Robert Link and early Mountain Hardwear
In the spring of 1992 I was hired by Ian Cumming to guide a private Denali expedition. For this type of high end trip I would need to work with the best guides I could find so I asked Win Whittaker and John Cumming to assist me on the climb. I first realized that this was no ordinary trip when Ian invited the team of guides to go buy clothing and equipment for the expedition with him in Seattle.
We started in the North Face store and picked out items that we thought would work well for Ian. He then told us to go and get the same items for ourselves. I balked and told Ian that we already had gear and I didn't want to waste his money. He explained that his prior experience with me on Aconcagua had been that I had some trick gear that he didn't so he was going to ensure that didn't happen again. We ended up spending over $4000 in about an hours time. Needless to say this was very unusual for a mountain guide, I was beginning to sweat profusely and it wasn't from the weather conditions. We followed suit at Feathered Friends and then to top it off Ian bought a $30,000 rock he saw in a street store window. All that kept rolling around in my head was "who is this guy?"
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