Date of Surgery: 9/24/2012
Update (9/2013): One year after Mark's surgery, he has returned to guiding full-time and plans to work in southwest Colorado this winter.
I am the product of two great parents raising me in the Northwest. From even a young age the peaks and jagged ridge lines pulled my curiosity. Family ski trips where the beginning for my love and adaptation to snowy environments. These moments were fleeting then but became my foundation and nostalgia. I found rock climbing and mountaineering as separate entities. These activities would become the focus of all of my extra time as a young adult. After receiving my BS in Geology form Western Washington University, my first opportunity as a mountains guide was given to me at the age of 21 with the American Alpine Institute. This completed a full circle with the legacy of working in my backyard the North Cascades.
Today, I live and work in the Methow Valley of Washington and Southwest Colorado. I work full time as a guide for several outfitters and am the director of my own boutique guiding service The Mountain Bureau LLC. My work is quite various from Alpine guiding in Alaska, the North Cascades, and Alps; Ice guiding, backcountry ski touring, and avalanche education; and international expeditions. I also work with Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, Julbo, and Cascades Designs as an athlete and developer. I’m an active member of the AMGA, IFMGA, AIARE, and a member of the Certified Guides Cooperative Board of Directors.
I have had a diverse experience from ranger in Antarctica, leading expeditions in the Himalaya, exploring extreme relief of the North Cascades and the range of light in the High Sierra, fighting countless coastal storms on Rainier, swinging into the sticker blue ice of Colorado, Ski mountaineering in the Chugach, a student to three major snow packs, creator and director of ski and avalanche programs, breathing the thin air of 7000m, scaling the sandstone of the Southwest, and getting punished in the Alaska range. As a result of these experiences the clear delineation these sports fell away. Skiing blended with climbing and mountaineering with rock transforming to Ski mountaineering, Alpinism, and Alpine rock climbing.
Once my career was in full swing most of my time was consumed. Recently I have begun to focus more time to personal climbing and personal growth in alpinism. Every spring I dedicate 4 weeks to exploration and climbing in the Alaskan range. As a result my partners and I have completed many repeats of classic Alaskan objectives, established many first ascents, and summits of unclimbed peaks, and unexplored glacial forks.
Since working as an IFMGA guide I observed the deep culture of European guiding. Returning home I became dedicated to improving the industry by setting a high standard of my employers and guides that I contract to work with my clients. I created a new company the Mountain Bureau LLC that is focused on low ratio trips with credentialed skilled guides that make a living wage. I am a Board Member of the Certified Guides Cooperative and an active member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association. I’m very involved in protecting and improving my local crags and the protection of our resource that we have to recreate and last am dedicated to clients and high standards of style in the mountains.
Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan
On Sept 15th while guiding a client in the North Cascades this all come to a screeching halt. While crossing a creek I slipped on ice and injured my shoulder. An MRI would reveal a sublexed shoulder, partially severed bicep tendon, a deburred rotator cuff, and torn labrum. My steep climbing and short roping days were over. On a recommendation from a colleague I went to the Stedman Clinic. I was informed of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, the light in the dark. I was treated like a professional athlete and had the doctor to boot. This was a pivotal moment. I was able to work with my local therapists in Washington and Colorado too. My shoulder under normal treatment could have become a massive deviation in my life and profession. These groups of professionals had me barely break stride.
"If it were not for the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I would not be in this industry today as a guide."
- Mark Allen