“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”-MLK Jr. Photo: @mikumerikanto In all honesty, I had my quote and photo all queued up ready to post first thing this morning. Then, I read several insta stories from POC I follow asking for white people to do something beyond sharing a quote. The past two years have been eye opening as I’ve become more aware of the racism that exists in our country and in the world. To celebrate MLK Jr. day, I made a donation to @outdoorafro to support the organization’s leadership in making the outdoors more inclusive. Be sure to check out their page to follow all the cool stuff they are doing! #MountainsAreForEveryone
Who’s going to watch the Super Blood Wolf Moon tonight? My fiancé, @rob.lea and I met on the night of a lunar eclipse in October 2014, and lunar eclipses have always held a special place in my heart. I met Rob shortly after my friend @liz_daley was killed in an avalanche. The spring before she died, she and I watched a breath-taking lunar eclipse on a glacier while snow camping and shredding in Alaska for two weeks. When I look up at a full moon, I always feel connected to those I’ve loved, whether they are with me physically or in spirit. I hope the clouds clear up enough for us to catch a glimpse of tonight’s rare lunar event!
Today, we removed a half ton (580 lbs) of trash in one hour at @KEEN ambassador summit day two. I’m grateful to be an ambassador for a brand that puts their values into action and cares for people and the environment. #BetterTakesAction #KEENambassador With @meg_haywoodsullivan and @theoregondesert
I’ve been working hard on my 2019 plans, and I’m excited (and terrified) to announce I’ll be taking my skis back to the Himalayas. To Everest/Chomolungma/Sagarmatha, to summit and then ski the North Col. Between that and planning a wedding, I’m going a little crazy. It’s a lot. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to pull it off. But I’ve learned we have deeper reserves than we think, and sometimes it’s good to bite off more than you can chew. #bigmountaindreams @keen @clifbar @patagonia_snow
Promo: fellow @lekiusa athlete Mikaela Shiffrin inspires us all. To celebrate her wins, LEKI is giving away some awesome gear, all season long! Enter to win by visiting your local ski shop that has a life size @mikaelashiffrin display, take a selfie with Shiffrin and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #LEKISHIFFRINSELFIE. Every time Mikaela lands on the podium, one hashtag user will be selected to win $250 worth of LEKI gear! To quality for official entry, make sure you also tag @mikaelashiffrin, @lekiusa and the name of your local shop.For more info, follow @lekiusa!
The trailer from our Cho Oyu trip is live, watch the entire trailer on YouTube via the link below or in my profile, and stay tuned for a release of the longer length film in late January 2019! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3wHIA_ZUMqcHuge thanks to @austinmitchellgoering and @ktnornor for their incredible editing skills. Filming at 8000m was a huge challenge. I couldn’t look at the footage for two months after I got home because I was so disappointed that I blew the shots. Turns out, a few of the shots worked out. Thanks Austin and Katie for finding the diamonds in our raw videos.
I always want to look at the mountains through the eyes of a student who has much more to learn. It was fun to follow @emiliedrinkwater ice climbing up the Great White Icicle in my 8000m boots (that are a size too big) and my Petzl gully lightweight axes today. Good training for things to come… One of the most common questions I receive is, “how do I get into mountaineering?” There are so many different ways! A few places to start: join the @americanalpine club and attend a Craggin’ classic clinic, or go to an ice festival and take a class. Read “Freedom of the Hills” or other instructional books about mountaineering. Hire an @amga1979 certified mountain guide to teach you specific skills for a day. Ask someone in your community who has done a route you want to do if they will take you with them next time. And go climb a mountain, because the best way to learn is by doing. It’s a lifelong process of learning and enjoyment. I hope my account inspires you to get outside, life a healthy, active lifestyle and protect the places we love to play. #BigMountainDreams
Wishing a happy birthday to my bestie @brooke.froelich (and fellow Capricorn). There’s something so special about the bond women share in the outdoors. Seeing Brooke as a mother has given me an example of how I’d like to parent someday: prioritizing time in nature, shared family experiences and always, on my own terms. Love you, Brooke, and can’t wait to see you soon!
