp, conversation will focus on how this is the true North Face experience, unlike the more high-tech camps that too often claim the title.
Next in the bus comes the final moments of an amazing and historic day on the real Mont Blanc with this group of adventurers.
Check out the little boy at the front of the bus with his crayons, using the guide’s iPad to draw, and then watch George do the same.
Just moments later, the bus will make its final descent along the public trail that leads down the Berniers Glacier, following the same route that one of the guides took over 200 years ago.
Their journey will also include the infamous Pit of the Pitons, a never-visited tunnel and huge chimney that emanates from its center and once concealed a ridge of ice that was lost to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
At the end of the day, back at the bus the group will be feted with a leisurely dinner and drinks with the guides before closing the camp in the evening with a concert by the talented local artist turned Banff Mountain Lab DJ, Eli Karlsson.
It’s been an unforgettable day of truly epic experiences that became one in the vivid imagination of one man; a modern-day version of Jean Pasquier’s photographs from the 1800s; an attempt to appreciate the incredible history and beauty of Montana’s majestic mountains; and to gain a better understanding of the dedication of Alain Steiner, who founded the North Face.
After the North Face, George will pass by a collection of other unforgettable history-based adventures that can inspire anyone to take the North Face life one day.
For further details, to book and to find out about other special offers, visit www.northface.com