AK Mountain Women is an all-female group that loves mountaineering expeditions in Alaska. The goal of the group is to cultivate a strong community of local women dedicated to challenging and educating ourselves and others about glacial mountaineering and big remote mountains. We will be sharing all of our stories and our planning processes along the way in hopes to spark a desire for exploration amongst other outdoor enthusiasts. There will be ten of us endeavoring on our next wild adventure in the Alaska Range along with the support and help from a few others. Here's everyone who has been involved throughout the past few years with AK Mountain Women and their stories:
Founder of AK Mountain Women. Trip Lead for Foraker, Wrangell-St. Elias and Stikine Expeditions
Mary grew up in Juneau, Alaska where she found her love for snow, glaciers (and rain) at a young age playing in her vast beautiful backyard. Mary is currently a mountaineering and backpacking instructor with NOLS and Alaska Mountaineering School in the summers and the Operations Manager for Alaska Avalanche School in the winters. In the past she has been the Program Coordinator of the Juneau Icefield Research Program. She has led and instructed day trips to eight-week glacier mountaineering, winter ski trips, and backpacking courses. Outside of leading the Stikine and Wrangell-St. Elias expeditions with AK Mountain Women, Mary has guided on Denali. She traversed the Juneau Icefield twice (2013, 2014). She attempted Mt. Jarvis but had to turn around because of a crevasse fall on her rope team. She planned a completely self-supported, 53 mile, 7 day ski mountaineering traverse to summit Emperor Peak on the Juneau Icefield. She has her Wilderness First Responder and taken avalanche level I and II courses and is planning to take her professional level I avalanche course this winter. Mary has unconditional love for mountaineering and for the harsh but breathtaking landscape of Alaska. She is excited to share that love with this amazing group of women.
Ski Denali Expedition Trip Leader
Fallon grew up near Boston, Massachusetts. Hiking and exploring the outdoors was a big part of her childhood and led her to enroll at Alaska Pacific University, where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Studies. At APU, Fallon was exposed to the expedition lifestyle; and has since been on over two dozen expeditions, including a dozen on the glaciers of the Chugach and Central Alaska Range. She has tallied hundreds of professional days guiding and instructing mountaineering and winter wilderness skills for APU, NOLS, and Alaska Mountaineering School. Fallon has a keen interest in snow science and earned her Avalanche Professional Level 1 from Alaska Avalanche School in 2018. She is also a certified interpretive guide and loves to learn and teach natural history and geology. When not working in the backcountry, Fallon is skiing in Alaska and the Tetons; rock climbing in the American Southwest; or going on long runs in the foothills. This will be Fallon’s first trip with AK Mountain Women; she is honored to be part of a group of powerful mountain women working together to support each other's goals and growth.
Foraker, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Stikine Expedition Member
Katie McCaffrey grew up in Alaska between Nome and Fairbanks. She moved south to Juneau in 2015 for the University of Southeast Alaska's Geography, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Studies program. Through the degree she took classes in both rock and ice climbing, backcountry navigation, sea kayaking, winter backpacking, glacier travel and crevasse rescue, and mountaineering. She also has her WFR and avalanche 2 certifications. She worked as a teaching assistant for the program for two winters, spending summers guiding tourists on the Mendenhall glacier. This past summer Katie was based out of Talkeetna with Alaska Mountaineering School guiding in the Alaska Range. Her time in the mountains has included two non consecutive weeks in the Taku Range of the Juneau Icefield, both trips spoiled with sunny weather and good snow. Three years ago, she traveled to the Chugach Range outside of Anchorage for an attempt of Mount Marcus Baker (over 13,000'). The trip was shutdown by a storm that kept them in basecamp for two weeks, but she still loved the time spent with friends in extreme elements. This summer she was a part of three expeditions on the West Buttress route on Denali (20,310'), with two summits. Katie's been a part of the past two Alaska Mountain Women projects and is excited to be back in the mountains with this all-female crew!
