What’s with the Logo?

“The Man,” as we refer to him, was hand drawn by Gary Bocarde, the founder of Mountain Trip. We cannot confirm or deny that Gary based The Man on an illustration of how to rock climb up a chimney from a popular instructional book from the 1960’s, however, after he started using the logo, a friend asked Gary, a tall, swarthy guy with a prominent nose and robust mustache, why he had drawn himself? Gary swore he had not done so intentionally, and The Man has been the symbol of Mountain Trip’s laid back, approachable brand of professionalism ever since.

Mountain Trip is synonymous with Denali guiding. Born as a daydream of climbing big routes in Alaska, Gary started guiding on Denali in 1976 under the trade name of the climbing school he’d started three years earlier. When the National Park Service instituted a concession contract system, issuing 10-year contracts for guiding on the mountain in 1981, Mountain Trip was one of the original concessionaires.

By the early 2000’s, Gary was thinking about stepping back from running a guide service and wanted to spend more time cycling, skiing and climbing, so he made it known that he was looking to hand over the reins of the business. After what felt like courting the daughter Gary never had, two longtime Mountain Trip guides, Bill Allen and Todd Rutledge, took over the company in 2004 under the corporate name Mountain Trip International LLC, and moved the company’s headquarters to southwest Colorado. The deal was sealed when Todd and Gary climbed the classic El Capitan big wall route, Zodiac, over six days in the fall of 2003. (Yes, six days is a loooong time on Zodiac!) Gary had done the first ascent of the first three pitches with Charlie Porter in the spring of 1972, but had never completed the route, so when Todd asked him if he was free to go climbing, Gary suggested the route.

Gary made us feel like family, so it is core to our beliefs that Mountain Trip should always feel more like a family and less like a business. Over the years, we have worked hard to grow that familial spirit, and it’s something we regularly receive positive comments about in post-expedition surveys. Guides who feel close bonds with one another will go the extra mile to support each other on the mountain. Guides who feel valued, respected, and supported will return season after season, fostering a spirit of mentorship and camaraderie. Our logo is a daily reminder that we can do serious work with an air of levity.

Due to a set of Alaska-centric laws that gave preference to businesses that have owners that reside near Denali National Park, we formed Mountain Trip Alaska LLC with a longtime friend and fellow Mountain Trip guide, Joe Butler, to better ensure that we would be awarded another 10-year contract when the National Park Service held a competition for new contracts in 2017. Mountain Trip Alaska won the biggest contract the NPS offered and will be guiding climbers in Denali National Park and Preserve through 2028 as an authorized concessionaire.

Mountain Trip International offers guide services on each continent, and is the official booking agent of Mountain Trip Alaska. The two businesses share guides and other resources, which ensures that our climbers can access the almost 50 years of institutional knowledge that is baked into the Mountain Trip cake, whether they join us on Denali, on a half-day trip in Colorado, or on a Mount Everest expedition.

We’ve learned a thing or two over the decades, and this website is a way of giving back to the community that has been so good to us over the years. We hope you find the information we are sharing useful, and we encourage you to reach out to share your thoughts and ideas, or to ask questions as you pursue your own Denali daydream.

As Gary would say, “Ciao babies!”
– The Mountain Trip Team