Ever heard those stories about a postcard someone mailed, and you got it twenty or thirty years later, like a postal time machine? Something like that happened the other day, when my former NOLS student Dave Clark mailed me a brochure for a guide service I co-owned, from 1976!
Around 1972, alpinist and ski mountaineer Steve Shea acquired a “fresh start” outfitter permit from the United States Forest Service, Aspen district. A short time after that he and I went into a business partnership. We thus owned the first “official” mountain guide service in Aspen. Looking back, I can only chuckle at the hubris in the brochure copy, for example: “(Lou) has totally devoted 10 of his 23 years of life to all aspects of mountaineering.” I can’t get the smile off my face. Wow, a big ten years, I was so seasoned…
Steve and I loosely based the business out of a ski shop in Aspen called Sporthaus Lindner (last time I looked is now a T-shirt shop), owned by an alpinist skier who understood alpine guiding. We’d hang out there on summer afternoons after taking folks out for rock climbing classes. We had a few climbing books and some gear strewn about to make things look like we thought a guide bureau should look. When I got bored I’d scoot around on my skateboard and eventually head back out for an evening bouldering session or a few pitches at Gold Butte rock garden. It was a sweet time.
To the best of my knowledge, the outfitter permit that Shea acquired back then has lived on (they’re difficult to start fresh in this area). It was eventually acquired by Dick Jackson, owner of Aspen Expeditions international guide service.
Perhaps Dick should resurrect our motto: “Our staff has over FIFTY years of experience!”
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.