Guide Spotlight – Merritt Poling

mountaineering guide“We should ask Merritt.”

That’s pretty much a daily saying here at St. Elias Alpine Guides when we come across a question about grammar, history, art, literature, or almost anything. Of course, we are referring to our superstar guide Merritt, the man with all the answers.  How did he come to be that way? Well, aside from being a sharp and intelligent dude, he spends a good chunk of his time reading (when he’s not off guiding and adventuring around the Wrangells of course). Merritt reads books for about 2 hours a day, juggling between 6 different books at a time! He has a whole system for what he chooses to read (ask him!), and as a result he is our resident expert in everything. He’s essentially the Google of SEAG.

Originally from Boise, Idaho (it’s BOY-see, not boy-ZEE), Merritt has always had a love of the mountains, but also a love of travel and exploration. He’s the only guide on staff who can brag that he’s lived in five of the six U.S. time zones, and we’re lucky his travels have brought him to McCarthy! In his own words, “I have seen many, many parts of North America, both the flat, and the pointy. I prefer the pointy.” Well that’s a good thing Merritt, because it doesn’t get much pointier than Wrangell-St. Elias! Here in the Wrangells, Merritt can be found guiding hikes on the glacier, backpacking trips in the backcountry, or rafting trips down our rivers!

When he’s not at work, Merritt likes to run and bike (keeping him in shape for all his adventures), and play board games with his fellow guides, in addition to keeping up with his reading schedule. So next time you’re in McCarthy, stop by the Powerhouse, peek behind that book, and say hi to Merritt!

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