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The Firn Line

Updated 7 days ago

Sports
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A podcast about the lives of mountain climbers.

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A podcast about the lives of mountain climbers.

iTunes Ratings

293 Ratings
Average Ratings
280
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5
4
2

Great Listen

By nukeman553213 - Sep 05 2019
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I am not very active in the world of climbing, in face my climbing experience in limited to a couple courses in high school. But even saying that, I love listening to Evan and his guests. I love listening to the stories and adventures of people making their way through the mountains and the world.

Really wonderful podcast

By Samwri - Aug 25 2018
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If you climb, give it a listen. You won’t regret it.

iTunes Ratings

293 Ratings
Average Ratings
280
2
5
4
2

Great Listen

By nukeman553213 - Sep 05 2019
Read more
I am not very active in the world of climbing, in face my climbing experience in limited to a couple courses in high school. But even saying that, I love listening to Evan and his guests. I love listening to the stories and adventures of people making their way through the mountains and the world.

Really wonderful podcast

By Samwri - Aug 25 2018
Read more
If you climb, give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
Cover image of The Firn Line

The Firn Line

Updated 7 days ago

Read more

A podcast about the lives of mountain climbers.

Rank #1: Alaska Vibes: Conrad Anker

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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 his formative experiences in the mountains, the friends and partners that meant the most to him, as well as his efforts in environmental activism. Having flown to Alaska to teach some workshops at the Valdez Ice Festival, Conrad was able to squeeze in an early morning chat me at his hotel in Anchorage, before catching a flight back to Bozeman. Hope you enjoy!
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Links:
http://conradanker.com/ http://www.alexlowe.org/the-khumbu-climbing-center/ http://www.thefirnline.com/ https://www.patreon.com/thefirnline http://evanphillips.net/
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Sponsors:
http://www.alaskarockgym.com/ http://moosestooth.net/ http://hoardingmarmot.com/
Apr 20 2018
52 mins
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Rank #2: The Life And Climbs Of Kevin Jorgeson

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On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know professional rock climber, Kevin Jorgeson. Over a long and ever-evolving career, Jorgeson has immersed himself in the multi-dimensional craft of rock climbing. As a youth, he honed his mental and physical skills, while progressing to the top tiers of competition climbing. Later, he tested himself on classic and technical and highball bouldering problems, from Fontainebleau to The Buttermilks. And more recently, he teamed up with Tommy Caldwell to complete a visionary free climb of The Dawn Wall - which was documented in a powerful and award-winning film.

I recently got a chance to sit down with Kevin, and talk about the importance of climbing in his life. But we also went below the surface, and talked about his motives, how his experience as a competition climber helped him succeed on the Dawn Wall, and the simple power of optimism.
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Music by Evan Phillips:
evanphillips.bandcamp.com/album/cabin-…s-volume-one
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Links:
www.kevinjorgeson.com https://www.dawnwall-film.com/ www.thefirnline.com www.evanphillips.net www.patreon.com/thefirnline
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com/ www.moosestooth.net/ www.hoardingmarmot.com/ www.behindthesuntherapeutics.com/
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Cover Photo: Kaare Iverson // www.kaareiverson.com
Jan 11 2019
1 hour 12 mins
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Rank #3: Alaska Ranger: Mark Westman

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Mark Westman is one of Alaska's most prolific alpinists. On Denali alone, Westman has climbed a myriad of monumental routes including the Cassin Ridge, Isis Face, Denali Diamond and Slovak Direct.

On episdode 05, Westman traces his roots in the outdoors, the important partnerships in his life and the challenges he's faced in and out of the mountains.
May 04 2017
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #4: Life Revelations: Clint Helander

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Clint Helander left home at 18 years old, hoping to escape a tense relationship with his mother, and to start finding his own way through life. When he came to Alaska a year later to attend college, a chance encounter with a new group of friends would expose Clint to the outdoors, and eventually lead him to the mythical Revelation Mountains. Little did he know that along the way, he’d learn more about the importance of relationships with his friends, and ultimately his mother, than he ever could have imagined.

Recorded & Produced by Evan Phillips
Music by Evan Phillips with additional tunes by Ryan Giorgioff

www.thefirnline.com www.evanphillips.net
Apr 06 2017
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #5: Denali Dreams: Vern Tejas

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When I was a kid growing up in Alaska, Vern Tejas was one of my heroes. Back in February of 1988, Tejas made the bold first solo winter ascent of Denali, and in doing so, captured the imagination of all Alaskans, including me.

The Denali climb changed Vern’s life. He wrote books, gave lectures and eventually became one of the most sought after high altitude guides in the world. But Alaska never remained far from Vern’s heart, and he returned each year to guide on The High One. To this date, Tejas has summited the mountain a staggering 57 times. A world record.

