“Looking for a female ski mountaineering guide,” the NW mountain guides information exchange message read, and it was written by my good friend Sheldon no less. I emailed her immediately saying I was interested, even before I heard what the job was.
Sheldon and I met during our Level 3 avalanche course and exam five years ago. Since then we have been climbing in the desert, steep skiing in Chamonix, and have supported each other through our shared guiding lifestyle.
The project was inspiring. She and her friend, Lindsay Mann, whom I had not met yet, wanted to ski University Peak in the Wrangell-St. Elias, and they were bringing along a photographer/videographer, Krystle Wright. I was hired as the guide for Krystle, and became a member of the team.
After “meeting” Lindsay and Krystle over Skype, the team seemed like a great match, and the logistics were off and running.
On May 12, as we flew by University, and its steep, blue face, we had to admit to ourselves that it was out, with some disappointment. It had been a very low snow year in Alaska, some were saying a 20 year low (yet to be confirmed), and it showed on the steep south faces in the range. The disappointment was short lived however, as we landed at our base camp for the next two weeks; a tongue of the Barnard Glacier.
We skied. We went climbing. We had incredible weather. We were humbled by some big Alaskan faces. We ate good food. We laughed. And then we skied some more.
“I WANT that!” Sheldon yelled on the flight out of the range as we passed by University again. I have a feeling we will be back…
More to come in the next several months including an article, and a film. Keep checking back for updates on our story!