I was born on a small farm in Maine, surrounded by forest. There was a lake on one side and the ocean on the other. My family was always outside—we grew much of our food, cut our firewood, skied, sailed, canoed rivers, and hiked in the mountains. This was how I grew up. It shapes who I am today, and is the root of my love for hard work and outdoor life.
As a teenager I was a competitive Nordic ski racer and a member of the U.S. Biathlon Junior Development Team. Here I gained base fitness that is with me today. I spent a post-graduate year after high school living in a German boarding school in Berchtesgaden, where I got a taste of the Alps, randonee skiing, and Class IV white-water kayaking.
I went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon. This gave me my first experience of the West, with its public lands and open spaces. Reed provided a rigorous academic challenge. I earned a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1996 and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany. I spent my Fulbright year teaching at the Sportgymnasium in Dresden.
I toyed with the idea of becoming an academic, but one question a friend asked me stayed in my head: “Why don’t you do what you know will make you happy?” I returned to the U. S. and started working with the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School in 1998. As we say in the climbing world, I’m a “lifer”. I am committed to climbing and guiding as a career, and as a way of life.