Ogden-based Bear House Mountain Guiding offers climbing and backcountry ski guide service

Wednesday , October 19, 2016 - 2:03 PM

Stephanie Chambers Outdoors Correspondent

The mountains surrounding Ogden are beckoning. But before crossing that out-of-bounds ski marker or taking on a new climb, adventurers should be educated in safety, skills and techniques that can facilitate a good, safe adventure. And that’s what Bear House Mountain Guiding, a newly opened Ogden-based climbing and backcountry ski guide service is offering clients.

During the on-season, the husband and wife-owned business offers group clinics on specific skills and safety, as well as personalized, customized adventures for individuals.

“We want to help get people outside, and get them out climbing and skiing, because climbing and skiing, we think, is pretty awesome,” said Susan DeBruin, co-owner with her husband Derek, of BHMG. “We also want to help people who are already climbing and skiing to meet goals they wouldn’t be able to meet on their own.”

DeBruin said that she learned the value of hiring a guide and attending clinics when she first learned to climb. For years, she had plateaued in her climbing, going out with friends, hitting the same climbs, never improving.

“The summer I started climbing with guides, I went from having made no progress to making more progress than I’d ever made, total. It’s amazing how much you can learn and progress in your activity with a guide.”

She and Derek were both certified guides when they moved to Ogden two years ago, but with the birth of their first child, Susan wanted to move into more of a managerial role. Derek still maintains his certifications and goes out as a guide while she manages the business from home. Besides wanting to grow the climbing and skiing community, they wanted to fill a need for certified guides in the Ogden area.  

“Derek saw a lot of new, young guides that could really benefit from having a professional guiding service to launch their careers, and I needed some kind of employment that would work well with motherhood,” Susan said. 

BHMG currently employs six guides with specialties ranging from single-pitch instructors to wilderness first responders to certified avalanche instructors. DeBruin said they specifically hire only guides and instructors who have been certified by the American Mountain Guides Association for the terrain in which they work.

“In addition to a pure safety factor, a guide can accelerate your learning,” Susan DeBruin said. “Basically, when you work with a guide, they can teach you exactly what you want to know, and need to know, to do anything you want without the guide. Instead of spending years figuring it out watching Youtube videos or from friends that may or may not know how to do it safely, you can learn it in a clinic or class.”

For its weekly climbing clinics BHMG provides not only the instruction but also the equipment needed. For the ski clinics, equipment is provided by the client.

The DeBruins have worked with and owned other successful guide services back East, but Susan said they love the Ogden outdoor community and the fact that the mountains are right outside their door.

“There’s such an opportunity here for outdoor pursuits of every level,” Susan said. “Today I wanted to walk up to the trailhead with my kid. All I had to do is step out my door to get outside and into some beautiful mountains. Besides that, there’s plenty of opportunity for crazy, epic, extreme adventure. That’s what I love about Ogden. No matter where you’re at, you can get outside and do something at your level.”

For more information on upcoming group clinics or to schedule a guide for a customized adventure, visit the calendar on http://www.bearhousemountainguiding.com/. Rates for courses and clinics listed on the website range from $100 to $500.

This weekend, Oct. 22-23, BHMG will be hosting a women-only climbing clinic, guided by Azissa Singh, one of just a handful of certified women climbing guides in the U.S. For more information, contact Susan DeBruin at 803-351-2573.

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