In the summer of 1995, John Climaco and Andrew Brash were young dirtbag alpinists looking for the adventure of a lifetime. The duo certainly got that and more when they flew to Pakistan for an attempt on Chogolisa (7,665 m / 25,148 ft). Turns out, the climb was only a small part of the journey.
Special thanks to John Climaco
Learn more about John and Andrew’s 1995 expedition to Chogolisa:
For mountaineers and adventurers, there’s a rich history of exploration in and around Alaska’s Denali National Park. And although the park is mostly known for the hordes of people who attempt to climb Denali each season – few have ever thought about circumnavigating the Denali, Foraker (Sultana) and Hunter (Begguya) massifs – let alone in winter.
The first circumnavigation-like explorations, of non-indiginous people, came around the turn of the century, around the 1900’s. These trips were fueled mostly by the hunt for scientific knowledge or, of course, gold.
In 1899, the first non-native overland traverse of the Alaska Range was made by 1st Lt. Joseph Herron’s Army expedition. They took a route via the Yetna and Kichatna Rivers.
In 1902, USGS geologist Alfred Brooks first explored the southern aspect of the area on a mapping expedition, traveling through and eventually naming Rainy Pass.
Then, in 1903, a 6-member expedition led by Dr. Frederick Cook attempted Denali’s Northwest Buttress, reaching an elevation just under 11,000 feet. Starting in the small village of Tyonek, the team completed the expedition by circumnavigating, possibly unintentionally, the Denali-Foraker massifs.
In the ensuing years, most of the exploration focus in and around Denali National Park was on mountaineering.
Then, in 1978, the first circumnavigation on skis of Denali was made from April 7-28 by Ned Gillette, Galen Rowell, Alan Bard and Doug Weins via Kahiltna Pass, Peter’s Glacier, Muldrow Glacier, Traleika Glacier and Ruth Glacier.
But it wasn’t until 1995, that a complete circumnavigation of the Denali-Foraker massifs – in winter – would be made.
On February 17 of that year, Daryl Miller and his partner, Mark Stasik, embarked on a journey that would last 45 days, and traverse 350 miles. The route, which started in Talkeetna, followed the winding Chulitna River, to the massive Muldrow Glacier, to an area north of the Wickersham Wall known as little Siberia, across the Yetna, Lacuna and Kahiltna Glaciers, on and around toward the Peters Hills and finally back home to Talkeetna. The duo would endure bone-chilling temperatures and relentless wind, waist deep sugar snow and terrifying glacier terrain, as well as unrelenting hunger.
But when it was all said and done, the journey would become an Alaskan classic that is yet to be repeated.
Here’s Daryl Miller’s retelling of this amazing story.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Map Artwork by Mike Clelland
You know that saying – “they just don’t make em’ the way they used to”. I guess you could call it a quintessential American expression. In the climbing world, It conjures up icons like Lynn Hill, Jim Bridwell, Catherine Freer, and Royal Robbins – just to name a few.
You know you have someone like that in your life. It’s someone who’s tough. They have a determination and resolve that’s made of granite. There’s something about them – maybe you can’t quite put it into words – but they just have an aura or presence around them – that’s larger than life.
When you meet these people, they leave an indelible mark on you. And that’s exactly how I felt this last spring, after spending a few days with a guy named Daryl Miller.
If you spent any time climbing on or around Denali back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s – surely you came across Daryl – or at the very least, you knew who he was. Back then, Daryl was the Chief Climbing Ranger on Denali – and even then, he was larger than life. His aura was equal parts military, mountaineer, and Marlboro Man – a steely gaze with a perpetual squint in his eyes from too much glacier sun.
But Daryl wasn’t just known for his daring mountain rescues. In February 1995, he and his partner Mark Stasik walked out of Downtown Talkeetna, and embarked on one of the wildest expeditions in Denali Park history. When the grizzled and emaciated duo returned 45 days later, they had become the first party to circumnavigate Denali National Park in winter – a rugged 350 mile journey that has never been repeated.
