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AMGA Courses

Linville Falls: The Story of a First Ascent

January 22, 2018 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses The Guides' Climbing Adventures

[caption id="attachment_1413" align="alignright" width="400"] Photo: Halley Burleson[/caption]

When Anthony Dercole was a teenager surfing in sunny California, he could never have imagined one day scaling a frozen waterfall. How he got from the beach to bagging the first ascent of Linville Falls, renowned for having the highest volume of flow in the area, was really less improbable than it seems.

After moving to Western North Carolina in 2007, Anthony got a job at a now-closed gym that happened to have a climbing wall. Intrigued with climbing, he began hiking to different outdoor climbing areas in a quest to learn everything he could about the sport. As with many beginning climbers, Anthony made lots of decisions that he now is just happy didn't have bigger consequences.

It was a chance encounter with AMGA Certified Rock Guide Ron Funderburke, who was working as a Guide at Fox Mountain Guides at the time, that not only changed HOW Anthony climbed but also shaped his career. What first began as a mentor relationship with Ron resulted in Anthony  pursuing professional climbing training through the AMGA and ultimately getting a job as an I




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Ice Climbing

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses Guiding

As the summer guiding season comes to an end, I finally have some time to write. Also my thoughts begin to wander towards what is to come. Most rock climbers are getting excited about the fall temps with drier air. Fiction will be plentiful and many projects will fall to those who have been training over the past few humid months. But for me, I am more excited about the cold temps that tend to follow the cool of the fall. I cannot wait for winter to get here.

I thoroughly enjoy climbing in the winter, particularly the ice climbing. I have been ice climbing since 2008 when I took a trip to Ouray, Colorado. There I was blown away at how much fun climbing frozen water can be. I loved it so much that upon my return to Illinois, I began scheming of ways to go back to Ouray. The plans were never put into action and I remained in Illinois for a few more years. During those years, I did begin to purchase boots, crampons, and ice tools. That same winter, the weather was cold enough to form some of the waterfalls at Jackson Falls into ice climbs.

The next winter I did my first ice leads in North Carolina and in New Hampshire. I was hooked. That next




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AMGA SPI student Zach Silberman

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

his Spring, on April 5-7, Zach Silberman participated in the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course with Fox Mountain Guides. Zach was a great student, and he documented much of his experience. Here is rare glimpse into the day to day insights and experiences of an aspiring single pitch instructor:

Day 1

Today we ventured to the base of Looking Glass, South Side. After a long but modest hike, we set up at the base of a slabbed out 5.10, a couple moderate crack climbs, and another climb that Ron selected to demonstrate the difference between leading a lead and instructing a lead.

Lesson 1: Organize the Locker Room.

Ron gave us a quick rundown of professionalism at the crag and to make sure clients understand the process.

Why wear a helmet?
How and where do I poop?
How do I belay?
What is a back up belay?

After the quick chat, he laced up and talked us through the climb to point out key cruxes and demonstrated proper hand, foot, and cam placement.

Once setting up a top rope for us to climb, Ron led us through the history of belaying. Beginning with the elusive butt belay, then the Munter Hitch, followed by the




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Karsten becomes first AMGA Certified Alpine Guide in Southeast

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses Guiding

Fox Mountain Guides strives to be on the pinnacle of the guiding profession. The founder of FMG, Adam Fox, came to Western North Carolina and saw a need for American Mountain Guides Association certified guides. Burton Moomaw and Bryan Haslam had become AMGA certified Level 1 Rock Guides (now Rock Instructor) in the 90’s and Adam decided he wanted to take the certification to the next level, the international standard.

Setting the bar high, Adam became the first AMGA Certified Rock Guide in the Southeast in 2001. A few AMGA certified Rock Instructors popped up following Adam's lead: Ron Funderburke, Patrick Weaver, Karsten Delap, and Swis Stockton; three of whom were FMG employees at the time of certification. With the continued education that FMG presented to its employees, it was no surprise that Karsten Delap would become the next AMGA certified Rock Guide with Lindsay Fixmer and Ron Funderburke following closely behind. The bar had been raised to its peak for rock guiding certification.

In the alpine realm, only two individuals in Western North Carolina had pursued any training: Stuart Cowles and Josh Whitmore, both taking the Alpine




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Ron Funderburke takes over as the AMGA Single Pitch Ins. Discipline Coordinator

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

Fox Mountain Guides Head guide Ron Funderburke took over the American Mountain Guides Single Pitch Instructor Discipline Coordinator position on Monday. This position puts Ron in charge of the direction of the program as well as the training for all the AMGA SPI providers across the country. Ron's extensive experience instructing in single pitch terrain as well as his back ground in teaching helped him secure this position. Fox Mountain Guides is excited for Ron and as always values his leadership to keep us on the cutting edge of guiding and instuction in the United States and the world. Here is Ron's statement to the AMGA membership:

With utmost excitement, I am pleased to accept the post as Discipline Coordinator for the AMGA SPI Program. The program has enjoyed some unprecedented successes since it's inception in 2008, and that is a credit to the excellent students, instructors, providers, and trainers. My fervent hope is that everyone out there is still as invested as I am. The front lines of American climbing instruction have always been the single pitch crags, and single pitch instruction is the face of our guides association. That was




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Tyrollean Makes the Red River Gorge SPI Assessment a Go!

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor assessment that was just taught in the Red River Gorge was a full-conditions course. Karsten had to set a tyrollean over the river because there was so much rain on the first day that there were flash floods!

Find out More about our AMGA SPI instructor programs.




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