Guide Spotlight – Harrison Koontz

alpine ski guideWhen you see a big smile peek out behind a grizzled “mountain man” beard, you honestly could be talking about any one of our guides at the end of the season. But if it’s early May and you see this thick beard, you must be talking to Harrison. Harrison came to us in 2018, quickly fell in love with McCarthy and the Wrangell Mountains, and hasn’t looked back since.

Originally from California, he grew up climbing and surfing along the Big Sur coast, learning both activities from his father, an avid adventurer. The desire to push his limits and explore bigger, even more remote mountains led Harrison to Alaska and to us here at St. Elias Alpine Guides. Harrison is one of our “multi-tools” – he’s equally at home climbing on the glacier, backpacking through the wilderness, or rowing a raft down the glacial rivers. It works great! He gets to mix up his schedule, and we’ve got a guide we can grab in a pinch who can guide pretty much anything we need him to!

When he’s not guiding, Harrison works in the winter as a ski instructor and ski patroller, and loves to squeeze in climbing and surfing trips between his seasonal jobs. Around McCarthy, Harrison helps us keep our vehicles running smoothly by tinkering away under their hoods, and likes to spend his free time packrafting, playing board games, and practicing his ax-throwing skills (he’s the first guide who ever brought up their own personal set of throwing axes to McCarthy!). If you’re lucky enough to have Harrison on your next trip, you’re in for a real treat – maybe he’ll even bring along his ax collection!

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