Kristine and I grew up in different parts of the country and each came across our love of climbing mountains in our own way. Now that our paths have crossed we have become climbing companions, were recently married, and have our sights are set on the same goal: climbing the seven summits together.
Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, I started hiking and climbing with my dad in the Tetons of Jackson Hole, WY, when I was in eighth grade. Immediately, I fell in love with the outdoors, the climbing experience, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the summit of a mountain. While reaching the summit is the ultimate goal, it is definitely not necessary to have a successful and meaningful climbing trip as I have been turned away on my fair share of mountains in my life time. Rather it is the actual climbing itself that I love and the experience with Kristine and good friends in such great places of the United States and the world.
I started making climbing road trips out to the Rockies for 5-6 weeks every summer during my college career at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. In these climbing trips, I climbed many Colorado 14,000’ peaks, many of the peaks in the Tetons, one of which was The Grand Teton for my 1st time, and King’s Peak, UT, the highest mountain in Utah. After W&L, I again went on a climbing road trip with my dad to Colorado and climbed many more of the 14,000’ peaks in the state as well as The South and Middle Tetons in the Teton Range, WY. Shortly afterwards, I climbed Mt. Rainier, WA, with two good friends for my first real climbing on a glaciated mountain and fell in love with glaciated mountaineering and snow travel. I moved to Telluride, CO for a year after W&L to pursue my love of climbing and mountaineering and took up telemark skiing and ski-mountaineering. I then moved back east to Atlanta, GA, and pursued a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. Almost every other weekend I drove up to Tennessee to rock climb at some well known local crags. I also took a crevasse rescue course on Mt. Baker, WA, and climbed Mt. Adams, WA, during graduate school and learned the key fundamentals of glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Upon graduation with my master’s degree from Georgia Tech, I landed a mechanical engineering consulting job at Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers in Vail, CO, and moved immediately back to the state where I knew I belonged. I have been living just outside of Vail ever since October of 2003 living, working at Beaudin Ganze, and pursuing my climbing, mountaineering, and telemark skiing interests to the fullest extent. In December of 2004, I organized and lead my first international high altitude climb of El Pico de Orizaba (18,500’) in Mexico with a group of good friends. In January of 2006, two of my good friends and I organized our own expedition and successful climb of Aconcagua (22,841’) in Argentina, the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas and my first of the seven summits. In June of 2007 and in June of 2008, Kristine and two other good friends of ours organized our own climbing expeditions and successfully climbed Denali (20,320’) in Alaska, and Mt. Elbrus (18,500’) in Russia, my second and third of the seven summits and Kristine’s and my first and second of the seven summits together. Living just outside Vail, CO, over the past few years, I have climbed The Grand Teton, WY, again for a second time with Kristine and friends, Mt. Hood, OR, and all of the fifty-five Colorado 14,000’ peaks many of them two, three, and four times. Also, during our life here just outside Vail, CO, Kristine and I love to telemark ski down the many, fantastic peaks this state has to offer. I know my love for ski-mountaineering will only continue to grow in the future.
Kristine grew up in the suburbs of Boston, in Stow, Massachusetts. She traveled extensively throughout the states and abroad with her family. Through visiting National Parks across the U.S., in Australia, and in South Africa, she developed a passion for traveling and an appreciation for the outdoors. Kristine also spent time every summer in Acadia National Park in Maine. Although hiking was not her favorite thing to do at the time, she grew to love Maine and ended up attending Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
It was at Bates that Kristine went on her first backpacking trip, joined the Outing Club, and first dabbled in rock climbing, ice climbing, kayaking, and numerous other adventures that got her off campus as much as possible to enjoy the mountains around Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. With a newfound enthusiasm for the mountains and an itch to get out of New England for a while, Kristine moved to Colorado after graduating from Bates. She lived in Denver for a year, climbed her first 14ers, Grays and Torreys Peaks, and got into road biking in the mountains. She participated in Ride the Rockies, a 7-day, 500 mile bike tour that traversed the San Juan mountains. She continued on to do other bike tours, including the Triple Bypass, a 120 mile ride, spanning 10,000 ft. of elevation gain that passed right by her future employer, Vail Mountain School. Kristine quickly discovered that Denver was not nearly close enough to the mountains, and moved to Vail in 2002.
Living and teaching in Vail, Kristine fell in love with the mountain lifestyle, hiking, biking, trailrunning, or climbing nearly every day and beginning to take on the 14ers on the weekends. In the summer of 2004, Kristine began leading backpacking trips for an Ashville, NC based company, Moondance Adventures. In her first summer working for Moondance she landed the coveted Leadership Trip which entailed backpacking in Olympic National Park, WA, rock climbing at Smith Rock, OR, and culminating in an ascent of Mt. Rainier, WA. This experience, sharing her love of the outdoors with a group of enthusiastic teenagers, was made even sweeter by her immediate love of mountaineering. She had the opportunity to climb with Phil Erschler and hear his tales of climbing the seven summits, twice, once on his own and a second time with his wife. The following summer Kristine was unable to lead a Moondance trip due to an unfortunate skiing accident that tore her ACL, MCL, and Meniscus in her right knee. Although she was unable to lead a trip, she continued to climb 14ers and get out on her bike as much as possible. In the summer of 2006, Kristine once again led the Leadership Trip for Moondance and made her second ascent of Mt. Rainier. Rather than leading a second trip that summer, she participated in an Alpine Ascents 6-day mountaineering course on Mt. Baker, WA with her sights set on Denali for the summer of 2007.
Kristine has long been a great friend and climbing partner since my move to Vail, CO, in October of 2003. In March of 2007, months before our climb of Denali, Kristine and I started dating. Then, on Christmas Eve 2008, we snowshoed up to an abandoned cabin at the top of Meadow Mountain just outside Minturn, CO, and got engaged! My original intention was to propose to Kristine on the summit of La Plata Peak (14,336′) south of Leadville off of CO 82, but the -17 outside air temperature at 6:30am while driving through Red Cliff deterred us from going any further. My main concern was the dogs’ ability to handle these cold temperatures as well as our chances of reaching La Plata’s summit considering the cold temperatures, the breaking trail, and the 11 miles roundtrip – I wanted a destination at which to ask Kristine to marry me. Climbing CO 14ers in winter is quite a challenge and is ten times harder than climbing them in the summer. Fortunately, we were able to climb and ski CO’s highest 14er, Mt. Elbert (14,433′) on Christmas Eve 2007. As much as I wanted to propose on a summit of a 14er, we made the right decision to abandon the 14er and head for the cabin at the top of Meadow Mountain. This way, we were able to have a great fire in the cabin’s wood stove and spend a good 2 hrs in the cabin. Check out our engagement pictures here.
Kristine & I were married on a gorgeous October 3, 2009 Fall day on the Gorono Ranch outdoor deck, Telluride ski mountain, in front of our wonderful families and numerous good friends. We had a fantastic dinner inside Gorono Ranch, danced the night away to our favorite 80s tunes, and even departed under a surprise ice axe cathedral organized by my father in the spirit of George Mallory’s wedding while the snow flakes started to fall. Check out our wedding pictures here.