A Mountain of Life
Joe is an internationally licensed IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 30 years with extensive time in the mountains of Alaska, New Zealand, western United States, South America and the Alps.
Living in Anchorage offers easy trip scheming. In 2005 Joe skied from Anchorage and arrived in Valdez 18 days and 180 miles later. He also skied the full-length of Alaska’s Tordrillo and Neacola Mountains. In June 2009 he skied from the summit of Mount Chamberlin, once considered the highest summit in the Alaskan Arctic. Like Fred Becky, Joe has a little black book, filled with trip ideas.
In 2009 Joe became the 56th American guide to become fully certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and licensed by the International Federation of Mountain Guides (IFMGA). Receiving an IFMGA license includes three guiding disciplines: alpine, ski mountaineering and rock and is the Ph.D of mountains travel. Joe uses this knowledge to help clients minimize risk and have a successful and fun time in the mountains. Guiding allows Joe to share his mountain passion with clients.
Since 1995, Joe has been freelance writing for magazines starting with a feature article in Rock & Ice on climbing the Balfour Face on Mount Tasman in New Zealand. Since then, he published numerous articles on adventures and mountain technique in magazines such as Climbing, Backcountry, Alaska and Trail Runner. His photos have accompanied most of his articles in addition appearing in catalogs such as Patagonia, Osprey, and G3. In 2016 he published the second edition of his book: The Alaska Factor.
With professor parents, Joe had a genetic desire for science. He attended the University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand for an undergraduate degree in geology and geography. He then received a graduate degree in watershed science (snow science focus) from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Joe applies this science background to his guiding, avalanche instruction, writing and photography.
Joe and his wife Cathy moved to Anchorage in 2002. Fifteen minutes from their house are mountains that continue unbroken for 2,000 miles to Washington State. They bought a 1952 house in Airport Heights and have fallen in love with the big wild city, its crazy inhabitants and each other.
Joe at work and play
- 9 highest Seven Devils in 11:30 hours, 9,360 vertical feet, Seven Devils, ID.
- 12 highest summits in Chugach Front, 23:17 hours, 35 miles, 19,000 vert feet, Chugach, AK.
- Ptarmigan Traverse in 15:45 hours, 38 miles, North Cascades, WA.
- Eklutna Traverse in 14:17 hours (twice in identical time), 35 miles, 7K vertical feet, Chugach, AK.
- El Plata (20,000'), 13K vertical feet in 13 hours, Andes, Argentina.
- Three Sisters and Broken Top in one day, Cascades, OR.
- Haute Route Grand Lui, France, Switzerland & Italy.
- Ski descent of Mount Chamberlin (9,020'), Brooks Range, AK.
- North Face of Eagle Peak (55+ degrees), Western Chugach, AK.
- Hatcher to Talkeetna, 72 miles, 16K vertical feet, Talkeetna Mountains, AK.
- Full-length ski traverse of the Tordrillo Mountains, 100 miles, 38K vertical feet, AK.
- Four Chute Linkup, 25 miles, 13K vertical feet, Chugach Front, AK.
- Full-length ski traverse of the Neacola Mountains, 100 miles, 57K vertical feet, AK.
- Portage Icefield from Portage to Moose Pass in 18 hours, 45 miles, 7K vertical feet, AK.
- Chugach Crusher, Anchorage to Valdez, Chugach, 175 miles, 31K vertical feet, AK.
- Mammoth to Mt. Whitney, Sierra Nevada, CA, ~160 miles, Sierra Nevada, CA.
- Frendo Spur (5.9, 80°,1200m), Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France.
- Contamine (5.10b, 250m), Pointe Lachenal, Chamonix, France.
- Fonrouge (5.10b, 14 pitches), Aguja Guillaumet, Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina.
- Over 60 ascents of 17 Cascade Range volcanoes, WA, OR, CA, B.C.
- Stok Kangri (6,153m) Ladakh, India.
- Connely-Stock (IV, FKA), Antisana Sur, Andes, Ecuador.
