Take me back to the mountains covered in snow and ice. #tbt to #peruski15 #bigmtndreams photo: @rob.lea

Greeting sunrise on the trail. Photo @acpictures #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

Dark skies matched my mood this weekend. Sometimes, not even the joy of being in the mountains can take away the sorrow. I was so sad to learn about both Erik Roner and Sam Jackenthal passing this week. I didn't know Erik but I can only imagine how much positive energy he brought to the world. Sam was a young competitive skier I used to coach. He always had such a fire in his eyes. He passed away from a ski related head injury. Life is precious. I don't know all of you personally but I cherish our interactions, do be careful out there. My heart goes out to all the friends and family members coping with the loss. Big hugs. #lightforsam #livelikeliz photo: @rob.lea

"I get high with a little help from my friends, gonna try with a little help from my friends." The thing that I love about climbing is how it brings people together. There are few closer bonds than that of climbing partners. When you're roped together, you have to trust one another. So grateful to all my friends who came to Indian creek with me to climb, watch the lunar eclipse and celebrate Liz! @rob.lea @brodyleven @brookegaynes @huckgaynes @megansharrod Megan's mom and @pattonmurray! @rob.lea

"We get by with a little help from our friends." Sorting out borrowed racks and gear in Moab. Thanks to everyone who lent us their gear for Indian Creek! @acpictures @timjones_video photo: @rob.lea

To celebrate the life of @liz_daley, I did my first leads in Indian Creek! Liz loved climbing here, and she encouraged me to get on the sharp end. I strive to emulate her spirit, strength and love of life everyday. #livelikeliz #bigmtndreams Photo: @rob.lea

@carolynswertka and I recently collected water samples in Little Cottonwood Creek to be analyzed for @adventurescience microplastics project. iPhone + @LifeProof case allowed us to enter data in the field. #LiveLifeProof #spPhoto: @andrew_burr

Trying my best to #livelikeliz everyday. I can't believe it's been one year since we lost our friends @liz_daley, @andreasfransson99 and @auclairjp. I spent the past few days climbing in Indian Creek, camping under the full moon during the lunar eclipse, just as Liz and I did on our first trip to Alaska, #akgirls_way, spring 2014. Camping in remote wilderness with friends creates some of closest relationships, and I'm so grateful for all those moments.

Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone. Or stem across it. And remember that climbing, like all things in life, is about having the most fun. I'm excited to head back to Indian Creek, UT tomorrow! @LifeProof #LiveLifeProof #sponsor

Good morning from Guardsman's Pass! I love these crisp fall mornings. A pleasant jaunt through the hills with @rob.lea and @acpictures #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport #sp

The anticipation of winter makes the reward sweeter. #LiveLifeProof @LifeProof photo: @acpictures #sponsor

Last night I had an eerie dream. In it, I was searching for Liz's ghost in the splitter cracks of Indian Creek. I woke up sobbing, still sad about the loss. There's nothing quite like the unconditional love and acceptance of a good mountain partner. When I was in the mountains with @liz_daley, I felt a powerful sense of belonging. Our competitive spirits fueled a lovely game of one-up(wo)manship. Few wounds are more painful than losing that. It's almost her one year death anniversary. In her honor, Liz's friends are building a climbing structure. They are throwing a fundraiser this Saturday, Sept. 26 in Tacoma, WA. To donate, buy tickets or learn more, go to @lizrockscampaign or lizrocks.com (link in profile). Liz on the sharp end in Indian Creek, doing what she loved most. Credit: @zclanton #livelikeliz

Girls on crack! @sheldonkerr getting high on Blue Sun crack. I was impressed by her confidence on this difficult lead. Sometimes you just need someone to show you what's possible to open your mind.

These are your hands on crack. Indian Creek crack. Hand selfie from this weekend's adventure with @sheldonkerr. Tis the season for desert climbing!CG tech tip: tape gloves are a game changer for desert splitter. Thanks Sheldon for supplying the tape and guidance to make these beauties!!! #splitterofmydreams

One more from yesterday – I sure was excited to see some snow in Little Cottonwood! I have a ritual during the first snow to go for a hike or run at @altaskiarea or @snowbird followed up by a soak in the hot tub at the Cliff Spa. I love the feeling of the snowflakes on my face while my body is immersed in the hot water. I highly recommend it. Photo: @rob.lea

First snow of the season in Upper Little Cottonwood Canyon! The mix of snow and fall colors makes my heart happy!!! @rob.lea trying to blend in.