But Daryl’s life journey didn’t end with Denali. In 1997, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – a condition that ultimately forced him to shift gears in his career, and eventually retire from the Park Service in 2008.
These days, Daryl lives a simpler life in Anchorage with his wife Judy and their two dogs, Raven and Jago. When I came to visit Daryl for the first time in March, he led me to a back room where we would conduct the first of our three interviews. The room is adorned with relics of a life well lived: photos of climbing expeditions near and far. Military medals, black and white stills of a young Rodeo clown. And a young man, barely out of high school, in combat fatigues in Vietnam, circa 1965.
I quickly realized that I didn’t know much about Daryl. But what I did know is that he’d probably lived 9 lives. The only question was where to start.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Cover Photo: Daryl after a 30 hour search for a patrol member above 15,000 feet on Denali, May,1994
Today we head into the Kichatna Spires – a compact subrange of monolithic granite towers located just south of Denali.
In early June, North American climbers Graham Zimmerman, Dave Allfrey and Whit Magro, headed into the Kichatna’s – their sites set on a new line up the beautiful northwest face of the ranges namesake – Kitchatna Spire.
Although many parties attempting lines in the Kichatna’s get hammered by bad weather and poor conditions, the trio was blessed by the mountain gods – which allowed them to make a first ascent in an enjoyable and safe manner.
The climb, which the team named ‘The Pace of Comfort’ – takes a steep line left of the 1979 Embick and Bridwell route, and goes at Grade VI 5.10, A3+, M6, 70° snow.
On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know backcountry skier, advocate and adaptive athlete, Vasu Sojitra. When Vasu was just 9 months old, his right leg was amputated due to a blood infection called Septicemia. Although his life was forever changed, it didn’t stop him from pursuing his passions through childhood, which included skateboarding, soccer and skiing. But things changed in college, when Vasu discovered the joy of backcountry skiing – which opened a whole new world of exploration of the natural world, and himself.
Since that time, Vasu has immersed himself into the life of backcountry skiing, while simultaneously pursuing work as an advocate for people living with disabilities. For Vasu, the goal is to expand the definition of backcountry skiing to the adaptive community. And maybe this was best exemplified in the summer of 2021, when Vasu and his teammates skied off the summit of Denali, making the first disabled ski descent of the mountain.
I recently got a chance to talk with Vasu about his extraordinary life, ranging from his challenges as a kid, to his self-customized ski outriggers, and his incredible ski descent of Denali. All that and more, on this episode of The Firn Line.
On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know legendary mountaineer, outdoor adventurer, author and conservationist, Rick Ridgeway. I first learned about Rick back in the early 90’s, when I read his mountaineering classic, The Last Step, which details the 1978 first American ascent of K2. Rick was an early hero of mine, as I admired his tenacity, grit and determination in the mountains. But it turns out, the world’s high peaks we’re just one chapter in Rick’s life: a life that’s been filled with adventure, catastrophe, enduring love, and heart-wrenching loss.
A few months ago, I caught wind of Rick’s new memoir, Life Lived Wild, which came out via Patagonia Books on October 26th. The book describes the many adventures in Rick’s life – everything from a gripping stay in a vicious Panamanian jail at 24 years old, to one of his closest companions dying in his arms on a remote Chinese mountain, to traverses in remote regions of Tibet and Borneo, to the windswept and frigid summits of Antarctica. After finishing the book, I finally understood why Rolling Stone magazine once dubbed Rick, ‘the real Indiana Jones’.
This last fall, I was fortunate to catch up with Rick when we talked for almost 3 hours over the course of two separate interviews. It would be impossible to cover Rick’s whole life in such a short amount of time, so we talked mostly about his early years. At the end of it, I was left mesmerized by Rick’s stories – but more importantly, I was touched by his honesty, his humor, his grace, and his enduring wisdom.
When I think back to my formative time as a young Alaskan climber, I’m often filled with memories and nostalgia that are overwhelming. The wonder I felt when I first roped up to cross a boundless icefield, littered with crevasses, and dotted with sabre-like nunataks. My first uneasy solo climb up a 2,000 foot ice face in the western Chugach. Seeing my life flash before my eyes when a river crossing went bad, sending me thru a turbulent cauldron of boulders and snags, only to walk away unscathed. And the first time I felt the cold finality of death, when my 19 year old friend was buried under 15 feet of snow in Hatcher Pass.
