In 2001 Aili left New England for Jackson and began alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2003 and earned a BA in Environmental Science and Writing from The Evergreen State College. She spent six years as a wilderness/climbing ranger and two more as a deckhand on salmon and crab boats before transitioning to guiding in 2010. This is also when she began climbing in the Alaska Range each spring. In 2012 she returned to Wyoming and worked on oil rigs in the off season before becoming a full time guide. Her seasonal migration takes her to the Tetons with Exum in the summer, Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas with the American Alpine Institute in the fall, Colorado with San Juan Mountain Guides in the winter, and Denali with AAI in the spring. She is pursuing full certification with the AMGA and as an AIARE Avalanche Instructor.
Notable ascents include The Harvard Route on Mt. Huntington, The North Summit of Denali, Bacon and Eggs and SW Ridge of Mt. Francis in the Kahiltna, multiple attempts on the West Ridge of Hunter, the North Couloir on Mt. Warren and Tower 1 Gully to Tower Ridge on Mt. Helen in the Wind Rivers, the Cathedral Traverse in a day in the Tetons, obscure and technical wilderness traverses in the Olympic Mountains, and alpine, ice and rock routes in the Tetons, Washington Pass, North Cascades, San Juans, many routes up all of the Cascade Volcanoes in Washington (many on skis), The Enchantments, Squamish, Lilloett, Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, the Canadian Rockies, Hyalite, Cody, and Devils’ Tower. The Wind Rivers and Olympics are her favorite ranges.
There is no better place to be for alpine rock climbing (in my personal opinion) than the mountains of Wyoming in the summer! This is a 5.9 variation on the classic Irene's Arete in the Tetons.
Ready for some 4th class travel at the top of the 10-pitch ice route Tower 1 Gully on Mt. Helen in the Wind River Range.
The Wind River Mountains are 100 miles of granite, lakes and sky. There are so many different areas to climb, most over 10,000', many of which require long approaches and overnight camping in beautiful meadows or near lakes full of fish. Here I take a break on the way up to the K-Cracks on the South Buttress of Pingora.
I began guiding in 2010 in the wild glaciated terrain of Washington State. The most memorable trips during this time were those that took me into remote, seldom-traveled alpine areas. This photo was taken on the way to Mt. Delabarre from Martens Park out of Low Divide in the Olympic Mountains. This was a 9 day trip and my client and I summited several obscure peaks, with complicated glacier travel and rotten rock to deal with. On one summit we were the first people to sign the register since 1999!
In 2013 I had the opportunity to guide the spectacular Bailey Range traverse in the Olympic Mountains. The lush beauty of this rainforest range never ceases to bring me a sense of awe when I travel there.
The sun sets over an alpine tarn in the Bailey Range of the Olympic Mountains.
I worked in many different fields before becoming a full-time guide. Working as a deckhand on commercial salmon boats was an adventure each of the three years I worked the summer season in Alaska - and I managed to have some fun, too!
I love Guiding Denali expeditions. The Alaska Range is huge, the weather intense, and the views stunning. These trips are a lot of work, but each group has 21 days to become a team that works together to accomplish the goal of summiting the mountain.
Denali trips can also quite a bit of fun. Here a seemingly innocent snowman takes on a sinister appearance as the sun sets behind the cook tent.
In addition to working on Denali trips each year the Alaska Range lures me back with the siren song of new routes. From corniced ridges to splitter granite climbing, there is a lifetime of incredible challenges in this range. The photo above is from the same climb as this photo: the Harvard Route on Mt. Huntington, (VI, 5.9, A2, 70 deg. ice).
Each spring as the ice waterfalls melt and each fall as the snow flies in the Tetons and Wind River Range I head for Red Rock. Though just minutes from Las Vegas, Red Rock is full of long rock climbs in a desert climate. Sandstone towers of solid rock and beautiful red, pink, tan and white stone soar over a thousand feet off the valley floor. There is also small beauty to be found in the oases formed by the streams in the canyons leading up to the climbs and in the unique flora and fauna that has adapted to the desert environment.
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