It’s just a hard thing in life to be true to yourself. I think that’s the hardest thing of all. So often in life, we’re ruled by all of these external forces, by our family’s expectations or our partner’s expectations. Even with Cho Oyu, one of the hardest things about it was just telling my parents I was going, because I was so worried about their reaction and how they would cope while I was on the mountain.Excerpts from a recent interview with @adventurejournal by @shawntesalabert. Read more via the link below or in profile: https://www.adventure-journal.com/2018/12/ski-mountaineer-caroline-gleich-is-open-about-well-everything/Photo: @jo_savagephotography
Have you ever been on a mountain so big it casts a triangular shadow on the horizon at sunrise? This is a special moment for any mountaineer- it’s often the coldest part of a climb, yet you’re comforted by the first rays of light (after a long, dark night) and you know the warmth of the sun will be touching you soon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀On January 29, I’ll be sharing stories and a video from Cho Oyu at @neptunemountaineering in Boulder, CO, and doing a fundraiser for my next project. Check out the link below or in my profile for tickets!https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-caroline-gleich-presented-by-julbo-neptune-tickets-54319515132
My whole life I’ve been an underdog. I’m the smallest kid in a big family. I didn’t grow up skiing or climbing competitively. When people look at me, they don’t exactly think see a competent ski mountaineer or Himalayan climber. When I fail at something, I often feel like I’m living up to people’s pre-conceived notions (and my own internalized notion) of my inadequacy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀This year, I’m letting go of those stories that don’t serve me and my purpose and I’m going forward in making my biggest dreams a reality. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀The only limits on what you can achieve are the ones you impose on yourself. Here’s to making bigger goals than ever in 2019! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photo: sunrise at 8000m on Cho Oyu, a moment I’ll never forget. #bigmountaindreams#mountainsareforeveryone
Today is my birthday! Happy New Year’s Eve to all of you. 2018 was unforgettable- I summited 72 peaks, near and far, including the 6th highest peak in the world, with 489,704 human-powered vertical feet of uphill (which is equivalent to climbing about 100 flights of stairs a day for the entire year). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀But by far, my favorite moment of the year was proposing to my best friend, @rob.lea, and having him say yes. We have big plans for 2019, and I can’t wait to say “I do!” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I’m also grateful we’re at a time in society where I could ask for Rob’s hand in marriage. To other women who are thinking about popping the question- there is nothing wrong with proposing to your man, and for speaking up and asking for what you want. Only the insecure person is emasculated by a woman who speaks up and asks for what she wants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Thank you all for your love and support! I can’t wait to keep sharing mountain adventures in the new year!
Smiling in the face of a -30°F windchill on the Superior ridge line this morning. We bailed on skiing the face of Superior due to wind-loading concerns but still enjoyed a morning walk about in the Wasatch, on Eastern Shoshone, Ute and Goshute land. There’s nothing quite like a cold slap of wind in the face to make you feel alive! I love these cold, winter mornings, and it is good training for future plans in the Himalayas.Photo: @rob.lea @patagonia_snow
Merry Christmas, from @rob.lea and me. We’re happy to celebrate our first (and hopefully only) Christmas as fiancés and are excited about getting married in 2019! Sending big love to you all, my extended Instagram family.
