An Interview With Coby Jacobus, NEM Guide

Coby Jacobus – Mountain Guide, NEM

Coby Jacobus was on skis at 3, hockey skates at 4 and adamant at 5 that he preferred an adventure vacation over Disney World. He began alpine skiing in Vermont but transitioned to back country skiing to enjoy the solitude, challenge and untracked powder. He ran Division I cross-country and track at UNH and began enjoying the mountain year round upon graduation. His enthusiasm for the mountains is infectious. Coby enjoys big days in the backcountry, whether it’s linking several ravines in a single day on alpine touring skis, long mountain trail runs or multi pitch rock climbs. Nothing gives him more pleasure though than having his dog Miss Gracie enjoy these experiences with him.

What is your favorite climbing trip of all time?
Since I am a skier who climbs I am going to say it was a ski trip. In 2005 I skied the Haute Route from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. It was life changing!

I had never been to Europe before; I had never seen anything like the Alps! It completely blew my mind!

Dream climbing destination?
The Venturi Effect (5.12) on The Incredible Hulk, in California’s Sierra Nevada.

What is on top of your bucket list?
Ski: Bernese Oberland Haute Route Ski Tour – Grindelwald, Switzerland – Because this is true ski mountaineering! You are summiting 1-2 4000m peaks everyday. It requires every type of skill set you have acquired!

Rock: The Nose on El Cap in Yosemite N.P., CA – Because it’s the Nose!

What is your favorite aspect of guiding? How does it differ from climbing with friends?
Picture this: A bluebird day, you just completed climbing Pinnacle Gully and you stop to have a drink and quick snack. The air is still and you can feel the warm sun on your back. Just for a few moments we are both living the dream! Those moments with clients when we are just talking about nothing and taking it all in, that’s my favorite part!

When I am with friends, it’s all about moving fast and going big, covering lots of ground! We generally have our snack with a beer…sitting in the back of my Subaru in the parking lot at the end of a HUGE day!

How did you get started climbing?
Believe it or not, skiing got me into climbing! After nearly killing myself attempting to backcountry ski with a group of guys who “knew what they were doing”, I decided to hire a guide. We did an over night and skied the Gulf of Slides. The next winter I was in Chamonix and skied the Haute Route. I realized very quickly while in Chamonix that you needed more than just skiing ability. You need a whole bag of tricks including but not limited to ice climbing, rock climbing, anchor building, rope work, etc. I again went out with a guide and learned the basics of climbing movement, anchor construction, leading, etc….

What is something people do not know about you?
In 2008 I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure (kidney failure) due to an auto-immune disease. Twenty one months post transplant I ran a 2:41 marathon, roughly 6:09 a mile for 26.2 miles.

Who is your biggest supporter?
My family. My wife, Lisa, always supports me, especially my long days in the mountains, my crazy international trips and my need to nap after a 3 hour trail run. My dog Miss Gracie who is always up for a trail run on a rainy day. My younger sister who kicks my ass rock climbing and continuously pushes me to climb harder. My mother who basically does anything I ask of her when I need help and my father well…he gave me his spare kidney!!!

If you could you give one piece of advice for beginner climbers or those looking to push their grade what would it be?
Peter Croft says it best in a Reel Rock film when he and Lisa Rands climbed Venturi Effect on the Incredible Hulk, “There is no quick way to get good at it. It just takes a lot of practice!” This is so true! There are no secrets, its just takes hard work and time. Be consistent.