Foraker and Wrangell-St. Elias Expedition Member
Kit Cunningham was born in Juneau, Alaska and her love of Alaskan mountains began at a young age. She obtained a degree in Biology from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2017, allowing her to work a variety of wildlife jobs outdoors. She has guided glacier, kayak, and bear viewing trips and has worked a variety of rural field technician positions in Alaska, Montana, and Antarctica. Since getting out of college, she has spent as much time as possible playing and learning from the mountains, through classes, recreational trips, and this group! She is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Swift water Rescue technician, and Wilderness First Responder. She also has taken a technical self-rescue rock climbing class, crevasse rescue training, sea kayak rescue training, sea ice safety training, and has her Level 1 & 2 from American Avalanche Association, and she will be taking the Pro 1 Avalanche course this winter. She is ecstatic about working with a group of awesome women.
Ski Denali Expedition Trip Lead. Wrangell-St. Elias and Stikine Expedition Member
Auri Clark was born and raised in Juneau, AK. She now spends her summers in Juneau as a sea kayak guide and her winters working at Stevens Pass ski area in Washington state. She has worked at the ski area for three consecutive years, two as a boot-fitter and one as a ski patroller. She has taken several class in the Outdoor Studies Program at the University of Alaska Southeast, obtained bother her Wilderness First Responder and AIARE 1 certifications, and completed a 6-day mountaineering course in Washington (which included a summit of Mount Baker). In the summer of 2016, she spent two months on the Juneau Icefield during the Juneau Icefield Research Program where she practiced knots, glacier travel, and crevasse rescue while traversing the icefield. On personal trips, she has climbed both Colchuck Peak and Glacier Peak in Washington, and this will be her third AK Mountain Women trip (she was a part of both the Stikine Icefield and Wrangell-St. Elias Range expeditions). She is excited to not only continue advancing her technical skills on this year's trip, but also develop her skills as a leader during the planning process and in the mountains. She is most excited to be further inspired by the AK Mountain Women crew and to explore a new part of Alaska.
Ski Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias Expedition Member
Ashley grew up on the prairie land of Kansas, dreaming always of the mountains. She made it happen and now lives in a tiny high elevation mountain town near Telluride in Southwest Colorado. Even though she didn’t really get into adventure sports until well after college, she dove in head first. This winter will be her 4th working as a hutkeeper at a backcountry ski hut, ski access only. Because of this job she is able to spend upwards of 80 days splitboarding mostly in the high alpine terrain that the San Juans have to offer, along with their slightly complicated snowpack. In the summer she splits recreational time between extended endurance mountain bike adventures on the remote trails of the area and running and scrambling the myriad of class 3-5 13,000 and 14,000ft peaks that are accessible from her front door. She has been a member of her local Search and Rescue team for 4 years and has a 3-day Rigging for Rescue certification. She has her AIARE Avalanche Level 1 and 2. She also participated in a week long ski mountaineering/crevasse rescue and avalanche course in Canada where she received her CAA Avalanche Level 2. She is a WEMT and has plans to complete her Avalanche Professional Level 1 this winter and begin some ski tail guiding. She was a member of the Wrangell-St. Elias Expedition in 2019. It was her first expedition and she immediately fell in love. Her gratitude to the women of the Alaska Mountain Women is immense for taking her under their wing, so patiently teaching her the skills she needed, and trusting her as a member of their team. She firmly believes the women that have started and make up this team are some of the most humble, tough, strong, capable, skilled and talented ladies you will ever meet. She can’t wait to attempt Denali 2021 with them or whatever else the team may do!