I recently had the privilege to sit down with Vern, and talk about his life in and out of the mountains. From his first adventurous forays of hitchhiking around the country, to his 1st winter ascent of the Lowe-Kennedy route on Mount Hunter, Vern is a larger-than-life figure and a great storyteller.

Links:
https://patreon.com/thefirnline https://thefirnline.com https://evanphillips.net https://www.amazon.com/Seventy-Summits-Mountains-Vern-Tejas/dp/1681570475
Oct 06 2017
1 hour
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Rank #6: The Spaces Between: Ryan Johnson

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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 Ryan to be on that summit after what had surely been one of his best experiences in the mountains.

Although I had never met Ryan in person, we’d corresponded in the months before his passing, and had planned on sitting down for an interview this April. So in a way of honoring Ryan, I decided to talk with some of his best friends and partners, to hear about their memories, experiences, and the ups and downs they shared in and out of the mountains.
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Links:
https://www.gofundme.com/ryanandmilo https://www.thefirnline.com https://www.patreon.com/thefirnline
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Sponsors:
https://www.alaskarockgym.com https://www.moosestooth.net https://www.hoardingmarmot.com
Apr 01 2018
1 hour 20 mins
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Rank #7: Alaska Mountain Women

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AK Mountain Women is an all-female group that loves human powered expeditions in Alaska. The goal of the group is to cultivate a strong community of local women dedicated to challenging and educating themselves and others about glacial mountaineering and big remote mountains.
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Music by Evan Phillips:
evanphillips.bandcamp.com/album/cabin-…s-volume-one
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Links:
http://akmountainwomen.blogspot.com/ www.thefirnline.com www.evanphillips.net www.patreon.com/thefirnline
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com/ www.hoardingmarmot.com/ www.behindthesuntherapeutics.com/
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Mar 21 2019
48 mins
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Rank #8: Ruth Gorge Grinder

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In April, 2019, alpinists Alan Rousseau and Jackson Marvell flew into the Ruth Gorge, intent on repeating "Blood From The Stone", arguably one of the most difficult routes in the Alaska Range. But when the duo found poor conditions on the face, they re-directed their efforts, eventually succeeding on a new route between "Blood From The Stone" and "The Wine Bottle".

The pair were harassed by a group of ravenous ravens, and endured a pummeling at their second bivy. But the suffering was balanced out by incredible climbing, which followed a series of vertical, razor cut, ice-tubes splitting the granite walls. On the third day, the team topped out on Mount Dickey, establishing ‘Ruth Gorge Grinder’, an instant Alaska Range classic.
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Music by Evan Phillips:
evanphillips.bandcamp.com/album/cabin-…s-volume-one
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Links:
www.thefirnline.com www.patreon.com/thefirnline
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com/ www.hoardingmarmot.com/
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May 16 2019
40 mins
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Rank #9: Mindful Mountaineer: Sam Johnson

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On today’s episode, we’ll get to know Alaskan alpinist Sam Johnson. Growing up in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains, Sam was exposed to the outdoors and mountain environments at a young age. But it wasn’t until his teenage years that he discovered a newfound focus and direction thru climbing.

Since that time, Johnson has climbed extensively Alaska, Canada, Europe and even the far reaches of the Karakoram. His quiet first ascents in Alaska’s Hayes Range, including a bold solo on the South East Face of Mount Hayes in 2013, highlight the spirit of adventure and self discovery that Sam seeks in climbing, and in life.

I recently sat down with Sam to talk about his trajectory as an alpinist, as well as the things that inspire him on a day to day basis.

Episode Music
1) Space Song / E. Phillips / Evan & Molly (2012)
2) Augusta / E. Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
3) Instrumental #1 / E. Phillips / Songs From Lake Irene (2007)
4) Hwy 395 / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2008)
5) Hell Of A Life / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2008)
6) Red Bandana / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2008)
7) Weight Of Changing Everything / Easton Stagger Phillips / Overseas (2014)
8) Block Me Out / Easton Stagger Phillips / Overseas (2014)

Show Links:
patreon.com/thefirnline https://thefirnline.com https://evanphillips.net americanalpineclub.org/sharp-end-podcast/
Sep 08 2017
1 hour
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Rank #10: Commitment, Vision, Trust: Jack Tackle (Part 1)

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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 yurt, to talk about his forty year career as an alpinist, and the lessons learned along the way. We discussed everything from his early forays in the woods, to his most intense experiences in the mountains and in life. It was an enlightening and meaningful conversation that I felt privileged to be a part of.