"The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders."-Edward AbbeyA glimpse into Spooky canyon from last weekend's adventure with @brookegaynes. I can't wait to return to the desert to continue exploring "Abbey's country."

Taking water samples in Little Cottonwood with @carolynstwertka – I'm excited to be contributing to @adventurescience microplastics project. Living the life of an adventurer is an awesome thing, it's even more awesome when you can use your adventures to have a positive impact in the world. Check out Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to find out more how they mobilize the outdoor community to drive conservation around the world. Photo: @andrew_burr

Feeling the allure of the desert. The warm redrock is calling my name. Utah holds so much wilderness to explore- I took a trip down a road I'd never seen this weekend with @brookegaynes and @huckgaynes. I can't wait to go back. @brookegaynes #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

Buenas noches from Escalante, UT.

Good morning from Little Cottonwood Canyon! #bigmtndreams

Support your local avalanche center! If you're a snowsports enthusiast, now is the time to check out offerings for avalanche classes or to make a charitable donation to your local avy center, since they depend on supportive partners (like you) to survive and continue sharing life saving knowledge about backcountry conditions.And, if you live in SLC utah, come to the @utavy Fundraiser party at Black Diamond this Thursday night! It's one of the biggest backcountry gatherings in the world, and it's a party that's not to be missed. You know those mornings we all live for? Your admission to the party pays for avalanche and mountain weather advisories, observations and avalanche education that help you make smart decisions in the backcountry. So we can live to ski another morning. @hopturnharry on the ridge walk up Superior one misty morning last season.

Why Trails Are Meaningful to Me

As part of REI’s #everytrailconnects campaign, I was asked to answer the question of why are trails meaningful to me. As a professional skier and mountaineer, this question made me dig deep into my background in the outdoors and connect with my roots. Often, I like to venture where there are no trails, but the trailheads are always the start. To me, trails are a source of inspiration. They reignite my childlike curiousity and help me remember my drive to explore, to see what is around the next corner. Trails force me to be intimately connected with my surroundings, to remember each rock and tree and to notice the subtleties of foliage and sun.

To me, trails mean a sense of belonging. It is on the trailhead where I meet up with my tribe, and on that trail where I can be my true, authentic, wild self.

My favorite childhood memories were made on the trail, backpacking through the Wind River Range, the Sawtooths and the San Juans with my dad and my brothers. Growing up in the Midwest and traveling to the Western US, I was awestruck by the rugged beauty and complexity of the mountains, and it was there that I found my sense of place. Those mountains stood in stark contrast to the flatlands of the Midwest, and it gave me a goal to look towards. I always knew I wanted to go back and climb those mountains. I loved the alpine starts, watching sunrise while walking with my family.

In college, I majored in anthropology. I spent a lot of time learning about human evolution. Sometimes I feel more akin to the ancestral homo sapiens, the pre-modern human who roamed around, hunting and gathering and living off the land. The trail connects us to our ancestral self. Whether we are looking to pick the best huckleberries at our favorite stash, searching for that beautiful, high, alpine lake, or hunting down the best powder on skis, going out on a trail is a practice that is innate to us.

In this way, trails connect us with our humanness and our tribe. They also connect us with our environment. On the trail, we remember we are not superior to nature. Every trail connects us to our place in the natural world. Trails help us find our edge and push us to make brave choices. They give us a framework for exploring our wilderness. Trails mean stewardship and a chance to leave no trace. It’s one arena where humans can have little impact.

My very first job in the outdoor industry was working at the Salt Lake City REI, first as a cashier and a greeter, then as an action sports specialist. I loved meeting people who were excited to venture into the outdoors and I’m excited about REI’s ongoing commitment to giving back, to protect and improve the places we love to play. This year, REI will give back $5.9 million dollars to nonprofits who are committed to caring for outdoor places, and this fall, $500,000 will go to trail networks in the places where REI members live and play. Check out rei.com/trails to learn more.

And remember, adventure is not a destination, it’s a state of mind. Whether you live in the city, the mountains or the sea, there are always opportunities to have an adventure and interact with the natural world. Be brave, play hard, have fun and be safe.

