Scarpa North America Blog

Tag Archives: Andrew McLean

The Journeyman: Dylan Freed’s rise as a career ski mountaineer

Jan. 3rd 2012

Dylan FreedSCARPA-athlete Dylan Freed has quite the pedigree. Mentored for years by world-class mountaineers, the humble and precocious ski mountaineer who’s not even a quarter century old already has years of professional skiing under his belt, which happens to be black, if you catch our drift. He’s all in, and here’s what he has to say.

You grew up in SLC in the mountaineering community. How has it been having hard man alpinist Mark Twight as your uncle? How did that influence you?
Having Mark as an influence when I was young has been the strongest force on my direction in life. He introduced me to what the mountains can offer, if you’re allowed to trespass in them long enough, and the way friendships and experiences evolve with people who embody similar attitudes. Seeing him in another realm as a compassionate family member made me aware that other people’s perceptions and the personas people create in the media are rarely accurate.

In addition to Twight, you’ve had a lot of great mentors to learn from, including Andrew McLean. What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from them?
Skiing and traveling with Andrew McLean is always entertaining. Whether swerving around Tehran in an ‘88 Land Cruiser cheating death (in an auto accident), waiting for cameramen in Iceland in a whiteout, or skiing some “low angle bullshit” on a high danger day in the Wasatch, he always has an incredibly positive attitude. It has been great to have a friend and mentor that has taught me about what it’s like to be a traveler and make the best of any experience you’re given.

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Skiing Life in the Fall Line, a Q&A with Andrew McLean

Oct. 11th 2011

Andrew McLean has made a career out of searching out steep skiing lines around the world. But instead of relying on guides and helicopters, he’d rather do the groundwork himself and hike for his turns. He has first descents on all seven continents, and returns to Antarctica this fall for the forth time. We had a chance to speak with him from his home in Park City, Utah to share a little about his affinity for ski mountaineering.

Andrew McLean in AntarcticaYou’re kind of this world famous couloir chaser. It seems like it’s your favorite means by which to descend a mountain. Why?
I just like the aesthetics of couloirs. I grew up skiing at a really steep, rocky, and craggy area outside of Seattle called Alpental, and developed an early love of skiing couloirs.

When I moved out to the Wasatch there was all this great fluffy powder skiing but it didn’t have the same punch that the steeper lines did. It seems like steeper lines in the world tend to be couloirs, and I really enjoy the sensation of being inside these narrow, dark, steep and long chutes.

Has the technical extreme been eclipsed by the exploratory extreme? What are virtues of both, and which do you prefer? How are they different?
For a long time I was into going steeper and steeper. But it actually gets pretty hard, and you can waste a lot of time trying to squeeze out another two or three degrees of steepness, because, to ski a really steep line it has to be just right. It can’t be too icy, and it can’t be avalanche prone.

Just looking for steep lines all the time, it’s tough, and you end up not skiing a lot of them. You go out and easily waste a day trying to hunt down a line that doesn’t ever materialize. But in the process I’ve gotten into exploring more, going to new places, and experiencing the culture, discovering cool places where there is skiing to be had.

For me, having that experience in chute skiing, though, if I go to a place like Morocco I would be into the exploratory part of it, and also looking for steep chutes to ski. It’s kind of a blend. I like exploring, and if I can explore and find steep chutes, so much the better.

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Andrew McLean reviews the new SCARPA Rush AT boot

Sep. 28th 2011

Andrew McLean is one of the best known ski mountaineering athletes in North America. The guy’s written the book (literally) on skiing in the Wasatch, and he’s also known for ski mountaineering descents around the world, including places like Alaska, where he’s skied the three most prominent peaks in the Alaska Range (Denali, Foraker and Hunter), and Antarctica.

With all the climbing required to ski in spots like that, it’s no surprise he’s a fan of light ski boots that offer a lot of range of motion in the cuff for touring. In this video he takes a look SCARPA’s Rush alpine-touring boot, new this season. The women’s version is the Blink.

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SCARPA Athletes Star in Powderwhore’s Breaking Trail

Sep. 9th 2011

Utah-based Powderwhore Productions have outdone themselves again this year with the release of their latest flick, Breaking Trail.

Previously filming tele-only skiers, this year they’ve included athletes that ride other modes of transportation including split-boards and AT equipment. This year, SCARPA athletes Andy Jacobsen, Andrew McLean, Noah Howell & Paul Kimbrough get to show their skills in the backcountry.

While they promise there will be “no shots of helicopters filming other helicopters or hankie-clad 16-year-olds hepped up on energy drinks spinning to rap music” we still can’t wait to see the fresh faces, fresh tracks and waist deep pow that we hope Mother Nature will again drop on us this season.

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Steep skin tracks: Hate ‘em? Andrew McLean says don’t

Dec. 16th 2010

If there’s anyone qualified to riff on skin tracks, it’s Andrew McLean. The guy’s logged more time on climbing skins than most.

And if there’s one topic that some folks love to bash on in the backcountry (other than dog poop on route), it’s steep skin tracks. Andrew’s take: Dealing with steep tracks is a matter of technique and tools, as well as a way to keep things interesting.

Chris Figenshau shows how it's done.

Whether you love steep skinning or hate it and don’t foresee changing that view, this is good beta, because you know you’re going to be dealing with steep skin tracks sometimes.

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A Family Affair

Oct. 14th 2010

SCARPA North America athlete Andrew McLean is all about family…The Alaska Family, that is, and tonight he’s going to be giving a presentation on just how committed he’s been.

“The Alaska Family” refers to a set of three peaks, the Denali, Sultana and Mt. Hunter. According to Native American lore, these mountains are the Father (Denali), the Mother (Sultana) and the Child (Hunter). In skiing terms, they represent the highest peak in North America, a peak that has been called “the toughest 14-er in North America,” and a peak with one of the lowest odds of success, respectively. That’s quite the family tree!

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