Want to hear the real story of our engagement? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I knew I wanted to propose on the summit of Cho Oyu, but when I got sick at advanced base camp, I thought there was no way I would summit. We hiked down to basecamp, and when I felt good enough to get out of my tent, I decided I needed to propose, in case my time in Tibet was over. Rob and I took a short hike to a vista draped in prayer flags, with Cho Oyu in the background. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I had asked for permission to marry @rob.lea from his mom before we left for Tibet. I said, I know it’s untraditional for the woman to ask, to which she said, “No, it’s the family tradition. I proposed to Jim, Rob's dad.” That's when I knew I had to do this. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀So at the vista, I got down on one knee, popped the question, and he said yes! We agreed to keep it secret, in case I could attempt the summit. I think that gave me the energy I needed to recover and try again. It was a huge boost, and after another day of rest, we went back up the mountain together, with love. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Beauty does not equal worth. Getting to camp 2 from the summit of Cho Oyu, I looked my worst but felt my best after accomplishing one of my biggest dreams. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀After a recent panel discussion about women in the mountains, a man in the crowd asked me what dads could do to support their daughters. My response: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Don’t tell her she’s beautiful first. Tell her she’s strong, determined and capable of far more than she could ever imagine. Don’t lead with comments on her looks, her beauty or her youth. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Young women and girls in our society spend so much of their lives hearing about looks first. We become conditioned to equate our value with our beauty. As a society, we need to stop leading conversations about women with critiques of their personal appearances. Comment below if you agree!

It takes all the same skills/mindsets/attitudes to become an activist as it does for adventure. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I had an awesome time doing my Activism+Adventure talk at the @alpenglowsports speaker series in Tahoe last week. In one night, we raised about $30,000 for @protectourwinters (and I felt like a rockstar on stage with the cool, over the ear microphone). My heart is filled with gratitude for everyone who attended and donated to support POW! Thanks to all the volunteers who makes it happen! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I know these aren’t some sick powder shots, but this work means as much to me as any big line I ski. I love the adrenaline rush of being on stage, but even more, I hope to inspire the next wave of environmental and human rights activists! I am in the midst of launching my own foundation to continue growing this side of my work. More to come…Photos: @rokisphoto

It was a day dreams are made of in the Wasatch… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Tomorrow, I’m off to Tahoe to speak about ski mountaineering and activism! Check out @alpenglowsports for more info. I hope to see you there. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Other upcoming events: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Feb. 9 Squaw Valley. I’m guest guiding with @alpenglowexpeditions! See the link in my profile to join us. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Feb. 11: Holladay, UT. @rob.lea and I are doing our Cho Oyu slideshow and the Utah premiere of our film, Turquoise Goddess about our trip at @rocksteadybw. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Feb. 14: Taos, NM. B Inspired Festival. I’ll be sharing the stage with fellow @patagonia ambassador @forrestshearer at 3:15 pm to discuss mobilizing against climate change through sport. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀It’s going to be a whirlwind couple of weeks here! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to connect with old friends and new. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photo: @leecohen_pics

I don’t post perfect photos and I’m not a perfect person. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I’m learning more everyday about how best to use my platform to create positive change in the world. Sometimes we may not agree and that’s ok. What’s not ok is name-calling, profanity and using hateful, demeaning language. I’m here to listen and learn and I read all your comments even if I don’t respond. I have every right to moderate comments on my posts, and inappropriate comments will not be tolerated. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀On a personal level, I’ve never been motivated by “just skiing” and mountaineering. That’s not what my page or my brand are about. Skiing and mountains have always been a way to talk about deeper social and environmental issues. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I wanted to say thank you to my followers who stay with me on this journey. I see you and I appreciate you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Skiing supports my mental health. Today, these turns were much needed. Photo: @brodyleven

