Date Of Birth: June 4
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Current Location: Castle Valley, UT
Favorite Zone: Indian Himalaya
Proudest Achievement: W. Pillar Makalu, 3rd ascent
Favorite Advocacy Org: Utah Open Lands
In 1985, I was hired at the American Alpine institute and sent to Alaska, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Nepal to guide - mostly peaks above 19,000'. During personal time, I climbed the Cassin, the second ascent of the Bouchard Rt on Chacraraju, and the W.Pillar of Makalu. I received the AAC's Underhill Award in recognition of mountaineering achievement. Since then, I had a son, married Jay Smith and live in Castle Valley UT and Ouray CO. Alpine ascents with Jay include new routes in the Ak-Su, a new route on Middle Triple Peak, AK, and an ascent of the Diamond Couloir in Kenya. I love cragging on ice, rock and mixed as well as backcountry skiing. More recently, I've been quenching my desire for adventure via El Cap routes with other women. Climbing with women is something I never got to do in my early stages of climbing since not many women climbed. Now, as a partner in Chicks Climbing and Skiing, we are educating and empowering women through mountain sports. I have also become interested in climate change and as alpinists, we are like canaries in a coal mine. In recognition of this fact, I have created a slide show called Last Ascents, and a Tedx talk by the same name.
- How did you get involved with your respective sport?: I started climbing when I was a student at the NC Outward Bound School. Initially, I was afraid of heights so I decided not to look down, but to focus on movement. Afterwards, I went to UVM, primarily because of it's proximity to many ski areas. I got tired of standing in lift lines, so I started ice climbing. Then I became intrigued by alpine climbing in the winter because it seemed challenging and adventurous.
- Who were your influences early in life?: My mentor was Lyle Dean. He was climbing partners with Mugs Stump, but had to give up ice and alpine climbing because of a shoulder injury. He taught me to be patient and well-prepared.
- What draws you to the outdoors?: I am inspired by beautiful lines in the mountains. I like being able to focus on a single objective for weeks, without being distracted by phones, cars, money, or computers.
- What do you like about SCARPA as a brand?: I like the fact that SCARPA makes all the shoes/boots that I need - from training shoes to approach shoes, rock shoes, mixed, boots, ice/alpine boots, and backcountry ski boots.
- Why do you trust SCARPA products?: SCARPA shoes and boots fit my feet really well.
- What gets you out of bed on big days?: Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed if it means I am going to be cold or scared. But I like to get up quickly and get the process going because once I get started, it is a lot easier to keep going than to stop.
- What is your best excuse for skipping training?: An injury. I rarely skip training, but I have learned that deep sleep and ice work wonders.
- Favorite recovery/apres beverage?: I actually take training pretty seriously, so it could be Vega Recovery drink or a whey protein smoothy.
- If you had a baseball walkup song, what would it be?: Gotta Pick Myself Up Off the Side Of the Road by The Record Company.
- What's the last movie that made you cry?: Hidden Figures.
- What's your dream trip or expedition?: A certain still unclimbed route in India.
- What makes a good adventure partner?: Someone who you know has your back when you are putting yourself out there. They don't necessarily have to have better technical skills; they just need to know how to react when the going gets tough.
- Two truths and a lie: I used to have a '54 Austin Healey. I used to have a Corvette. I used to have an MGBGT.