Blog post created in partnership with REI. Photo Apr 13, 6 26 32 PM Photo Aug 01, 6 42 07 PM Photo Aug 01, 7 24 15 PM Photo Aug 03, 10 09 43 AM Photo Aug 08, 5 10 46 PM Photo Aug 12, 1 33 50 PM  Photo Jan 16, 5 05 28 PM Photo Mar 26, 7 53 06 PM Photo May 08, 11 42 56 AM


#Everytrailconnects us to the dirt, snow, sand, rocks and trees. Every trail connects us to our place in the natural world, and to one another. Trails give me a powerful sense of belonging. It's where I meet my tribe to have an adventure. It's where I find courage and strength to be my wild, authentic self. Trails also mean stewardship. They give us an opportunity to preserve the outdoor experience for future generations, to protect the places we love to play. My first job in the outdoor industry was working at the Salt Lake REI store, and I'm excited about their ongoing commitment to stewardship, giving back to the outdoor places we love so much. This fall, they are donating $500k to different trails – find out more and vote at rei.com/trails.In partnership with @rei #sponsored

Sometimes we go to the mountains to run away, other times it's to connect and find a place we feel we belong. Grateful to share a sunset atop PC Hill with @megansharrod @brookegaynes and @huckgaynes. ️

Today, I went for a bike ride with @perpetualweekend. It was my first time seeing Jim since he suffered a serious spinal cord injury last winter that left him paralyzed. While we cruised around the trails of Park City, he said his experience on human powered expeditions had taught him important lessons for his recovery. For instance, you have to stay organized, get your systems dialed, but more importantly, you have to accept an uncertain outcome. His doctors didn't know if he'd ever regain use of his legs again. It was so inspiring to hear how he maintains a positive outlook, and watch how he slayed it on this mountain trike he borrowed from the @nationalabilitycenter (my apologizes for the shaky video…) Jim, thanks for sharing some stoke on the trails today. And I can't wait to ski together this winter.

Like the mountains, life provides a series of challenges. Sometimes you just have to focus on putting one foot in front of another, knowing that you have the mental toughness to overcome adversity. Thinking back to this bitterly cold morning on #PeruSki15, waiting for the warmth of the sun. Photo @rob.lea #LiveLifeProof @LifeProof #bigmtndreams

My weekend adventures with @rob.lea. What adventures did you get up to? One of the highlights of my weekend was seeing @merufilm at the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City. It was so inspiring and made me so stoked to climb, but the most important thing I took away from the film is about friendship – that sharing the adventure with friends is one of the most gratifying things in life. If you haven't seen this film yet, check it out! #bigmtndreams Photo: @brodyleven

I’ve never been afraid to get a little dirt under my fingernails. Carrot harvest, summer 2015. Photo @alyssalarson_mt #LiveLifeProof @LifeProof #sponsor project #foodnotlawn

Yesterday, we climbed Sasquatch, a super classic 5.9 finger crack. We heard thunder right before I started up this pitch, but didn't feel a raindrop until we were packing up our packs. Sometimes you roll the dice and win. I'm always happy to climb the classic LCC trad lines with @rob.lea. Photo: @johnevansphoto #splitterofmydreams

"Traditional climbing, or trad climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber place all gear to protect against falls, and removes it when a passage is complete. Important features of trad climbing are a strong focus on exploration, and a strict dedication to leaving nature unblemished by avoiding older means of protection such as pitons, which damage the rock."From Wikipedia. If you don't know, now you know. Photo @johnevansphoto A fun night on Sasquatch with @rob.lea #splitterofmydreams

Attention Utahns, did you know that Rocky Mountain Power, our biggest utility provider, gets almost all of our power from aging coal plants, and they plan to continue with that for the next 20 years? If you want more renewables, today is the last day to comment on their 20 year plan! Let's let them know we want more renewables and less coal. Go to:healutah.org/MoreCleanEnergy (link also in profile) @healutah @protectourwinters #ActOnClimate Photo: @brentbensonphotography

Be a free-range human. Happy weekend adventuring everyone. #LiveLifeProof @LifeProof #sp photo: @alyssalarson_mt

"The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It's so easy to make it complex. What's important is leading an examined life." -Yvon Chouinard @patagonia #wornwear #sp Photo: @alisonvagnini

Good morning from the Uintas! I love it when I can start my day with a sunrise trail run. Photo: @rob.lea

You know those people in life who inspire you to do something you've always wanted to do but never felt confidant enough to pursue? Well @liz_daley was my inspiration. She told me to get out on the sharp end of the rope and become a strong trad leader. I spent the next 6 months climbing and leading pitch after pitch, hundreds over the summer and fall months. I called her when I led Sasquatch, or other notable routes, just to let her know. The truth is, I always wanted to become a strong leader, a mountain hardwoman, like she was, I just needed a nudge of confidence to help me see that in myself. Even though we won't get to climb together again, I'll always feel her warmth, her radiating presence, with me giving me that nod of confidence, especially on the #splitterofmydreams that we both loved. I can't describe the stoke I felt at this moment. #livelikeliz Photo: @rob.lea Pass it on and tag a friend who's inspired you in the comments below! I'd love to hear your stories of inspiration!

