The plane engines buzzed as Sheldon Kerr, Lindsay Mann, Erin Smart, and myself headed into Alaska’s Wrangell St Elias Mountains with our hopes set on making the first female ski descent of the foreboding University Peak. The area was experiencing the warmest temperatures in 20 years and as we flew around the mountain, all we could see was ice and rock. Forced to choose an alternative destination, we retreated higher to the Barnard Glacier in hopes of better conditions. Very few people had been there before us. But the ladies were ready, and though the route was treacherous, they skied it successfully, with the style and grace that makes them some of the best athletes on the planet.
1. (L to R) Sheldon Kerr checks the maps after witnessing the bare bones of University Peak and discusses with Lindsay Mann other options to set base camp at.
2. Sheldon Kerr salutes at the camera as she prepares to head out from base camp to Super Cub Peak with Lindsay Mann chowing down on breakfast in the background.
3. (L to R) Erin Smart, Sheldon Kerr and Lindsay Mann go in for a chest bump as the sun sets over Barnard Glacier.
4. Sheldon Kerr climbs up an un-named peak off the Barnard Glacier.
5. (L to R) Sheldon Kerr and Lindsay Mann tour up Barnard Glacier toward Super Cub Peak for more scouting missions.
6. (L to R) Sheldon Kerr, Erin Smart and Lindsay Mann leave base camp to search out new lines.
7. Sheldon Kerr leads the way with Lindsay Mann following behind as they head up new terrain to explore.
8. Sheldon Kerr navigates icy conditions as she skis beside an ice field on the Barnard Glacier.