Like many young alpinists, my early experiences in and out of the mountains were defined by a succession of monumental highs tempered with desperate lows. Maybe that’s why Jonathan Waterman’s book, In The Shadow Of Denali – made such an indelible mark on me. The collection of short stories, which is a a mountaineering classic, followed Waterman’s years as an alpinist and mountaineering ranger on Denali in the 1970’s and 80’. As a neophyte Alaskan climber, just out of high school – it affected me deeply.
Although I was fascinated with the climbing stories Waterman penned, I was equally entranced by the characters he described. Tales of legendary figures like Mugs Stump and Ray Genet kept me turning the pages at a frantic pace. But it was the stories of the people living their lives in the shadow of the mountain, that hit me the hardest. The descriptions of the hard drinking Herb Atwater, and the ill-fated journey of Gretta Berglund – painted a brutally honest picture of a darker side of Alaska.
Needless to say, the book left a lasting impression on me, and I can honestly say In The Shadow Of Denali is the most influential climbing-related book I’ve ever read.
That’s why I was excited to get a chance to interview Jon Waterman this last week. We talked about everything – from his bitter 1982 winter ascent of The Cassin Ridge, to a 2,000 mile paddle trip across the northwest passage, as well as his new book ‘Chasing Denali’.
The Canadian Rockies are home to some of the most iconic alpine peaks in North America. Mountains like Alberta, Columbia, Edith Cavell and North Twin (to name a few) are synonymous with classic rockies alpine climbing: variable rock quality ranging from total choss, to flint hard quartzite – hanging glaciers and double cornices, veins of pristine alpine and water ice – and the classic sandbag grade of 5.9 A2.
But if there’s one mountain that stands out from the rest (Literally) – it’s Mount Robson. Topping out at nearly 13,000’ in height, and with huge relief on all sides, Robson is truly a sight to behold. It’s massive south face rises nearly 10,000’ from the Yellowhead Hwy – luring tourists, hikers and climbers for a closer look.
But it’s the northern side of Robson that speaks the language of the true alpinist. In 1913, mountain guide Conrad Kain led a group of clients to the summit after navigating the crevasse-laden Robson Glacier, and chopping steps up the northeast face and on the the summit. This ultra-classic line, aptly named the Kain Face – was in some ways ahead of it’s time – and is still a serious route.
The ante was upped in 1963 when Pat Callis and Dan Davis ascended the intimidating apron of 60 to 70 degree blue ice and steep snow, known as the north face.
But it wasn’t until 1978, that the biggest face of all – The Emperor Face – was finally climbed by Mugs Stump and Jamie Logan. The duo spent four days on the route – a line that more or less takes the central rib that splits the 8,000’ face – and with that, established one of the most committing Grade VI lines in the rockies.
Another line on the face was climbed in 1981, by the legendary Dave Cheesmond and Tony Dick.
And finally in 2002, after multiple attempts over many years – Barry Blanchard, Phillipe Pellet and Eric Dumerac climbed “Infinite Patience” – a classic line following couloirs, ice runnels and interesting mixed pitches up the right side of the Emperor Face.
Although Infinite Patience has now been climbed multiple times (and even soloed by the late Marc Andre LeClerc), it is still one of the most serious lines in the Canadian Rockies – and like other classic rockies routes – an ascent is largely based on finding the face in perfect conditions.
That’s why I was excited to hear about the line getting repeated again in September of this year by the Canadian / Dutch team of Jas Fauteux and Maarten Von Haren.
I recently got a chance to talk with Jas about his experience on Robson – what it felt like to find that face in perfect conditions – and what it means to have climbed such an iconic line on the emperor of the rockies.
On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know world-renowned and visionary alpinist, David Lama.