Can I get some love for Mrs. Claus? Santa gets all the credit, but Mrs. Claus is a behind the scenes hero, making sure the presents go to the right people and wrapping them all too (she’s been pulling all nighters for weeks now). She does a lot more than baking and cleaning, and it’s time we recognize her! She’s tired of Christmas being a boys club, and has decided she’ll be making more appearances in the years to come, both with Santa and on her own. Merry Christmas everyone! Photo: @leecohen_pics
Stoked for more storms ahead! No one captures the essence of powder in photos quite like @leecohen_pics. It was a treat to slash some turns for the camera this morning. #bigmtndreams
The first day of winter is here! To celebrate the Winter Solstice, I’m asking you to consider joining the @winterwildlandsalliance, an environmental non-profit that works to protect access to public lands for human-powered snow sports. Visit the link below or in my profile to #keepwinterwild. https://winterwildlands.org/solsticePhoto: @jo_savagephotography
Cho-Oyu mini series: sunset at camp 2 at 23,300’/7,100m. I could write a novel about this trip. There’s so many details I want to tell you about the experience, the challenges, the highs and lows. Instead, I’m going to let this photo speak for itself. It was a sunset that I won’t soon forget. The best part was getting to share it with @rob.lea. Cho Oyu mini-series brought to you by @keen and @clifbar. #KEENambassador @clifbar #FeedYourAdventure #bigmtndreams
After days of travel, we arrived at basecamp at 16,400’/5,000m and I had full cell phone coverage! It was one of the things I appreciated about traveling in China, especially when I got sick. Being able to FaceTime my parents gave me a huge boost. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀One of the hardest challenges came before the trip, when it came time to tell my parents I was going to the Himalayas to climb an 8000m peak. I was so worried about their reaction, and all the sleepless nights I would cause them while I was gone. I felt guilty, shameful and my anxiety about telling them was so crippling, I waited until mid-summer to tell them, just a few weeks before departure. Trips like these are trigger points in my family after we lost Martin, my half-brother, in an avalanche when I was 15. Losing a family member in the mountains is something that has changed us forever. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀When I told my mom, she understood. She accepted my decision, even though I’m sure it wasn’t her first choice. I am so grateful for her support, acceptance and unconditional love. It took me a long time to learn in my own relationships that you can’t control someone. You have to let them go when they need to go, and trust that they will find their way back home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀And never hold back in telling someone how much they mean to you, and say I love you freely. ️️️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Cho Oyu mini series brought to you by @keen. #keenambassador ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀photos: @rob.lea
Fewer than 10% of climbers on 8000m peaks are women. Needless to say, I was so grateful there was another woman on the trip. Christina Ochs, in the far right of this photo, is an alpinist, badass and one of the few other female climbers on the the mountain. Nyimi, in the middle, was our Tibetan liaison. In Tibet, all Westerners are required to have a Tibetan liaison travel with them. Nyimi is a young, ambitious woman, fluent in multiple languages, and we instantly bonded. She taught me the most important teachings of Buddhism are kindness and compassion, and I will always remember the time I spent with her and the way she greeted the world with a smile in her eyes. I hope that Nyimi and I cross paths again. #chofosho #mountainsareforeveryone Cho Oyu mini series brought to you by @keen #KEENambassador
Cho Oyu is located on the border between Tibet and Nepal. On our trip, we stayed entirely in Tibet (the summit is on the border). Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, and where we started our trip. It is one of the highest cities in the world at an altitude of 12,000’/3657m, and is home to the Potola Palace (pictured here), which was the residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀One of my favorite parts of the entire trip was visiting the Potola Palace and the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, which housed over 4,000 monks at its peak, and contains a gold-gilded Buddha that is 85ft/26m high (we couldn’t take pictures of it, you’ll have to go see it for yourself). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Unfortunately, Tibet isn’t an easy country for Westerners to visit. You have to get a special permit, and you can’t travel independently. If we are able to pull together funding for Everest in 2019, I will be delighted to revisit Lhasa and continue learning about the history and culture of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Cho Oyu mini series brought to you by @keen. #KEENambassador