This SuperBowl Sunday, I #TakeAKnee to support football players who are bringing awareness to police brutality, racism, and power inequality. I support the leadership of @kaepernick7, who said he was taking a knee to "stand with the oppressed. This stand wasn't for me. This is because I'm seeing things happen to people that don't have a voice, people that don't have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and affect change. So I'm in the position where I can do that and I'm going to do that for people that can't." Racism is a big problem in America. It's uncomfortable to talk about. But we cannot afford to be silent. As white people, we need to use our platforms and voices as allies and supporters of these movements. We live in a great country, but we can and must do better, for each other, and to honor our country's greater Democratic ideals of liberty and justice for all. #BlackLivesMatter

Outdoor retailer is all wrapped up, and it was my best @outdoorretailer trade show to date. I kicked it off with a pre-OR slideshow and film at @neptunemountaineering with @julboeyewearna and @fattire and I couldn’t believe the turnout of over 300 people. It warmed my heart and I am so genuinely grateful to everyone who came. Thank you for supporting me. Next, I spoke at a @protectourwinters event with Colorado Governor @jaredpolis, @outsidehilary, @clare_gallagher_runs, @alpinist007 and Alyssa Caddle. We ended the show by showing our Cho Oyu film at the @winterwildlandsalliance @backcountryfilmfestival! What a whirlwind of a week. Still buzzing from all the excitement! Thanks to everyone who came to the show, took meetings with me and worked so hard to make it happen. I know it’s not an easy thing to pull off. Photos: @david_crothers @mthurk @rob.lea

Want to ski with me in the Squaw backcountry on Feb. 9 and help me raise money for my Everest climb and ski? Join me for a guided day of backcountry skiing in Squaw Valley’s renowned Nat Geo bowl with @alpenglowexpeditions ! Link to sign up below or in profile. Hope to see you there! #bigmountaindreams https://alpenglowexpeditions.com/blog/caroline-gleich-squaw-backcountry-ski-day/Photo: @mikumerikanto

Announcing the new Caroline Gleich x @julboeyewearna family series goggle designed with illustrations by @simon.charriere! Last spring, I visited Julbo's international headquarters in France to design a custom goggle and I am so excited how it came out! It is inspired by stories of big mountains, from the Wasatch to Chamonix. This is a dream come true. It will be available in stores next fall, but in the meantime, one lucky winner will get a pair! To enter, follow @julboeyewearna, @carolinegleich, and @simon.charriere and post a picture about your mountain inspiration tagging #bigmountaindreams, @carolinegleich and @julboeyewearna in the caption. Winner will be announced next Monday 2/4! Contest limited to residents of the USA.

Who else loves snow as much as I do? Stay tuned for a big announcement Monday! #bigmountaindreams @julboeyewearna @lekiusa @patagonia_snow @movementskis Photo: @louisarevalo

“I think getting married and someday having a kid are the scariest things in the world. I’m absolutely terrified.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀@galestraub from @she_explores: “It’s funny to hear you say that because you’re planning on attempting a summit of Everest this year.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Me: “Right? That’s like a month long, it has an end date and marriage and children, that’s such a long commitment and it’s very difficult to reverse. It brings out a lot of my own personal challenges for sure…Relationships are a really hard thing. I think it’s good to have a healthy level of respect for the kind of challenge that commitment represents.” Listen to the rest of my podcast interview with @she_explores via the link below or in my profile! https://she-explores.com/podcast/trust-timing-ski-mountaineer-caroline-gleich/

“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
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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!
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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
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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
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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!
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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.
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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
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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!
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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
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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
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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
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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!
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Wait for it… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀When sharks attack. (We call it a “shark” when you hit a rock in the backcountry. @rob.lea = shark bait.) Video and editing: @confessionsofaskibum The bases of his @movementskis are so strong, they barely had a scratch.

Snow changes everything. I’m so happy about this early season powder! Photo: @crossroadstudios @lekiusa @patagonia_snow @movementskis

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_

Impatiently waiting for winter… photos: @libbyellisphoto •@keen @lekiusa @patagonia_snow

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.