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Nov 18, 2021

In June 2020, Chantel Astorga soloed Denali’s Cassin Ridge in less than 15 hours, setting a women’s record and making the first known ski descent of the Seattle Ramp during the approach. She recalls one particular moment after skiing through a dangerous icefall and spotting an eagle: “I’ve never seen a large bird in the Alaska Range up that high, and it was thermaling above me, and I had this wonderful sense of peace and calmness… I’d gotten through this thing I was most terrified of, and I did it in as good a style as I could, and as safely as one can do something like that alone.” Today, Astorga makes a living as an avalanche forecaster in Idaho. She received an honorable mention by the Piolets d’Or awards in 2018 for a new route that she completed on Nilkanth (6596m) in India’s Garhwal Range with Anne Gilbert Chase and Jason Thompson. In this episode, she talks with Derek Franz about her early days as a climber when she was rope soloing ice climbs and skiing Denali in oversized, second-hand gear, and the path that led to her recent success on the Cassin Ridge.

[Photo] Chantel Astorga

This episode is brought to you by Rab Equipment.

Audio Production by Nick Mott.