Cho Oyu mini series: Climbing a big mountain doesn’t happen overnight. I thought about and researched options for climbing Cho Oyu for years, exploring a few different options for my first 8000m peak. In the end, since it was our first time to such altitude, we decided to go with a higher level of support and logistical coordination than we typically travel with in the mountains. It wasn’t an easy decision, but knowing how quickly things can go wrong at high altitude, I felt it was the right decision for our first time to give us a safety net. I’m conservative in how I approach the big mountains because I want to live to climb and ski until I’m 100! I love it so much! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀It took a huge weight off of our shoulders in the planning and the lead-up to our trip, and when things did go wrong on the mountain, I am so glad we had the support of the @alpenglowexpeditions team and logistics. Also, being with the guided group reduced some of the strain on my relationship with Rob, because we had other people to interact with (especially when I was so sick). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀We are so grateful for all the hours spent with Jaime Avila- @solitude66, the guide from Ecuador we got to climb with, pictured here. By the end, we felt like family. Hope to see you again soon, Jaime!Photo: @rob.lea ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Thanks to @KEEN and @clifbar for supporting this mini-series and trip. #KEENambassador #FeedYourAdventure #sponsored #bigmtndreams
Cho Oyu mini-series, brought to you by @KEEN @clifbar and @hypoxico: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Six weeks before leaving for Tibet, we started pre-acclimatizing at home in our @hypoxico tent. This pre-acclimatization period allowed us to do what @alpenglowexpeditions calls a “rapid ascent” of the mountain. 8000m peak expeditions can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Sleeping in the tent allowed us to do the trip in under a month. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀At first, we loved the novelty of sleeping in the tent! But as we got higher, it got harder and harder. One crux was when we started sleeping at 14,000’/4,267m and another harder crux came for us at 17,000’/5,181m. 17k felt like a ceiling for me, and hitting the plateau with that altitude foreshadowed what was in store for me on the mountain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photos: @rob.lea ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀puppy in second photo: @bella.versus.world #KEENambassador #FeedYourAdventure #sponsored
Cho Oyu mini series, brought to you by @KEEN and @clifbar. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Climbing and skiing Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world, has been a goal of mine for many years, but it was one that was always difficult to pull the trigger on. I kept thinking of all the reasons I couldn’t do it. Finally, this year, we decided to go. Maybe all the hesitation before was because I wasn’t ready in some way. Yet, it never feels 100% like the “right” time to go on a trip like this, and so many people deny themselves their deepest dreams (I admit to being guilty of self-sabotage in my life), only to live a life of quiet resentment. There’s something to be said for doing those things in life you really want to do. So we went… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Video: flying into Lhasa Tibet by @rob.lea, me in the center, regretting letting him sit by the window. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀As I prepare the rest of this mini series, I’m eager to hear your questions for me about the trip! Let me know in the comments! #bigmtndreams #KEENambassador #FeedYourAdventure
Today is International Mountain Day and it is a reminder of how much #MountainsMatter. It’s more than tourism and outdoor recreation. Mountains are early indicators of climate change. They provide 60-80 percent of the world’s freshwater. Mountain areas are home for almost one billion people, and half the population depends on them for water, food and clean energy. Let’s not forget to speak up and be the voice of the mountains. Photo: the east face of Aoraki/Mt. Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand. In the second slide, you can see our group retreating (tiny dots circled in pink), not finding the snow conditions we desired to ski the face. @annakeelingguiding @cody_hughes91 Photo: @rob.lea
I have a soft spot in my heart for guidebooks…and the authors behind them. Creating mountain guidebooks isn’t something people do to get rich. It’s a labor of love that ultimately benefits the community to inspire, motivate and help people get outside. It’s comforting to know that there are people out there who are as obsessed with skiing and looking at mountain lines as I am. Getting to ski around the Lake Louise backcountry with @confessionsofaskibum was a pure delight. He’s put so much time, money and energy into his beautiful guidebooks to the area. I highly recommend checking out his feed and picking up a copy of his backcountry ski guidebook so he can write more. #bigmtndreams