A wise climbing mentor once told me, "A weighted foot never slips" (I think it was Kitty Calhoun at a @patagonia ambassador summit). Good advice for those inevitable granite friction moves. It was so fun to get out for some trad climbing on the #splitterofmydreams in Little Cottonwood Canyon today! Not to mention, I had the best crew ever with @rob.lea (pictured here), @trent_meisenheimer and @brodyleven. Thanks dudes for the encouragement to get back on the sharp end. Stoked. #bigmtndreams

"Bravery is a choice, not a trait. Make bold, unique decisions in the face of self-doubt and fear." -Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative. Photo: @alyssalarson_mt #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

Girl time is good for the soul. I love the men in my life but there's something special about the bond between gals in the outdoors. Lovely to catch up with the talented athlete/photog @alyssalarson_mt on a favorite hike today. #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

I still don't consider myself much of a runner but lately, I've been doing quite a bit of trail running as part of my mountain training. And actually, I've been enjoying these outings. They aren't the steep, rocky ridge scrambles of my dreams, but effective training is all about mixing it up. So I'm doing just that. If you're interested in seeing more of my training, check out my Snapchat. I've been trying to post more raw, in the moment stories there that will give you a glimpse of my day to day life. As always, feel free to ask me any questions! #trainingforthenewalpinism #bigmtndreams photo: @rob.lea

Sweet powder dreams. Starting to feel a slight chill to the night air… Photo: @louisarevalo #bigmtndreams

Live the life you love. Visualizing my #bigmtndreams and finding a way to make them realities at #orshow. If you're at @outdoorretailer today, stop by the @jaybirdsport booth from 2:30-4:30 and say hi! #poweryourpassion Photo:Cameron Baird

Great to get out for a little jaunt in the hills before #orshow today with @alisonvagnini. It's one of the best things about living in SLC, the mountains are so easy to access! #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport photo: @alisonvagnini

Having lost so many friends to skiing and climbing, I often ask myself why? Why do I still want to do this? And there's no simple answer. But often, it comes down to moments like these. A simple ski turn at sunrise. The warm sunlight after a cold night. The magnificent glow of light on snow. It's magical. And it keeps me going. Sweet dreams and good night everyone! Photo @jaybeyerimaging #bigmtndreams #livelikeliz

Truth: I'm not on a summit everyday. This photo is not happening right now. I'm learning to find a balance of work and play and finding that the most rewarding things in life require a lot of hard work. This week, I'm stoked to spend some time indoors catching up with folks at the @outdoorretailer trade show. If you're around, I'll be at the @julbousa booth on Thursday from 4:30-5:30 and the @jaybirdsport booth Friday from 2:30-4:30! Come say hi!

Protecting the environment is hugely important to me. I've seen, firsthand, the effects of climate change on glaciers worldwide and on our winters here in Utah. But the battle isn't just to preserve our way of life as skiers and snowboarders and mountaineers, it's about human health, cleaning up our air quality and creating a future we want to live in! Today, President Obama is announcing the Clean Power Plan, the boldest and most aggressive action ever taken by the U.S. to address climate change. I wholeheartedly support this brave move, on a national level but more importantly on a state level. It will go a long way to cleaning up Utah's air quality- for those of you who are from Utah, let's urge Governor Herbert to support this too! #ActOnClimate #CleanPowDerPlan @protectourwinters Photo: @rob.lea

Waterfall and wildflower weekend trail vibes. May the good times flow…! Photo: @rob.lea Bonus points if you can name the location!

Some people chase the endless winter but not me. I love the hot summer days to make me crave winter. It's a time for hard work, training, planning, organizing… And for me, the anticipation makes the reward that much sweeter. Shredding through the icing on the cake – photo: @leecohen_pics

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stats to change the world."-Harriet Tubman Reaching for the stars on the summit ridge of Mt. Hood. @rob.lea

Suns out Guns out (ok not really in this pic)! Find out how pro skiers @sierraquitiquit, @steepskiing, @christinalusti, @mikaelashiffrin, @lynseydyer and I eat and train in the off-season in this article on Skinet.com (link below and in profile):http://www.skinet.com/ski/article/suns-out-guns-out-pro-skiers-summer-trainingPhoto: swinging leads up the East face of Mt. Whitney last summer @jeffbeckstrand #bigmtndreams