Episode 17 // A Higher Calling: Brad Meiklejohn


Narrative

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.  


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• By Your Side / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Avalanche / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Falling Down / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Guess I Was Just Young / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Letter That You Sent / Evan Phillips / Lonely Mountain (2017)
•By Your Side / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)

Links

Patreon
American Packrafting Association
The Conservation Fund – Alaska
Kyle Dempster
Evan Phillips
The Alaska Rock Gym