When we have a close call in the mountains, I believe it’s important to own our mistakes and learn from the experience. It isn’t easy to write about, but by being self-reflective and transparent and sharing the lessons learned, we all benefit and it makes our whole community more resilient. Yesterday, I unintentionally remotely triggered a D1.5 size avalanche while skiing in the Banff backcountry with @rob.lea and @confessionsofaskibum. No one was caught. I posted a note about the incident on my Facebook. You can read it via the link below or in my profile. Some takeaways:Be aware of how the presence of a camera changes risk. Communication between group members is key. Speak up if you feel uncertain. Radios are a good idea. Low danger does not equal no danger. I’m glad no one was caught and it was a good reminder early in the season to evaluate decision-making and to keep improving how I manage risk in the mountains and move through avalanche terrain.Photo: @confessionsofaskibum Check out his page for the entire sequence of the avalanche. https://m.facebook.com/notes/caroline-gleich/december-1-2018-unintentional-remotely-skier-triggered-avalanche-near-lake-louis/1975878002507040/
If you zoom in, you will see the biggest grin on my face. Day 17 on skis for the 18-19 season!#I came up to Banff to speak at the Decentralized Energy Forum #DEF2018 and had an exciting day yesterday doing a keynote speech where I shared some of the parallels between managing risk in the mountains and the business arena. Public speaking is a different kind of adrenaline rush, and it’s one I enjoy very much. Huge thanks to all the conference organizers and attendees for bringing me here! We’re taking advantage of the opportunity to be in Banff and will be adventuring in the area for a few more days! Today, we linked up with several local crushers that I’ve been following on the gram for awhile (@kyleetothohler, @shittymountaineer and @makkybobby) to have them show us around their backyard. I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel through the backcountry with folks who know the mountain so intimately, and to get to know another ripping woman! Kylee is on the Canadian Skimo team and is one of the fastest women in North America. I loved getting to know her, Kieran and Michael and I can’t wait to see more of the mountains on skis during this trip! #bigmtndreams Photo: @rob.lea
Never doubt the power of speaking up to make a difference in the world. In 2015, I attended a Park City Council meeting where the council was voting to set a goal of net zero carbon emissions for municipal operations by 2022 and citywide by 2032. A group of us spoke up in support of the resolution, and it passed. At the time, it was North America’s most ambitious community-wide climate goal. A year later, they invited other communities to join. Salt Lake, Moab and others followed. This is already beginning to radically change our grid in the state of Utah, and the energy landscape of the West. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Tomorrow, they are meeting once again to consider accelerating the timeline by two years to achieve the net zero goal by 2030, and if you’re local to Park City, I’m inviting you to attend the meeting, speak up to support the initiative (there will be time for public comment) and to offer my support! We’re seeing the devastating effects of climate change and anything we can do to accelerate a transition to 100% renewable will help avoid catastrophic outcomes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀When: Thursday, November 29, 2018 between 6-7 pmWhere: City Council Chambers, 445 Marsac Ave., Park City, Utah 84060 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I wish I could make it! Let me know if you need any info or support to help facilitate your attendance. Huge thanks to @parkcitygovt for setting this example and to all the climate activists who have helped make this happen! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photo: @louisarevalo
Love in the Himalayas. Climbing Cho Oyu, with @rob.lea, my significant other, wasn’t all kisses at 21,000’. Going into the big mountains as a couple can either break you or bring you closer together. When you’re in love with your partner, it changes how you assess and manage risk. For us, our relationship dynamic tends to change our risk management in a good way. As a couple and a climbing team, we are more careful, conservative and willing to walk away when we are together. One of the things I love so much about my dynamic with Rob is that he respects my expertise, listens to my opinion and trusts my intuition in the mountains. He’s not afraid to be led by a woman. There are only a handful of people I could spend a month in a tent with, and he is at the top of that short list. That doesn’t mean there weren’t significant conflicts and challenges along the way… Come hear more! Rob and I are speaking with a handful of other local crushers at the @ascentbackcountry slideshow at the Park City Library on December 5. Link to event info below and in profile! Hope to see you there. https://m.facebook.com/events/2826428864049367/