Ski Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias Expedition Member
Casey Patten grew up in Durango, Colorado—a homely college and ski town mixed with jam bands and country music. As a young adult, she enjoyed escaping to the San Juan Mountains for skiing and hiking. She grew up skiing at Purgatory Mountain resort—a humble ski mountain—and loved having access to Wolf Creek, Red Mountain Pass and Telluride just a couple hours away. She has been chasing grander adventures since she moved away from her home town at the age of twenty. She moved to Juneau, AK during the year of 2015 to partake in a outdoor leadership program at the University of Southeast Alaska and graduated with a one year certificate focusing on rock climbing, rope skills, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, backcountry skiing—with a focus on split boarding, pack rafting and mountaineering skills. After the program, she worked at Above and Beyond AK as a glacier guide and sea kayak guide. Most of her trips were on the well-known Mendenhall glacier and inside passage in Juneau, AK. Here, she fell in love the diversity of the landscape, people and working in the outdoor field. After two summers of guiding, she moved to Park City, UT, where she is currently living. She moved here for the skiing, as well as mountain biking; and is currently a ski patroller at Deer Valley ski resort. She graduated at the University of Utah in Health, Society and Policy—an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on the multidimensional character of human health. After a year of being in Utah, she wanted to greatly reconnect with Alaska and the inspiring people she met up there. The connections she made in Juneau, led her to Alaska Mountain Women. Last year, she found herself buying a plane ticket to Anchorage, AK to meet these ladies for their next adventure in the Wrangell-St. Elias range. She made two first accents with this team and is looking forward to the future development of this group as an all-women ski mountaineering team!
Ski Denali Expedition Member and Sticker Artist
Maddie is an artist that was born and raised in the rainforests of southeast Alaska. She graduated from Boise State with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies where her education focused on visual art, female experiences in the backcountry setting, and science communication. During this time she gained experience managing the trips sector of the BSU outdoor program. Her noticeable backcountry achievements include a summit of Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba) in 2019 and a traverse of the Juneau Icefield as a participant of the Juneau Icefield Research Program. When she isn’t skinning up the mountains around Juneau, she can be found trail running, waitressing, creating, and trip scheming. She has her avalanche 1 certification, and is working to become a Wilderness EMT this spring. Maddie is enthusiastic about being part of a supportive expedition team that strives to get more women involved in ski mountaineering and leadership.
Ski Denali Expedition Member
Eva Bingham was born and raised at the base of Pioneer Peak in Palmer Alaska. She recently graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast in May 2020 where she received a B.S. in Environmental Resources and completed an Outdoor Studies & Leadership Certificate. While she has always had an interest in hiking and being in the outdoors growing up, it wasn’t until she attended college in the Tongass Rainforest that her interest in the outdoor world began to grow. Eva completed classes through the Outdoor Studies program that included: backcountry navigation, avalanche rescue, glacier travel and crevasse safety, and mountaineering. The skills she learned from these classes opened a door that allowed her to plan longer and more remote trips in the backcountry. As her Capstone project in May of 2018, Eva and her classmates traversed 60+ miles of the Juneau Icefield by ski, from Skagway to Juneau. The summer of 2019 Eva participated as a student with the Juneau Icefield Research Program. An eight-week field-based training and research program where teams of students, faculty, and researchers spent six-weeks ski traversing the Juneau Icefield from Juneau AK, to Atlin B.C. Eva is excited to be surrounded by strong women who are eager to collaborate ideas about big mountain expeditions. As a goal, Eva hopes to take what she has learned as an outdoor enthusiast and use that knowledge to help others build their own confidence when it comes to recreating in the outdoors.
Ski Denali Expedition Member
Rain Felkl is an Alaska Native who now resides in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. After making the move, Rain was quickly absorbed into the freedom and adventure of human-powered splitboarding. Rain is certified as a Wilderness First Responder and in Avalanche 2 education. She will be obtaining her Professional level 1 and tailguide instructing Backcountry 101 courses for the Utah Avalanche Center this winter of 20/21. When she isn’t riding powder, Rain is a rock climber and cyclist, which has naturally led her eye towards more exploratory splitboard objectives. Rain is determined to further her exploration of the Wasatch Mountains, as well as her hometown mountains of Juneau, Alaska. She is excited to be a part of this all-female crew of motivated women advancing technical and leadership skills while continuing to explore new mountains throughout our beloved Alaska Ranges. Rain is an ambassador for Phantom Splitboard Bindings and Cardiff Snowcrafts.