Links:
http://www.patreon.com/thefirnline http://www.thefirnline.com http://www.evanphillips.net http://www.alaskarockgym.com
Nov 30 2017
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #11: The Power Of Being Human: Luc Mehl

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Growing up in the village of McGrath, Luc Mehl was inspired at a young age by the simplicity of rural living, and the vast Alaskan wilderness surrounding him.

As a teenager, Luc moved to Anchorage to attend high school, and it was during this period that he would first experience rock climbing and other outdoor sports. But at that junction, his passion for academics and learning would take center stage.

After earning his undergraduate degree in geology, Luc attended UC Santa Barbara where he would earn his first master's degree. But as much as Luc enjoyed school, he’d always struggled to find balance between the rigid structure of academia, and the more dynamic lifestyle he’d known as a kid. Ultimately, he returned to Alaska in 2003, deeply depressed, and unsure which direction to take.

It was during this period, a time Luc refers to as his "dark year", that he would literally stumble his way into the mountains, only to come out on the other side with a restored sense of purpose, and a new way of living.
Jun 08 2017
57 mins
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Rank #12: A Conversation With David Lama

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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 culminated in a multitude of ground-breaking ascents in Patagonia, The Himalaya and beyond.

I recently got a chance to sit down with David in Anchorage, Alaska - to have a candid conversation about his life as a climber, and the vision he follows as an alpinist. We talked about everything, from his early days as a competition climber, to a life-changing experience on the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, to his meaningful relationship with fellow climber and friend Conrad Anker, to the limitless ideas and projects that lie ahead.

We started our conversation by talking about David’s natural inclination to climb as a youngster, and how a fateful meeting with famous Austrian mountaineer, Peter Habeler, helped steer the trajectory of David’s life - from the confines of rock gyms, to the limitless arena of the mountains.
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Music:
http://www.evanphillips.bandcamp.com/
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Links:
http://www.david-lama.com/ www.thefirnline.com www.patreon.com/thefirnline www.evanphillips.net
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com www.moosestooth.net www.hoardingmarmot.com www.behindthesuntherapeutics.com
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Cover Photo: M. Ferrigato
Jul 09 2018
42 mins
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Rank #13: A Higher Calling: Brad Meiklejohn

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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 hiking and climbing adventures in The White Mountains of New Hampshire.  It was during these formative years that Brad would lay the foundation for his future outdoor ambitions.  But more than anything, his family instilled in him a deep loyalty to each other, as well as a sense of duty to protect the natural world they loved.  

This way of life was a natural progression for Brad, first as an avid climber, skier, and avalanche forecaster in Utah, then as Alaska Director of The Conservation Fund, a position he’s now held for over 20 years.  

But as much fulfillment as his career and personal adventures have brought, there’s been equal amounts of tragedy and sadness.  Over the course of Brad’s outdoor career, he’s lost over 30 friends in mountain-related deaths, a toll that has affected him profoundly.  But perhaps none of these deaths have affected him more than loss of Kyle Dempster, a young American alpinist with whom he shared a deep family and spiritual connection.

A few months ago, I drove out to Brad’s mountain-side home in the Chugach Mountains, hoping to gain insight into his wilderness adventures, his philosophies about conservation, as well as his meaningful relationship with Kyle.  

Links:
http://www.patreon.com/thefirnline http://www.evanphillips.net https://www.conservationfund.org/where-we-work/alaska https://packraft.org/ https://thingstolucat.com/ http://www.alaskarockgym.com/
Nov 16 2017
59 mins
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Rank #14: Finding Patagonia: Nancy Pfeiffer

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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 someone I admired and respected for her skills and expertise in the mountains.

That’s why I was intrigued this last year when I saw that Nancy had written a book. And it wasn’t any ordinary book. Released in May of 2018, Riding Into The Heart of Patagonia chronicles nearly 20 years of Nancy’s travels through the different regions of Patagonia - on horseback.

Although the stories are full of adventure, close calls, and sometimes clever bursts of self-deprecating humor, the core of the story goes deeper than that: to the moments of self-doubt she faced, to the relationships she shared with her partners, and most importantly, her emerging understanding, and connection with the people of Patagonia.