I can’t believe it’s been five years since this photo ran on the cover of @powdermagazine. I wanted to share some of the back story. This shoot came about when a when a website (not Powder) reached out and asked me if I wanted to be featured in an online gallery. They sent me some sample images. In the shots, the women were in bikinis in a pool, in short skirts and shorts. I quickly understood what they were looking for. The phenomenon of sexualizing female athletes isn’t unique to skiing. Sex and skin sell. It gets clicks, it gets advertiser dollars. Yet, it left me with an uneasy feeling I couldn’t ignore. The snowsports industry and media have a long history of objectifying women for commercial gain. Every time I’ve been asked to do one of these shoots, I insist on being photographed fully clothed and even better, skiing. That said, if a woman wants to take her clothes off and be photographed, she should. But it should be because she wants to, for herself, and hopefully for her profit, not for someone else’s. For the shoot, I spoke up and expressed my concerns to the editor and photographer. I told them I was ok to shoot some shots in the lodge booting up (fully clothed), but that I wanted to make sure we got some shots on the mountain. I also asked for oversight in the final edit of the photos and the captions so readers would learn more about my story. It would have been easy for the photographer and editor to write me off as too difficult or tough to work with and find someone else, but they stuck with me. After the online gallery ran, the photo was submitted to Powder where it was chosen for this cover and won photo of the year. I love this photo because it celebrates a powerful femininity. I stuck to my guns, we nailed the action shot and it catapulted my career to the next level. I learned to trust my intuition and speak up. My aim in sharing this story is to tell up and coming female skiers that they don’t need to take their clothes off to make a name for themselves in the ski industry. And that strong men support strong men. When we listen and collaborate, we go far. PS: today is the last day to vote in the powder awards! Link in profile. ️
One of the highlights of my season last year was skiing the dome on Mt Superior. It’s this steep, rock ramp on one of my favorite mountains in the Wasatch. This particular feature rarely comes in to condition for skiing. Despite the lean snow year last season, the conditions lined up after a spring storm left a coat of wet, sticky snow on what is normally a rocky slab. It’s a line I’ve always wanted to ski, and I was happy to have ticked it! Can’t wait for more of this! There’s still time to vote for your favorite skiers in the @powdermagazine Reader’s Poll! Check out the link in my profile. #bigmtndreams @movementskis @lekiusa @julboeyewearna @prethelmets @patagonia_snow @clifbar Photo: @acpictures
This is one of my favorite shots from our trip to Cho Oyu in the Himalayas. I love how you can see the compression of snow that creates layers of ice, formed over hundreds of years. It’s views like this that make my heart race and put a spring in my step. -We spent this past weekend doing a deep dive in editing the photos from our trip. It’s taken me a minute to go through them because the photos always pale in comparison to my memories. Climbing at these high altitudes was so challenging; taking photos and videos added another layer of complexity. Now that some time has passed, I’m getting excited about the photos again and telling the story in an upcoming slideshow! Stay tuned…Photo: @rob.lea #bigmtndreams
It’s getting to be that time of year…time to vote for your favorite skiers in the @powdermagazine #powderawards! I’m honored to be nominated with such a talented group of athletes. Head on over to the link below or in my profile to cast your vote. https://www.powder.com/powder-awards/vote/Photo: @_zeugswetter_
A little over four years ago, one of my best friends, Liz Daley (pictured here) was killed in an avalanche. I couldn’t bring myself to write about it on the actual anniversary of her death. She still visits me in my dreams and my heart aches, I miss her so much. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Liz was a talented climber, mountaineer and snowboarder. I instantly connected to her, and she gave me an vision of a woman who was strong, feminine and a natural leader. She showed me what I wanted to become. I looked up to her like a big sister, and I still find myself wondering, would she be proud of who I’ve become and what I’ve accomplished? I want to keep her memory alive and inspire other women to be leaders in the mountains and live their dreams the way she inspired me.To celebrate and remember Liz, the @americanalpine and Jones Snowboards are offering a snowboarding-specific grant to encourage women to pursue human-powered exploration of the winter wilderness. The application period for the grant is open unitl November 30, 2018. Apply online via the link below or in my profile: https://theamericanalpineclub.formstack.com/forms/jones_adventure_grants_18
