Good partners make even the most miserable slogs enjoyable. When I told @brodyleven that I was going to load up my pack with extra weight, I was sure he would bail on our plans. Instead, he added 20 lbs to his pack so we could chat along the way. So grateful for all my awesome training partners! #myrunningpal #bigmtndreams

Last night's training: climbing the South Ridge of Superior in mountain boots with 20% of my body weight in my pack. It seems crazy to carry all that unnecessary weight up 3000' until you realize it's the perfect training for ski mountaineering. #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz #utavy #usaw14 photo: @brodyleven

Sunset from the South Ridge of Superior. It was such a beautiful night to be up in the mountains. #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

One of my tips for living a healthy, active lifestyle is to plan activities with people who are similarly motivated and who have a positive, uplifting energy! This week, I'm hoping to hit the trails with @brookegaynes, an absolute shining star and one of my favorite partners in crime. #livelikeliz #bigmtndreams @altaskiarea @johngaynes

How I love the snow! Reminiscing last Sunday's training hike at @snowbird- and how lovely it was to walk around in the snow and ice. #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz #embracetheelements

Two thumbs up for the summit of the thumb! I was elated to stand on this feature that I have been staring at for so long. You know that thing in your town that you've always wanted to do? Now's the time to go do it! Happy weekend adventuring everyone! #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz @brodyleven

Climbing success seems to come down to one's ability to withstand discomfort, whether it's the weight of a heavy pack on your shoulders or the slow drip of dirty water on you as you place gear in a wet and slippery chimney (pictured here). How you deal with discomfort is the difference between success and failure. It takes a total acceptance of the present moment. You learn to love those things, the intense wind in your face, cold fingertips, painful feet and fatigue because they teach you lessons about yourself and provide the opportunity to grow. @brodyleven #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

Is it winter yet? A reminder of what I'm training for: skiing the biggest mountains in the world. #tbt to topping out on the Dent Du Geant to ski the South Face last spring. Photo: @tom_grant_ #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

Is that pure stoke…or fear in my eyes? There's a fine line between what is fun and what is scary. The best adventures are the ones where you're dancing on that line, keeping all the elements and emotions harmoniously balanced. Approaching the thumb yesterday morning… Photo by @brodyleven #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

Ever since I first saw "The thumb," I've wanted to climb it. Yesterday, I made my 10+ year dream a reality. Everything came together for an adventure of epic proportions, and, thankfully, we made it home in time for dinner. It takes just the right partner to have success on an outing like this and I'm so grateful @brodyleven (pictured here, on the approach) was willing and able! #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

Some vertical feet are gained easier than others. But I love the challenge! Climbing multi-pitch granite trad routes makes me think of @liz_daley. She inspired me to push myself and get on the sharp end. Going to do an LCC classic today that would make her proud. #livelikeliz photo: @brodyleven #bigmtndreams

I went rock climbing. It was awesome. (@brodyleven, pictured here, is a writer and he helped me write this caption. Check out his profile for many tales of inspiring adventures). #bigmtndreams

Today's workout: Carrying 20% of my body weight up 3000 vertical feet today at @snowbird. The weight is in water jugs (1 gallon=8 lbs), which can easily be emptied for the down. It's one of the recommendations from "Training for the New Alpinism," an awesome guidebook by @stevehouse10 and Scott Johnston. I highly recommend it to help you achieve your big mountain goals, whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite alpinist. Available through @patagonia books- Link in profile. #bigmtndreams #exploremore #livelikeliz

The cooler temps have me getting so stoked for winter, and continuing to train hard with a heavy, weighted pack. For those of you who live near Utah- the Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (#USAW14) is coming up Nov. 1! The UT Avy center wants to know how you are training for 14/15 winter. Follow @utavy, share a photo or video showing what you are doing, tag #utavy and #usaw14 and enter to win great prizes. @matthewturley

The fall colors are firing! Continuing my year-round love affair with Little Cottonwood Canyon. Here's one from today's training hike at @snowbird. #bigmtndreams

I'll never forget watching the lunar eclipse on the glacier in Alaska with @liz_daley, @_jt_photo and @jaybeyerimaging. I was freezing, but it was such a fabulous way to start our first ever ski/snowboard trips to Alaska. #akgirls_way #find_away #livelikeliz

How does a ski mountaineer train for steep skiing in the off-season? Here's one way. Mastering my scree hop turn technique on Cascade. Video: @matthewturley #bigmtndreams

Cascade Mountain Summit. Part of my passion for mountain climbing comes from a childlike curiosity. I always wonder what is around the next corner, so I explore to find out. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, whether I summit or not. #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz #exploremore @matthewturley

Sometimes the simple act of smiling and dancing can change your whole mood. Today, I'm grateful for life. And this pile of rocks. #livelikeliz #bigmtndreams photo: @matthewturley

Sunset hike to the top of Mt. Wolverine in loving memory of our fallen friends. With @erikka_g @brodyleven @brookegaynes and @johngaynes. #livelikeliz #bigmtndreams

Bongeater was the last climb my friend @tonypavlantos did with @liz_daley. Today, I put on my pinkest, sparkliest leggings and we climbed this beautiful splitter in her memory. There's nothing quite like crack climbing to take your mind off the loss of a friend. Liz, I'll always channel your spirit when I'm pulling the crux move on bongeater.