- Happy Meal (IV, M4, FKA), Pico Integral, Cordillera Real, Bolivia.
- Huascaran Sur (6,768m), Garganta Col, Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
- Cul de Sac (NZ 6), Crosscut, Southern Alps, New Zealand.
- Right Buttress (NZ 5, 5.8, FKA), Balfour Face, Mt. Tasman, Southern Alps, New Zealand.
- Mists of Avalon (NZ 6), Balfour Face, Mt. Tasman, Southern Alps, New Zealand.
- Motorhead (5.10b, 500m), Grimsel Pass, Switzerland.
- The Show Must Go On (5.11b, 280m), Paklenica National Park, Croatia.
- Mort aux Chevres (5.12b, sport), Kalymnos, Greece.
- Mandahuevex (5.10c, trad), Suesca, Colombia.
- Lucky Streaks (5.10c, 200m), Toulumne, CA.
- Black Orpheus (IV, 5.10b), Red Rocks, NV.
- Yellow Spur (5 pitches, 5.10b), Eldorado Canyon, C0.
- Ana Banana (5.11b sport), Vinales, Cuba.
- Ultimate Everything (IV, 5.10b, 22 pitches), Squamish, BC, Canada.
- The Defile (5.12b sport), Phra Nang, Thailand.
- NE Ridge of Pingora (IV, 5.9), Wind Rivers, WY.
- Backbone Ridge (IV+, 5.9), Dragontail, North Cascades, WA.
- The Nose (VI, A1, 5.8), El Capitan, Yosemite, CA.
- Four Engine Effort (5.11b, FA, sport), Bozeman Pass, MT.
Ice & Mixed
- Via Gabarrou-Marquis (80 degrees, 400m), Triangle du Mont Blanc, France.
- Unknamed Long Ice Gully (WI4, 2,500+ feet), Western Chugach, AK.
- Third Place, mixed climbing competition, 1st Annual Alaska Ice Fest, AK.
- Spring Fling (III WI4), Nabesna, AK.
- Bridal Veil (WI5), Valdez, AK.
- Mixed Emotions (I, WI5, M6), Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.
- Ames Ice Hose (III, WI5), Telluride, CO.
- Alexander’s Chimney (V, M4), Longs Peak, CO.
- Avalanche Route (III, WI5), Hyalite Canyon, MT.
- 40+ expeditions into Denali National Park, AK.
- 6 Denali summit expeditions including two on the West Rib, AK.
- Parinacota (20,827'), Cordillera Occidental, Bolivia.
- Mount Logan (19,550'), King Trench, Kluane National Park, Yukon, Canada.
- Cotapaxi (19,347'), Normal Route 2x, Andes, Ecuador.
- Cayambe (18, 996'), Normal Route, Andes, Ecuador.
- Mount Bona (16,500'), East Ridge, Saint Elias Range, AK.
- 4 ascents of Aconcagua (22, 841'), via the False Polish, Argentina.
- Matterhorn (14,692'), Hornli Ridge, Switzerland.
- Mont Blanc (15,782') numerous ascents, Chamonix, France.
- Mount Chamberlin (9,020'), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Brooks Range, AK.
- Mount Iliamna (10,016), Chigmit Mountains, Aleutian Range, AK.
- Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades, WA.
- Forbidden Peak, North Ridge (IV, 5.8 trad), North Cascades, WA.
- Mount Dickey, Normal Route, Alaska Range, AK.
- Coleman Headwall (III), Mount Baker, North Cascades, WA.
- Bagley Icefield, first ascents expedition, Wrangell-St. Elias, AK.
- Steep descents to 55 degrees, Western Chugach.
- Ortler Circuit, Tyrol Italy.
- Bomber Traverse on skis in 9 hours, Talkeetna Mountains, AK.
- Neacola Mountains, ski touring, AK.
- Papillons Arête (5.9, 600m), Aiguille du Peigne, Chamonix, France.
- Snake (III 5.9 trad), Squamish, B.C.