We have just enough snow at a few higher elevation locations in the Wasatch to make some turns, and I couldn’t be more delighted. Throughout the years, my relationship with skiing and the mountain has evolved and grown. I am always looking for a new challenge, and I want to keep learning. I like to let the mountains speak to me and follow what sets a spark in my heart. Going from being a weekend warrior to a dedicated resort and powder skier, to a backcountry skier to a ski mountaineer isn’t something that happened overnight. It’s taken me many years (I’m older than I look) of patience and growth!As I’ve delved deeper into the world of ski mountaineering, I've become more fascinated with skimo racing. It's a small niche of the sport where you go up and down the mountain as quickly as possible. It's funny to me that this is something I would be excited about because I do not come from a competitive background in any sport. But it's so fun and exhilarating! And I love the community of people! And there's something about the mindless repetition of training that is therapeutic and healing. Going up and down the mountain over and over, by myself or with others gives me time to process emotions. It appeases my inner perfectionist, and I aim for efficiency with every step, transition and turn. I don't know exactly where this journey will take me this season, but sometimes, it's ok to not know and keep going in the direction of what makes your heart sing. @lekiusa @movementskis @julboeyewearna Photos from a 9k Saturday training.day with @dr.hoffbank @jenhudak and many others.
I first met Shelma Jun (@shelmatic, founder of @heyflashfoxy) in Washington DC a few years ago. We had just finished two intense days of lobbying for public lands on Capitol Hill, and it was time to play. On a subway ride to the climbing gym, I expressed to Shelma my delight at how many different groups of people were represented in our lobbying group–especially women. She said something in response that has always stuck with me. Sure, there were people of color and women. But none of them were in positions of leadership. Before we give ourselves too much of a pat on the back, we need to look at who’s at the top.It’s not enough to have women and people from marginalized groups at the table. We need them in positions of leadership. Until then, we have our work cut out for us. I’m excited that there will be more diversity in Congress after the midterm elections. Yet we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in government. The same is true in the outdoor industry. Shelma is leading the way as the founder of Flash Foxy. Flash Foxy began as an online platform to celebrate women climbing with women and to be a place where women could come to feel inspired by and connected to each other. Now, she continues to bring women climbers together through a variety of events across the country. She’s an outspoken advocate for creating an inclusive climbing community where everyone can free to be who they are.I highly recommend following Shelma – @shelmatic and @heyflashfoxy. Photos by @Francois lebeau and @_drew_smith_#MountainsAreForEveryone
I ️ clean air, snowy winters, and protected public lands. Those are a few of the reasons I’m motivated to vote and participate in democracy as a citizen activist. Kudos to everyone who’s voted or has committed to voting tomorrow! I receive a lot of criticism when I speak up about environmental and social issues. And my philosophy is not to let perfect get in the way of good. You can sit on the sidelines and complain, or you can do things to make the world a better place. I like to do things.If you live in the Salt Lake City area, @healutah is having their fall party on November 8, and I highly encourage you to attend. I first learned about @healutah’s work when I was in high school after reading “Canaries On the Rim” and I’ve been big supporter ever since. Through their lobbying nights and other events, I’ve learned how to become an effective citizen activist. Follow their page and check out the link below and in my profile for tickets to their fall party:http://healutah.org/fallparty2018Photo: the talented @jo_savagephotography
I went to visit one of my favorite peaks in the Wasatch this weekend. I love those days where you get to spend the entire day on the trail. It feels so indulgent. I also broke 400,000 vertical feet of uphill for the year. And I took a good look around the mountains to see where the snow is lingering in the high alpine. I like to take a lot of photos and memorize where the snow is sticking this time of year, because any where there is snow is a possible starting zone for avalanches when we get more snow on top if it. It’s a good reminder to make sure to brush up on avalanche skills. Consider signing up for a class if you haven’t taken one in awhile. Check out avalanche.org and go to the “learn” tab, or head to your local avalanche center’s website for more options. Photo: @rob.leaPS have you voted yet?
