The SIET instructors are clearly first-class alpinists, and dedicated teachers. All the lessons – from hard, technical details to the subtle nuances of life at altitude – were always delivered clearly, and with full explanations as to ‘why’. They were consistently able to anticipate the mistakes students would make, and instantly leverage them into learning opportunities – a hallmark of great coaching and instruction.
I came to the Ishinca Valley Expedition having a background in non-technical winter mountaineering in the northeast, combined with a few years of trad climbing. I’d never been above 6,500 feet. Now, I’m confidently planning my first independent alpine climbing trip – something I never could have done without SIET.
As an instructor for the ADK’s Winter Mountaineering School in NY’s Adirondack Mountains, I’m able to bring a lot more perspective to the program, and my students benefit from the instruction techniques used and learned at SIET. Not only were we learning new skills in Peru, but the SIET instructors peppered in tips about how to teach the skills to others, and this has been incredibly valuable to me.
Risk management at SIET was covered both as an independent lesson, and as a sub-text almost every day. As alpinists, we’re constantly identifying and managing risk in every planning decision, every technical system, every avalanche test, and the list goes on. SIET brought the ubiquity of risk into focus for me, and I now find myself using the vocabulary and framework of risk management in just about every decision I make in the outdoors.
My favorite aspect of the program was its immersive nature. Spending nearly a month in a foreign country, living, learning, and climbing with a small group was pivotal to absorbing as much as I could of the vast knowledge-base of our instructors. Before committing to an alpine climbing program, I evaluated dozens of options, and I have no doubt that I made the right choice with SIET.