Foraker Expedition Member
Originally from California, Emma fell in love with mountains while backpacking through the Sierra Nevadas. Drawn to the outdoors, Emma moved to Alaska to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies, Geography and Outdoor Studies at University of Alaska, Southeast. Emma spent 3 years as a student and assistant teacher on numerous mountaineering, ice/rock climbing, sea kayaking and backcountry navigation courses. She has her Wilderness First Responder and both Avalanche 1 & 2 certifications. Throughout her degree, Emma participated in 3 capstone expeditions in Alaska and Japan. She is a mountaineering guide for Alaska Mountaineering School, Above and Beyond Alaska and Bigfoot Patagonia. Emma is currently living her dream and working on glaciers in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia. Emma is passionate about engaging people in the outdoors and is overjoyed to be involved in an all woman’s expedition.
Wrangell-St. Elias and Stikine Expedition Member
Beth Loudon moved to Juneau, Alaska in 2015, after graduating from Wheaton College in Chicago, IL. Originally from the East Coast, she felt that something was missing from her life, and decided to follow that call up north. After a few seasons of guiding for a zipline, working for local non-profit groups, and playing violin in the symphony, she has decided to turn to what called her to this beautiful place in the first place - the vast peaks of Alaska. Beth has taken an Avalanche I course and has her Wilderness First Responder. Outside of the Stikine trip last spring, Beth is an avid hiker, split boarder, and general outdoor enthusiast. She currently lives on a sailboat with her adorable dog Bentley. She can't be more excited to venture onto the remote Wrangell-St. Elias Park alongside other adventurous and nature-loving women.
Wrangell-St.Elias Expedition Member
Sophia Walling-Bell was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and while she grew up doing a lot of outdoor activities, it wasn’t until after high school that she began backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. She currently studies French and German at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and has studied abroad in both France and Switzerland as a part of her degree. She has worked for the Outdoor Adventures program at UAF, as well as a glacier guide in Kennicott, AK and most recently as a Wilderness Trip Leader taking high school students backpacking in the Alps and Pyrenees. She has done a couple week long backcountry ski trips with basecamps in both Turnagain, AK and on the College Glacier in the Eastern Alaska Range, where she has also submitted Institute Peak. While she was living in Switzerland she did a couple overnight backcountry ski trips in the Swiss Alps, including submitting two peaks over 12 thousand feet, and skiing down from the summits. She has both WFR and Avalanche 1 certifications, as well as glacier travel, crevasse rescue, and winter camping skills. She is very excited to be planning a big trip into the Alaskan wilderness, learning all of what that entails, and to be doing it with a rad group of women!
Stikine Expedition Member
Rebekah King started exploring the mountains as a child in Colorado. Her desire to find bigger peaks and more wild places lead her to Alaska in 2010. She graduated from Alaska Pacific University with a degree in Outdoor Education, concentrating on Snow Science. Rebekah has spent the past 7 years working as a mountaineering instructor for both NOLS and Alaska Mountaineering School. Rebekah is a course leader for NOLS, has a current WFR, taken her level I, II, and III avalanche courses through Alaska Avalanche School. She is planning on taking her professional I avalanche course through NOLS this winter. Her work and personal trips have taken her into of Patagonia. Rebekah has been a part of several all-female expeditions in the the Alaskan, Chugach, and Wrangell ranges in Alaska; as well as to the ice fields past which highlighted the empowering, unique dynamic they provide. She is excited to continue to learn from and mentor other women in the outdoors.
