How do you build a world-class program for the next generation of young climbers? Enter WMS Alumni and celebrated instructors from across the country.
Climbing is a year-round activity for interested parties at The White White Mountain School, so despite the fact that school has adjourned for a few months, it isn’t surprising that faculty, students new and old, and even some alumni have found their way back to West Farm Road and these beautiful mountains.
The White Mountain School’s White Mountain Climbing Camp is a renowned summer program for young adults ages 12 to 16 years. This year, two returning climbers (each 17) even found their way back to camp. “It is a climbing program, but we want to build a foundation of lifelong skills,” says Gabe Boisseau, WMS Science Department chair and White Mountain Climbing Camp Co-Director with wife, Joanna Boisseau (also a WMS faculty member). Gabe continues, “Our ratio is very small, just 3:1, which allows for lots of individualized instruction. We’re climbing places like the famed Whitney Gilman Ridge on Canon Cliffs, Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, Whitehorse, and Rumney Rocks.
The White Mountain School is an American Mountain Guides accredited business and the word is spreading quickly in the climbing world about both the quality of the summer program and the expertise of its staff. White Mountain School alumnus, North Country local and internationally certified climbing guidePeter Doucette ’98 returned this year to lend a hand. Peter operatesMountain Sense, a professional guide service that works with clients all over the world. Peter is joined at WMS by fellow alumnus and fellow WMS Mountaineering Award winner, Tanner Joyce from the class of 2012.
On having former White Mountain School students as staff, Gabe says, “ I am really most excited about having these alumni back on campus with us. Tanner really found his calling in climbing here. He is both a former climber at the camp and a WMS graduate. We haven’t had that kind of connection for our campers before, the connection between what they learn at camp and what they could learn at school here.”
“What’s more, this year we have both new and returning WMS students at camp. Rising junior, Ollie LaFlamme was here for the first week and he was able to do some climbs that take longer, that we just can’t get to during the school year. It was great to have Ollie here as a representative of the school, too. He really advanced his own skills, but he also shared his “school” perspectives with the other climbers. Additionally, two new, incoming students came to climbing camp this year. We have young climbers from as far away as Jordan. They also hail from California, the Mid-West, New York, Georgia and all over New England.”
Other notable White Mountain Climbing Camp faculty this year includeFreddie Wilkinson andJanet Bergman Wilkinson, both celebrated in the climbing world and the co-founders of Scarborough, Maine’s newSalt Pump Climbing Co. Freddie is also co-founder of Cathedral Mountain Guides, and the couple work together at CMG here in New Hampshire. Janet and Freddie’s accomplishments include a number of first ascents. Freddie is a recipient of two of the most prestigious climbing awards, the Robert Hicks Bates Award from the American Alpine Club (2007) and the Piolet d’Or from the Groupe de Haute Montagne (2012). Freddie shared an evening talk with our young climbers and spent some time working instructing them at Canon Cliffs.
They are joined by fellow well-known climbing instructors:
Alex Teixeira, from Mooney Mountain Guides
Alexa Siegel, from Mooney Mountain Guides and Cathedral Mountain Guides
Betsy Manero, Climbing Coordinator at Saint Michael’s College and Petra Cliffs staff member
Mike Thompson from Vertical Dreams Climbing Gym
Mark Scott from Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides
Michael Wejchert from International Mountain Climbing School
Hiapo Emmons-Shaw, chair of The White Mountain School History Department and a long-time climbing coach with the school.
Former White Mountain Climbing Camp instructors include:
Sydney McNair, Head Route Setter, Climbing Team Coach with Evo Rock + Fitness in Concord, NH
Emilie Drinkwater from Alpine Ascents International
Bayard Russell from Cathedral Mountain Guides