SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Jason George, a Santa Barbara local and former TRI Club athlete, is celebrating his 25th year serving as a guide for his TRI Mountaineering backpacking trips.
From Feb. 11 to Feb. 13, George guided a group of eight people on a three-day winter backpacking trip through the snowy Western Nevadas out of Huntington Lake.
George guided the group -- which included two boys aged 9 and 10, four high schoolers and two parents -- for a no-electronics, three-day-long outdoors trip.
The name "TRI Mountaineering" came to George because of his time as a triathlete. He said the mission for his guided trips is to "Give it a TRI with 3Ts- T-ime, T-eamwork and T-ransformation."
On this most recent trip, George guided his group through the winter environment by showing them skills such as how to build "snow kitchens" and "snow caves."
"We hiked and skied in about 1.5 miles into the Western Sierras," said George. "We set up tents, built a snow kitchen area to cook on, a center hang out spot with a campfire having S’mores at night nestled above the Tamarack Creek. On the second day, all of us climbed up a mountain with our alpine touring skis, had lunch and skied down. This was the first time skiing for some of them. The high schoolers built a snow cave and slept in it on the second day."
George said he has been backpacking with his sons from a young age, and that he believes these trips help spread motivation and inspiration for exploring the outdoors.
"COVID has isolated us," said George. "I want this to excite people and bring people together. It builds relationships as it has done for my two sons; my oldest has been on 30 backpacking trips and 11 of them were winter backpacking trips. I truly believe that these trips has brought our relationship closer."