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The Firn Line is a podcast about the lives of mountain climbers. Season One, stories from Alaska's mountains drops 3.3.2017

The Firn Line is a podcast about the lives of mountain climbers. Season One, stories from Alaska's mountains drops 3.3.2017
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The Firn Line is a podcast about the lives of mountain climbers. Season One, stories from Alaska's mountains drops 3.3.2017








S2:E10 // Learning To Fly: Pryce Brown

Growing up in the coastal town of Cordova, Alaska - Pryce Brown was exposed to the vast beauty of Alaska from a young age. Whether it was fishing, aviation, or later in his teens, backcountry skiing - Pryce was always drawn to the more adventurous side of life. • But it wasn’t until his college years, in the midst of a tedious engineering degree at the the University of Alaska Fairbanks, that Pryce found Speed flying - an extreme winter sport that involves a combination of paragliding and...


S2:E09 // The Quest: Malcolm Bass

On today's episode of The Firn Line, we'll get to know UK-based alpinist, Malcolm Bass. Over the course of a 30 year alpine career, Malcolm has pushed the limits of exploration of the mind, and the mountains. • From early caving expeditions in his university years, across unclimbed walls of rock and ice in the fabled Alaska Range, to a string of monumental ascents in the Himalaya, Malcolm epitomizes the character and spirit of a true alpinist. • I recently got a chance to talk with Malcolm...


S2:E08 // Shades Of The North Cascades: Nikki Frumkin

If you’ve ever spent time flying over, or travelling thru the pacific northwest, you’ve most-likely been taken by the monolithic glacier-capped volcanoes that dot the horizon line. Giants like Mount Rainier, Hood and Adams hold court over some of the most beautiful terrain in north america - and in doing so - form an inspiring backdrop for hikers, climbers and even artists - like Nikki Frumkin. • From an early age, Nikki always had an outdoorsy and creative side, blending a love for animals...


S2:E07 // Backcountry Master: Noah Howell

On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know legendary backcountry skier, Noah Howell. • In an epic career spanning over 20 years, Howell has established himself as one of North America’s most prolific and enduring backcountry masters. From early life-changing experiences in the Alps, thru a decade-long run of creativity at the helm of the infamous Powderwhore Productions, to a span of big mountain descents in Alaska, culminating in a recent ski decent of Mount Hunter’s west ridge...


S2:E06 // A Conversation With David Lama

On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know world-renowned and visionary alpinist, David Lama. • The son of Nepalese and Austrian parents, David was was born with an affinity for movement over natural terrain, and a deep reverence for the high places. As a youngster, Lama excelled at indoor and sport climbing, dominating the competition circuit, and honing his rock climbing skills to the highest standards. But eventually, a natural progression to the mountains occurred - which has...


S2:E05 // Finding Patagonia: Nancy Pfeiffer

On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know legendary Alaskan outdoorswoman, and wilderness educator, Nancy Pfeiffer. I first heard nancy’s name probably when I was around 17 years old. At the time, I was what you might call a neophyte alpinist, and Nancy was a well-known skier, mountaineer and wilderness instructor in the community, which automatically made her a hero of sorts in my mind. Although we rarely crossed paths in the ensuing years, she was always on my radar, and...


S2:E04 // The Revelator: Eric Parsons

Every mountaineer has a favorite mountain range, a place that for whatever reason centers them, gives them a piece of mind, creates a sense of belonging. For some, it might be a well-known place like the Sierras: an area of impeccably clean granite towers, speckled with pristine, aqua-colored alpine lakes and a constant supply of near perfect weather. For others, it might be the Swiss Alps, a range steeped in mountain history and culture, with a list of bold and ultra-classic lines too...


S2:E03 // New Terrain: Adam Campbell

Growing up in the west African country of Nigeria, Adam was drawn to movement and athletics from a young age, whether it was team sports like soccer, or more solo endeavors like surfing. But it wasn’t until he moved to Canada as a teen, that he began to dabble in the sport that would ultimately shape the course of his life: running. • In his twenties, Adam narrowed his focus to multi-sport races like triathlons, and he even earned the title of Canadian Duathlon National Champion in 2004. But...


S2:E02 // Seeking The Sublime: Klara Maisch

Alaska is a vast and wild place; a constant fluctuation of movement and changing landscapes. Rugged mountains are carved by massive, chaotic glaciers - and lush, brown-green valleys are cut by powerful silt-laden rivers. During the spring and short summer seasons, the landscapes come alive; the lowlands teeming with wildlife and colorful and fragrant boreal forests. Then in the winter, a darkness falls, blanketing the ground with snow and ice, and I quiet that you can sometimes feel, more...


S2:E01 // Alaska Vibes: Conrad Anker

Over the course of an distinguished 30+ year career, Conrad Anker’s adventures have taken him from the bigwalls of Yosemite, to the icy flanks of The Alaska Range, The Himalaya and Antarctica. Although Anker is probably best-known for discovering Mallory's remains on the north side of Everest in 1999 (or his stunning climb up Meru), it’s his earlier adventures in Alaska that I’ve always been fascinated with. • That’s why I was excited to sit down with Conrad this past February, to talk about...