Last month I got to sit down with Nancy to talk about her experiences in Patagonia, what it meant for her to write the book, as well as some of her more recent adventures in Alaska. We started our conversation by talking about Nancy’s early experiences teaching NOLS courses in Patagonia, and how an experience on one of those courses, reshaped the trajectory of her life.
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Music by evanphillips.bandcamp.com/
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Links:
www.nancypfeiffer.com www.thefirnline.com www.patreon.com/thefirnline www.evanphillips.net
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com www.moosestooth.net www.hoardingmarmot.com www.behindthesuntherapeutics.com
Jun 22 2018
1 hour 6 mins
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Rank #15: Short Ropes: Committed On The Cassin

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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, they would soon be at the mercy of Denali’s weather, totally exposed, and fully committed on the Cassin.

www.patreon.com/thefirnline www.thefirnline.com
Nov 02 2017
41 mins
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Rank #16: Short Ropes: The Risk Of Commitment

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Nestled in the heart of the Alaska Range, lies what many believe to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world: Mount Huntington. Rising on all sides to form a 12,241 ft symmetrical pyramid of rock, snow and ice, Huntington has captured the imagination of bold and dedicated alpinists for decades.

When the French Ridge was first climbed in 1964, the mountaineering world took notice. Then just a year later, when a young David Roberts and crew climbed the stunning west face, the mountaineering world was shocked. Both of these climbs raised the standard of what could be done in Alaska’s mountains, as well as setting a precedent for what future alpinists could expect on Huntington: remoteness, sustained, hard climbing, total commitment.

By 2016, most of Huntington’s major features had been climbed. But one line, perhaps the most committing of them all, had yet to be ascended: The complete south ridge.

Rising nearly 7,000 feet, the south ridge follows a serpentine spine of four jagged sub-peaks, each connected by delicate gendarmes and stacked cornices. Of the south ridge, David Roberts wrote, “It was not so much a ridge as five separate, serrated peaks, each increasingly higher.” Although a few teams had ascended the upper south ridge of Huntington over the years, few parties had considered a go at the complete south ridge. That is until this year.

Over a stretch of perfect weather in April 2017, American alpinists Jess Roskelly and Clint Helander made the first ascent of the complete south ridge in a single 5 day push. The climb was everything the duo had anticipated and more, pushing- the limits of their endurance, and forcing them to commit psychologically in a way neither of them had experienced in the past.

A few days later after they got down from the climb, I sat down with Jess and Clint in Anchorage, to recount this once in a lifetime adventure. The interview picks up on the second day of their trip, as they are crossing the east fork of the Tokositna Glacier, and starting the initial climbing up the first peak of the south ridge of Huntington.
May 17 2017
52 mins
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Rank #17: Backcountry Master: Noah Howell

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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 and Ramen Couloir, Howell continues to push the limits of what’s possible in the mountains.

I recently got a chance to sit down with Howell, for an engaging conversation about his life in and out of the mountains. We started our conversation by talking about his roots in Utah, and how that led to his first experiences skiing in the Wasatch, and eventually to the bigger mountains of Alaska.
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Music:
https://www.timeaston.com https://www.evanphillips.net
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Links:
https://www.noahhowell.com https://www.evanphillips.net https://www.thefirnline.com https://www.patreon.com/thefirnline
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Sponsors:
www.alaskarockgym.com www.moosestooth.net www.hoardingmarmot.com www.behindthesuntherapeutics.com
Jul 26 2018
50 mins
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Rank #18: The Search: Graham Zimmerman

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From a young age, Graham Zimmerman was inspired by the rugged peaks of the New Zealand alps, and later, the cascades of Washington and the pacific northwest.

During high school, Graham developed a keen interest in geology and it was then that he would experience his first involvement with mountaineering. But it wasn’t until he returned to New Zealand for University that climbing became the driving force in his life.

Since that time, Zimmerman has honed his craft, and over the last decade he’s pioneered a myriad of exploratory routes in Alaska, Patagonia, and most recently, The Karakoram. But for Graham, it’s not just about climbing. Rather, it’s about living an all-encompassing lifestyle that combines exploration, creativity and challenging alpinism. Getting to the top is one thing, but how you get there is everything.

www.thefirnline.com www.evanphillips.net www.grahamzimmerman.com
Jul 06 2017
58 mins
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Rank #19: Short Ropes: Chitistone Chuckles

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Cover: Dustin Eroh leads Blackbird Falls in Chitina, Alaska (Photo: Andrew Burr)

In February, 2016 Dusty Eroh, Andrew Burr, Scott Adamson and Todd Tumolo rode, pushed and postholed their fatbikes up the Nizina River to the mythical frozen waterfalls of the Chitistone valley.

In Episode 04, Dusty tells the story first-hand, reflects on his time with Scott and discusses how he got his nickname, "Dirty D."
Apr 20 2017
48 mins
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Rank #20: The Mountains In My Life

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With love to the families, friends and community surrounding Jess Roskelley, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer

http://www.jessroskelley.com/
http://www.david-lama.com/site/
http://www.hansjoerg-auer.at/
http://www.thefirnline.com
https://www.patreon.com/thefirnline

Apr 23 2019
8 mins
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