Episode 15 // Denali Dreams: Vern Tejas

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.


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Cave / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Denali Dreams / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Lost In The Night / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• After School Special / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• The Cave / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Unnamed Jam / Evan Phillips & Vern Tejas / Unreleased (2017)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
Vern Tejas

Episode 14 // Short Ropes: Ashley Saupe

A few weeks ago I got to sit down with outdoor educator and host of the excellent ‘Sharp End’ podcast, Ashley Saupe. We talked about her upbringing in Alaska, her experiences teaching as an Outward Bound instructor as well as discussing what it takes to produce a monthly podcast about accidents in North American climbing.


Music

• Space Song // Evan & Molly // ‘Evan & Molly’ (2012)
• Augusta // Evan Phillips // unreleased (2017)
• Sharp End // Evan Phillips // unreleased (2017)
• Traveller // Evan Phillips (written by Leeroy Stagger) // ‘Lonely Mountain’ (2017)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
The Sharp End Podcast

 

 

Episode 10 // Short Ropes: Mixed Master Vol. 1

I first came up with the idea to do The Firn Line in September 2016 – really not that long ago when you think about it.  I think the truth is that i’d always wanted to somehow combine my love for the mountains with my creative pursuits.  I just wasn’t sure how to do it.  I guess you could say I had a light bulb moment when I realized that I could combine my passion for storytelling, the mountains, and music all into one creative outlet.  Nine months and ten episodes in, I guess you could say I haven’t looked back.


My goal from the get-go was to create a podcast that I would have wanted to listen to back when climbing was the only thing that mattered to me.  I’ve thought back to all the endless nights sitting around campfires with friends, all the soggy drives to go ice climbing in Valdez, and all the storm days I whittled away in tents, counting the squares in the ripstop fabric.  Back then, I would have loved to have had a podcast like the firn line to listen to.

So as I look back today at the beginning stages of this podcast, or rather, this community, I wanted to share “mixtape” from The Firn Line episodes.  Some of these moments are light-hearted, while others are pretty heavy.  But like every Firn Line episode you hear, all the clips are genuine, in the moment, and real.


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Fox / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Silhouettes (w/ Courtney Marie Andrews) / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Lonely Mountain (w/ Courtney Marie Andrews) / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Unnamed / A. Tholberg / Unreleased (2016)
• Kenny Blackwell / Grand Couloir / Unreleased (2017)
• The Talkeetnas / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Falling Down / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• The Search / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Block Me Out / Easton Stagger Phillips / Overseas (2008)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
Courtney Marie Andrews
Easton Stagger Phillips

 

Episode 08 // Short Ropes: Katie’s Micro-Expeditions

Last month I sat down to chat with Alaskan climber and mountain explorer Katie Strong. Katie is an ambitious adventurer, as well as a driven environmental lawyer, which means her career often-times takes center stage, leaving her with limited amounts of free time. But that doesn’t keep her from spending time in the mountains. Rather, it just means she has to pack big trips into shorter blocks. Enter the “micro-expedition”.


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Stereo / Evan Phillips / Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012)
• The Talkeetnas / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Gauntlet / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Pick Yourself Up / Evan Phillips / Songs From Lake Irene (2007)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
Katie Strong

Episode 06 // Short Ropes: The Risk Of Commitment

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 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.

Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Letter That You Sent / Evan Phillips / Lonely Mountain (2017)
• Trippy Instrumental / Andy Tholberg / Unreleased (2017)
• Lucillia / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips
Clint Helander
Jess Roskelley
Andy Tholberg

Episode 01 // The Expression Of Climbing: Charlie Sassara

Growing up in the wilds of Alaska, Charlie Sassara always yearned for adventure. But it wasn’t until he found the “expression” of climbing that his life’s path changed forever. From early harrowing ascents on Mount Deborah and Denali in winter, to visionary climbs and bold rescues in the Wrangell-St. Elias, Charlie is a compelling character, and one of Alaska’s most enduring alpinists.


Music

• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012)
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Learning To Climb / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Afterschool Special / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Silhouettes / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
• Learning To Climb / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Lucillia / Evan Phillips / Lonely Mountain (2017)
• The Fox / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)


Links

Patreon
Evan Phillips