The son of Nepalese and Austrian parents, David was was born with an affinity for movement over natural terrain, and a deep reverence for the high places. As a youngster, Lama excelled at indoor and sport climbing, dominating the competition circuit, and honing his rock climbing skills to the highest standards. But eventually, a natural progression to the mountains occurred – which has culminated in a multitude of ground-breaking ascents in Patagonia, The Himalaya and beyond.
I recently got a chance to sit down with David in Anchorage, Alaska – to have a candid conversation about his life as a climber, and the vision he follows as an alpinist. We talked about everything, from his early days as a competition climber, to a life-changing experience on the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, to his meaningful relationship with fellow climber and friend Conrad Anker, to the limitless ideas and projects that lie ahead.
We started our conversation by talking about David’s natural inclination to climb as a youngster, and how a fateful meeting with famous Austrian mountaineer, Peter Habeler, helped steer the trajectory of David’s life – from the confines of rock gyms, to the limitless arena of the mountains.
Every mountaineer has a favorite mountain range, a place that for whatever reason centers them, gives them a piece of mind, creates a sense of belonging. For some, it might be a well-known place like the Sierras: an area of impeccably clean granite towers, speckled with pristine, aqua-colored alpine lakes and a constant supply of near perfect weather. For others, it might be the Swiss Alps, a range steeped in mountain history and culture, with a list of bold and ultra-classic lines too innumerable to count. And for others, like Alaskan climber and mountain adventurer Eric Parsons, it’s the more obscure areas, like the western ramparts of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, that define their lives.
Growing up in New York, Eric spent summers camping and taking cross-country road trips with his family to places like the Canadian Rockies, and the desert southwest. These early experiences created an adventurous mindset that would follow him to college at Colorado State University, and ultimately, the vast expanses of Alaska.
Since that time, Eric has created a unique lifestyle for himself that centers around his family and close-knit group of friends, his bike-packing gear company Revelate Designs, and of course, a constant effusion of adventures in the western Chugach Mountains.
Last summer, I was fortunate to sit down with Eric to talk about his love for the mountains, the passion and creative drive that led him to start Revelate Designs, as well as the meaningful partnerships and friendships he’s developed through climbing and other outdoor pursuits.
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • Something To Believe In / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • I Come Alive / Evan Phillips / Camp Vibes, Vol. 01 (2018) • Guess I Was Just Young / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015) • Begin / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road(2014) • Ode To Easton / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Traveller / Evan Phillips / Lonely Mountain (2017)
Alaska is a vast and wild place; a constant fluctuation of movement and changing landscapes. Rugged mountains are carved by massive, chaotic glaciers – and lush, brown-green valleys are cut by powerful silt-laden rivers. During the spring and short summer seasons, the landscapes come alive; the lowlands teeming with wildlife and colorful and fragrant boreal forests. Then in the winter, a darkness falls, blanketing the ground with snow and ice, and I quiet the you can sometimes feel, more than hear.
Some people shy away from these natural environments, choosing a more urban existence full of creature comforts and predictability. While other folks, people like artist, skier and wilderness guide Klara Maisch, embrace it, choosing to let the wildness of Alaska shape every aspect of who they are, and how they live.
To immerse yourself into Klara’s artwork is to transport yourself into the heart and soul of Alaska’s wilderness. Flowing lines are meandering rivers. Circles and shapes are glacial erratics. Wistful strokes on canvas are citadels in the distance. And introspective shades and colors, are the crisp interior sky.
• Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • Her Glorious Morning /Evan Phillips / Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012) • Learning To Climb / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Afterschool Special / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015) • Old Dirt Road / Evan Phillips / Cabin Vibes, Vol. 01 (2018) • The Search / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
In March 1999 I found myself wedged in a sandy chimney, fully-gripped and trembling, five hundred feet off the deck.
Me and my partner Scott were attempting to climb The Thunderbird Wall, a grade VI backcountry behemoth in Zion National Park’s Kolab Canyon. The face, which is among the highest sandstone walls in the world, had only been climbed twice since Jeff Lowe and Cactus Bryan made the first attempt in 1971. Scott had been to Zion once before. I had never stood in a pair of aiders. In hindsight, I can only blame the ignorance of youth for leading me to believe I had any business being on The Thunderbird Wall.