Stikine Expedition Member and Stikine Sticker Artist
Hannah Rosenkrans is a born and raised Alaskan. Her outdoor adventures began before she could even walk. She began with small mountaineering expeditions in college after learning how to climb and ski. Her geoscience degree and GIS (Geographical Information System) certificate allowed for unique opportunities in the mountains through research and mapmaking. Previously Whitewater Rescue certified and currently Wilderness First Responder and AED/CPR certified, she pursues opportunities where her skills and abilities can be used and challenged. One of her toughest trips to date was an attempt at a traverse across the Juneau Icefield from Atlin, British Columbia to Juneau, Alaska. Although unsuccessful, the expedition taught her important lessons of how to be better prepared both mentally and physically for the next expedition. The Stikine Icefield expedition is a culmination of what she has been working towards the last three years through personal adventures, trips with colleagues, technical classes and workshops, failed and successful trips and dreams of new mountains places yet to be explored.
Ski Denali Alternate and Support
Theresa Soley’s ambition in ecology, conservation and the outdoors began near the equator as an undergraduate student in Brazil, but became her profession years later in Alaska. Theresa now lives in Juneau, where she collected data for her master’s thesis in attempt to better understand peoples’ perceptions of the natural world. She works on boats big and small, writes from her home on Douglas Island, and spends the rest of her time teaching yoga, taking mountaineering and avalanche courses, or skiing at Eaglecrest. She’s currently planning another ascent in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains in December 2019. Theresa is an alternate for Alaska Mountain Women climbs in 2020.
Ski Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias Expedition Alternate and Support
Born and raised in New York City, Nadine has spent the past 10+ years making up for lost time in the mountains. After graduating from Harvard College, she moved to Chilean Patagonia to work for conservationists Doug and Kris Tompkins on the creation of new national parks. In 2017, she started a new environmental education and wilderness travel company based in these new national parks, called Chulengo Expeditions, which has proved a great channel for spending more time in the Patagonian backcountry. As a field instructor for NOLS, she's led wilderness backpacking expeditions in Alaska, Patagonia and Wyoming. The past two summers have taken her to Alaska, where's she's loved exploring the similar-but-different wild landscapes via packrafting expeditions in the Brooks Range and Wrangells. She's thrilled to learn alongside this dynamic and intrepid group of women, and continue to develop her mountaineering and expedition-planning skills!
KRISTEN LYDA REES
Stikine Alternate and Support
Kristen Lyda Rees moved to Alaska in 2012 when she got a wild hair and felt like something was missing from her life. After several seasons guiding on glaciers for a helicopter company and a wilderness trekking company, she decided to go back to school and currently attends University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau where she is studying Anthropology and Political Science. She has her current WFR and plans on taking an avalanche course this winter. Gaining a broader perspective of the outdoors, the concept of nature, and wilderness changed the course of her life, especially when relating to climate change. Kristen Lyda participated in the Juneau Icefield Research program (JIRP) in 2016 and is interested in how humans relate to their environments and expedition dynamics.
Stikine Alternate and Support
Annika grew up splitting time between the coastal mountain town of Juneau, Alaska and her family’s remote homestead at Couverden, Alaska at the confluence of three major waterways. Her love of wild places and the communities that grow from them, has led her to split her years between sea and ice, working as a commercial fisherman (woman) in the spring and fall and for the Juneau Icefield Research Program, an educational climate change organization, in the summer. In winters, you can find her skiing at the small town, big terrain Eaglecrest ski area, trekking some Patagonian peaks, working on her co-produced ecofeminist zine, or sailing with SEA Semester studying the dynamics between coastal communities and sustainability in New Zealand. In 2014 and 2015, she organized and completed two remote wilderness traverses along the outer coast of the Fairweather Range from Icy Straits to Yakutat, Alaska, which in total covered 180 miles. For the Juneau Icefield Research Program she works as senior safety staff where she helps manage 50+ person field camps, teaches glacier navigation and rescue, supports field research, and leads traverses across the icefield from Juneau, Alaska to Atlin, Canada. She is excited to join this group of strong, highly competent women in their expedition on the Stikine Icefield and sees it as an incredible opportunity to learn from each other and from the ice and peaks of this remote and rigorous environment.