The first ACMG ski guide course was about to start, the Alpine Skills and my instructor was no other then the legendary Chris Miller.
First glimpse I did not know what to think of him, he looked like one of those old rock stars that had somehow stopped in time, back when Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones where at there best. Here was I, a clean shaved European trying to make an impression on this guy, an avid climber and mountaineer who set many of the first accents in the Canadian Rockies. “Good luck with that!” I thought to myself.
Again I was wrong, I was not here to make any other impression than just proving to him that what I said on my CV was true and I could actually do the things I said I could. First and furthermost I was here to learn. Nothing else.
Many people think Iceland must be cold, well it isn't really. Its just very moist and often windy. Banff was dry, -25°C with moderate winds and I was wearing everything I owned, which unfortunately did not include a down jacket and what a great time to loose a filling in my tooth. The Columbia Icefield was even colder. However, whimpering like a little wuss over how cold you are is not an option. “Hey Chris, Its me, yes the guy who does not own a down jacket or thought of buying one, can you help me?”. Yeah right… Not going to happen! With nipples hard as rocks, drooling nose and the manhood of a elementary student I endured.
We practised crevasse and cliff rescue, short roping, anchor systems, walking in a rope and so on. I had done all of this before, many times and thought that I was fairly good at it. What I came to realise was that I actually knew something but in reality nothing compared with the depth of knowledge and experience as Chris. I felt really grateful for getting to have him teaching me.