• Always Came Back To You / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014) • Stay /Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014) • Lost Again / Evan Phillips / Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012) • Thru The Clouds / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Lonely Mountain / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015) • Stormy / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2009) • Denali Dreams /Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Infinite Spur / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Waterman / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Fairbanks 1975 / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Red Bandana / Easton Stagger Phillips / One For The Ditch (2009) • The Fox / Evan Phillips /Silhouettes (2015)
Growing up in the Yupik village of St. Mary’s, Danielle Varney was raised on a steady diet of winter camping, and long summer days spent working on the family’s Yukon River fish camp.
These core experiences instilled a work ethic that first carried over into college athletics, and ultimately, mountaineering.
Since that time, Danielle has climbed and explored big Alaskan mountains including Denali, Mt. Drum, as well as a harrowing life-and-death experience on the icy crown of The Chugach , Mount Marcus Baker.
I recently sat down with Danielle to talk about her deep Alaskan roots, as well as the important lessons she’s learned from Alaska’s mountains.
• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012) • Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Something To Believe In / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • Hard Times / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • Close To Me / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2018) • Lucillia / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road (2014)
On December 2, 2017, I had the great privilege to sit down in front of a live audience at the Alaska Rock Gym, and talk with renowned Alaskan alpinist and explorer, Roman Dial. We had a candid and highly-entertaining conversation that spanned topics including his early years in Fairbanks, his ambitious climbs in The Hayes Range in the 80’s, as well as his forays into hell-biking, tree climbing, and packrafting in the 90’s and beyond.
In some ways, Roman is a larger than life character, with a list of jaw-dropping outdoor achievements to his credit. But as you’ll soon hear, it’s the characters, friends and partners that have helped shape Roman’s life, and ultimately meant the most to him.
• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012) • Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Lonely Mountain / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015) • Space Walker / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2015)
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.
• 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)
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.
• 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)
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.
From a young age, Graham Zimmerman was inspired by the rugged peaks of the New Zealand alps, and later, the cascades of Washington and the pacific northwest.
During high school, Graham developed a keen interest in geology and it was then that he would experience his first involvement with mountaineering. But it wasn’t until he returned to New Zealand for University that climbing became the driving force in his life.
Since that time, Zimmerman has honed his craft, and over the last decade he’s pioneered a myriad of exploratory routes in Alaska, Patagonia, and most recently, The Karakoram. But for Graham, it’s not just about climbing. Rather, it’s about living an all-encompassing lifestyle that combines exploration, creativity and challenging alpinism. Getting to the top is one thing, but how you get there is everything.
• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012) • Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • The Search / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Lost Again / Evan Phillips / Goodnight My Dearest Stranger (2012) • Looper / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Red Light / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2014) • Stay / Easton Stagger Phillips / Resolution Road(2014) •The Search / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
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”.
• 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)
Growing up in the village of McGrath, Luc Mehl was inspired at a young age by the simplicity of rural living, and the vast Alaskan wilderness surrounding him.
As a teenager, Luc moved to Anchorage to attend high school, and it was during this period that he would first experience rock climbing and other outdoor sports. But at that junction, his passion for academics and learning would take center stage.
After earning his undergraduate degree in geology, Luc attended UC Santa Barbara where he would earn his first master’s degree. But as much as Luc enjoyed school, he’d always struggled to find balance between the rigid structure of academia, and the more dynamic lifestyle he’d known as a kid. Ultimately, he returned to Alaska in 2003, deeply depressed, and unsure which direction to take.
It was during this period, a time Luc refers to as his “dark year”, that he would literally stumble his way into the mountains, only to come out on the other side with a restored sense of purpose, and a new way of living.
• Space Song / Evan & Molly / Evan & Molly (2012) • Augusta / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Valley Below / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2013) • Driftin’ / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2014) • Traversing Rappel / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017) • Guess I Was Just Young / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes(2015) • Logan McCarthy / Evan Phillips / Unresolved (2017) • Spacewalker / Evan Phillips / Silhouettes (2017)