The Spaces Between: Ryan Johnson

Sometime in the days after March 5, 2018 Ryan and his partner, the brilliant Marc Andre Leclerc, lost their lives after completing the stunning first ascent of the north face of the Main Tower in The Mendenhall’s, just outside of Juneau, Alaska. • The route, which was a dream line of Ryan’s, epitomized what he looked for in alpinism: Elements of the unknown, physical and mental challenges, as well as an aesthetic, direct and pure line. One can only imagine what it must have felt like for...


A Conversation with Joe Stock

On this special bonus episode of The Firn Line, I sit down with Alaska-based mountain and backcountry ski guide Joe Stock. I first met Joe on the Kahiltna Glacier back in 2002, and was immediately taken with his enthusiasm and infectious positive attitude. That's why it was nice to sit down and catch up a few months ago. Our conversation covered topics including Joe's early experiences guiding, his backcountry ski guidebook "The Alaska Factor", as well as his thoughts on the importance of...


Desert Delusions: Friendship and Failure on The Thunderbird Wall

In March 1999 I found myself wedged in a sandy chimney, fully-gripped and trembling, five hundred feet off the deck. Me and my partner Scott were attempting to climb The Thunderbird Wall, a grade VI backcountry behemoth in Zion National Park’s Kolab Canyon. The face, which is among the highest sandstone walls in the world, had only been climbed twice since Jeff Lowe and Cactus Bryan made the first attempt in 1971. Scott had been to Zion once before. I had never stood in a pair of aiders. In...


S1:E22 // Alaska Roots: Danielle Varney

Growing up in the Yupik village of St. Marys, Danielle Varney was raised on a steady diet of winter camping, and long summer days spent working on the family’s Yukon River fish camp. These core experiences instilled a work ethic that first carried over into college athletics, and ultimately, mountaineering. Since that time, Danielle has climbed and explored big Alaskan mountains including Denali, Mt. Drum, as well as a harrowing life-and-death experience on the icy crown of The Chugach ,...


S1:E21 // The Firn Line "Live": Roman Dial

On December 2, 2017, I had the great privilege to sit down in front of a live audience at the Alaska Rock Gym, and talk with renowned Alaskan alpinist and explorer, Roman Dial. We had a candid and highly-entertaining conversation that spanned topics including his early years in Fairbanks, his ambitious climbs in The Hayes Range in the 80’s, as well as his forays into hell-biking, tree climbing, and packrafting in the 90’s and beyond. • In some ways, Roman is a larger than life character,...


S1:E20 // Short Ropes: Podcasting Is Like Climbing

On episode 20, I look back on 2017 and season one of The Firn Line, and give thanks to all the folks who have been with me along the way. Also, we hear a sneak peek of the first ever Firn Line "Live" with Roman Dial, which happened earlier this month at the Alaska Rock Gym. Finally, I give my rundown on why podcasting and climbing are essentially the same thing.


S1:E19 // Commitment, Vision, Trust: Jack Tackle (Part 2)

Many years ago, I saw Jack Tackle give a slideshow in Anchorage. I was in my early to mid-twenties at the time, and mountain climbing was the only thing that mattered. That evening, I listened intently as Jack described icefaces, corniced ridges, and run-out pitches that had long captured my imagination. But I was also impressed by the life-wisdom Jack imparted. His laid back style, coupled with a philosophy about the importance of vision, commitment and trust, resonated in a way that made...


S1:E18 // Commitment, Vision, Trust: Jack Tackle (Part 1)

On episode 18, we’ll delve into the first of a two-part series with venerable North American alpinist, Jack Tackle. With his unmistakable baritone and classic unassuming style, Jack is the epitome of a true Alaskan “hardman”. His gutsy first ascents up climbs like the Isis Face on Denali, the Diamond Arete on Mount Hunter, and the Elevator Shaft on Mount Johnson, have cemented his place in the storied history of Alaskan alpinism. • Recently, I got to sit down with Jack at his Castle Valley...


S1:E17 // A Higher Calling: Brad Meiklejohn

It’s no accident that Brad Meiklejohn makes his home in a beautiful alpine valley outside of Anchorage, Alaska. An avid pack rafter, climber and skier, Brad has spent much of his life exploring Alaska and other remote corners of the world. But beyond his accomplishments in the outdoors, the mountains have always been a sacred place of reflection and self discovery, attributes that can certainly be traced to his deep family roots. • As a kid, Brad followed his grandmother and cousins on...


S1:E16 // Short Ropes: Committed On The Cassin

In June 2017, Aaron Kurland and Sam Novey planned to attempt the formidable and rarely-climbed Father and Sons wall, but when they found the face to be out of condition, they quickly turned their attention elsewhere. • The duo settled on the ultra-classic Cassin Ridge, a 9,000 foot spine of ice, snow and granite that snakes it’s way directly up the center of the south face. With a big storm scheduled to hit within the week, the duo planned a 3 day alpine-style ascent. Little did they know,...