Yesterday was a hard day for the snowsports community. Three of our friends died in avalanches in South America, including my dear friend @liz_daley. Liz had a sparkle that shined through everything she did. She was an inspiration because of her enthusiasm and her abilities. For every challenge she encountered, she confronted it with creativity, a positive attitude and love. And that is the spirit, her legacy, for us to carry on. She'll be in my heart forever. My love goes to all her friends and family. Big hugs to everyone!

A bit of mixed ridge climbing today en route to the American Fork Twin Peaks from @snowbird. 4" or so up high. So happy to be in the snow! Photo: @matthewturley

There are these moments, when I get to the top of a peak…I think about how much I love climbing. Then, I remember what I'm really training for. Climbing is part of it but for me, it's all about skiing the lines of my dreams. I cannot wait for the mountains to be covered in snow!!! Not long now… #bigmtndreams #winterlove

There's nothing quite like waking up in a sea of mountains, cloaked in shimmering golden light. Sometimes the most challenging thing is not to run away to the mountains everyday but to sit and do the work that allows me to get there. #exploremore #bigmtndreams

Today's training included some weighted hill climbs. I was stoked to spend some time on the trail with my nephew, Peter. Sunday funday with the family. #bigmtndreams #exploremore

Buenas noches from the top of Mount Nebo, 11,929'. Happy Weekend adventuring! #exploremore #find_away #bigmtndreams

Sunrise from the summit of Mt. Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch, my backyard mountain range. I was inspired by @drjonkedski and his book, Sleeping on Summits, so I decided to give it a try. Sleeping on such an exposed, rocky and windy ridge was challenging, but great training for future endeavors. #bigmtndreams #exploremore

The descent portion of ski mountaineering requires one to make a series of highly controlled, technical turns on steep, exposed terrain with little room for error. The best unofficial ski coach I ever had was photographer @leecohen_pics who helped me hone my technique on the slopes of Alta and Snowbird. By critiquing the photos frame by frame, I learned how to make a nearly perfect turn. Lee is the man- be sure to check out his profile for inspiration! @leecohen_pics @altaskiarea #bigmtndreams

It's #IcePhoto Wednesday and I'm reminiscing snow camping on the glacier in Alaska, earning my ski turns (and enjoying a pedicure, pictured here). One of the things I love most about ski mountaineering is the amazing glaciated terrain I get to travel through. But glaciers, worldwide, are melting at an unprecedented rate and it's making many mountains more difficult or dangerous to climb. Climate change is a complicated issue, but advancing clean energy will also help clean up the air quality in my home, Salt Lake City, UT. Those are some of my reasons to #ActOnClimate. What are yours? #saveoursea #protectourwinters #find_away #akgirls_way

@altaskiarea is for families. Spotted this mother moose and her calf this morning. There were two bulls around as well. Check out my facebook page (link in profile) for more photos. Remember to give moose plenty of space. Last fall, I had a close encounter with a ornery bull while trail running in the dark! Thankfully, it ended without conflict, but it sure gave me a scare. Photo: @olloclip lens on iPhone

Happy Fall Equinox! I love fall because it means winter is right around the corner. There's a chance of snow this weekend in the Wasatch! Photo: topping out on the summit of Hahn's Peak, CO @robaseltine #bigmtndreams

Cold and breezy on the summit of Mt. Raymond in the rain yesterday! CG tech tip: cold weather training- working out in the cold presents a different set of challenges for your body to adapt to. Continue outdoor exercise through the fall and early winter to ease your body into it. I promise, you can learn to enjoy it! Bring an extra layer (I like to have a few light layer options rather than one big one) and plan to keep moving at a fast pace. #bigmtndreams

I was marching in spirit with the 300,000+ citizens in yesterday's #PeoplesClimateMarch. As much as I wanted to fly to NYC to join this historic effort, I decided to stay home and voice my support via other channels. We have to be open and honest with the behaviors we have. There are no perfect solutions. As an individual, I'm doing my best to lead a simpler, more examined life. But we have to speak up for the environment to protect the places we play and create the future we envision. As David Brower said, "There is no business to be done on a dead planet." March on, yesterday, today and tomorrow. #votetheenvironment #actonclimate #protectourwinters

Good morning from Big Cottonwood! Glad to be back in Gore-Tex season. Instead of letting the rain cancel our parade, we brought our rain jackets and marched on. It was good to be out in the elements! #find_away #exploremore #bigmtndreams

Sunset on Hahn's Peak was the perfect way to finish my Colorado trip. Stoked to be home after a month of travel! Huge thanks the @zealoptics family for an amazing week! Photo: @robaseltine #exploremore #throughourlenses