There are few things I love more in life than climbing up a snowy mountain to ski down. I want to ensure future generations can have the same experiences. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀On Cho Oyu, I was surprised that we didn’t reach the snow line until 21,000 ft/6,400 m. As a citizen of the earth, I am concerned about climate change. Glaciers are receding at unprecedented rates. In my home state of Utah, more snow is falling as rain, and the ski season is getting shorter. I worry about more than my favorite pastime; I worry about the effects of rising sea levels, powerful hurricanes and access to drinking water (that comes from snow and glaciers). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀It is imperative that we vote for folks who will take action on climate. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀To help inform your voting decisions, check out the @pow_action_fund #VoterGuideBook via the link below or in my profile: https://powaf.civicengine.com/
Theres nothing quite like losing your ability to breathe to make you appreciate your lungs. This photo was taken right before I went on supplemental oxygen on Cho Oyu. I was so sick-maybe as sick as I’ve ever been. I knew I needed to descend to a lower altitude yet I was terrified that I wouldn’t even be able to walk myself down. I had no energy. At that point, I didn’t even care about the summit. I was in so much pain, all I wanted was to descend (I wanted my mommy), and as I fell in and out of periods of sleep, I kept dreaming about going home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀After I got down to base camp and started recovering, I kept going over the details of how I got sick and where I went wrong. It went beyond learning from a mistake; I was dwelling on it, and wasting precious energy I could be using to recover. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I came to learn, it doesn’t matter how you got knocked down. It’s how you get back up. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m grateful I had such an awesome team to take care of me and help advise me. I thought I was going home-I’m glad they helped me see recovery was possible. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀There will always be setbacks. It’s how you handle them that matters. You can give in to the overwhelming sense of hopelessness or you can rise up, stay positive and get back out there. Maybe it won’t happen right away-it might be years-but if you stay focused on the goal and play a long term game, it will happen.
We get by with a little help from our friends. One of my favorite parts of my Cho Oyu trip was seeing the yaks. The Himalayan yaks are impressive creatives. Both male and female yaks have horns. They grunt instead of moo. They are skillful mountain climbers and can navigate long stretches of talus at extremely high altitudes. As I start training for a new set of goals in the mountains, the yak will continue to serve as my inspiration. When it gets hard, channel your inner yak.
Follow your heart and take a stand on something that matters to you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀As I was putting together a slideshow about activism and adventure last week, I thought a lot about how I built my career and found my voice to speak up about climate change, public lands, gender equality and other issues. There were a lot of missteps along the way, places when I doubted myself and took a wrong turn. I didn’t always believe I could build a career as a ski mountaineer, much less, to merge that with the type of activism I wanted to do. I spent much of my early 20s doubting what I was doing, worrying that I should be getting my MBA or JD or some other combination of letters behind my name so I could make a difference in the world. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀But the pull of the mountains was too great, and when I’m climbing up to ski down a mountain, I know this is what I’m meant to do. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell her to trust her intuition and follow her heart to the mountains. Because when you’re acting out of love, you will bring positivity to whatever you touch in the world. Being able to merge sport and environmental activism is a lifelong dream come true. Trust yourself and keep using your voice, even when it’s just a whisper. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photo: camp 1 (21,000ft/6,400m) on Cho Oyu en route the summit. Captured by @rob.lea
This is my friend @katieboue. She is one of the most tireless advocates for our outdoor spaces that I know. It was her birthday this week, and all she wants is for people to pledge to #VoteTheOutdoors. @outdoorindustry has developed a Voter’s Guide to help you pick the best politicians to protect public lands – accessed via the link in my profile. I pledge to vote the outdoors, do you? Let’s make Katie’s birthday wishes come true.