I'm inspired by those who have the fearlessness to chase after their wildest dreams- like all the @zealoptics athletes I've had the chance to connect and catch up with this week. @leilahurst and I en route to a beautiful waterfall in the CO mountains. #exploremore #throughourlenses photo @robaseltine

New Q&A up on @shejumps site! Find out more about my background and progression into ski mountaineering. Link in profile. Photo: climbing up the NE couloir of the Petit Mont Blanc in Italy. #bigmtndreams #exploremore #find_away #chamonixoxo

Good morning from Colorado! This morning, I climbed my first Colorado #14er, Torrey's Peak. It was so fun, we decided to tag Gray's too! Two 14ers before 9 am. Thanks @fmarmsaterphoto and @drjonkedski for taking me on the adventure. #exploremore #bigmtndreams

Top of the first Flatiron. One of the things I love most about @instagram and social media in general is the way it brings like-minded people together. Yesterday, I met up with one of my Instagram followers, @arareko, to climb. Now, we are real life friends. If you're in Boulder tonight, come join me and the rest of the @zealoptics team at Sanitas Brewing at 6 pm for the world premiere of "The River's Divide." Hope to see you there!

Topping out on the first flatiron in Boulder, hours after landing at Denver airport, pitch #35 in the past 12 days. Such an amazing way to kick off my first Boulder visit and a week with the @zealoptics crew! special thanks to @arareko for taking me on this adventure! #bigmtndreams #exploremore

Thinking back on the last 3 weeks of travel: Montana, California and tomorrow I'm off to Colorado to meet up with the @zealoptics crew! Always grateful for the opportunity to #exploremore and inspired by the friends, new and old, that I interact with along the way. Mahalo @ktmillerphoto @lydlovesmud @bfredlund @jeffbeckstrand @shannbenntt

We Heart Trees






August 16, 2014


My friend, Hannah Whitney, invited me to plant trees at Solitude with TreeUtah. Many years ago, I volunteered with TreeUtah and did a tree planting at Alta Ski Area. I was excited to have an opportunity to get out with them again.

Part of what makes the Wasatch so great for skiing (besides the abundance and quality of snow) is the spacing of trees. Some of the most alpine-feeling areas of the Wasatch are treeless due to avalanches. However, what people don’t realize when they look at the Wasatch, especially in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, is that most of the ancient trees were removed for limber, to build homes in the Salt Lake Valley and underground mines.


Riding chairlifts in the summer, always an interesting experience. You don’t realize how much snow we get, until you have to jump to get off on a platform!


Volunteers gathering at the top of the lift, ready to divide and conquer.


The lovely Hannah Whitney from Tree Utah giving us a demonstration.


Me, stoked and ready to plant!


Teamwork makes the planting easier, and more fun! I invited my lovely friend Megan Suszynski to come with me, and we had a blast.



Dave Richards aka “Grom” of Alta Ski Patrol, ready to dig!



One of the limber pines we planted…


Hannah Whitney of Tree Utah going what she does best. I met her through the big mountain ski scene, and I’ve been stoked to see her transition to environmental activism, through her work at Patagonia, Tree Utah and SheJumps.

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While we were hiking around, we found several skis, poles, empty beer battles and even a full, unopened can of beer!

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Overall, the group planted 1,000 new trees at Solitude! Thanks so much to Tree Utah and Solitude for hosting this awesome event.

To find out about future volunteer opportunities with TreeUtah, be sure to “Like” their Facebook page:

And check out their website:



Setting up camp at 12,500'- there were some prime bivy spots at the base of Mt. Whitney. Last weekend's adventure has me dreaming about what's next… @bigagnes_ #highsierra #bigmtndreams

In the winter, I start my day by eating breakfast and reading the @utavy forecast. The @utavy center is an indispensable resource for Utah backcountry users. A quick reminder that their annual fundraiser is tonight at @blackdiamondequipment. Hope to see you there! @tmacphee

With each passing hour after a big adventure, I find myself less likely to remember the physical discomfort and more likely to remember the views, good feelings and fun. Scrapes and bruises fade quickly, but the feelings of accomplishment linger. Already dreaming of my next trip…

Ascending the East Buttress on Mt. Whitney. Alpine climbing requires you to put all your skills to the test. After spending the summer learning how to trad climb, it was awesome to swing leads on this eleven pitch route. #bigmtndreams #exploremore

Supermoon in the Sierras! The moonlight was so luxurious- no headlamp necessary. It was so incredible to be at the base of Mt. Whitney at night surrounded by granite towers reflecting the moonlight. I had to wear an eye mask to sleep! #bigmtndreams

Back to civilization after a fantastic journey to the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48, via the East Buttress. Dramatic weather today- stoked we were able to climb before the storm rolled in! #bigmtndreams

Sunrises and sunsets enjoyed high up in the alpine; the fantastic views are one of the reasons I appreciate wilderness areas. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act signing. Why do you appreciate wilderness areas? #wearethewild #find_away