Returning Client Spotlight – Ben and Ed

For the next article about our amazing clients who come back year after year, we’re excited to highlight mountaineering clients Ben and Ed! Originally meeting each other on a mountaineering trip in the Wrangells, they have continued to come back each year and climb more peaks together. They’ve been climbing mountains with us since 2015, and have summited Mt. Blackburn, as well as two un-named First Ascents in the Wrangells. Way to go Ben and Ed! We’ve loved climbing with you the last few years, and are looking forward to more mountaineering trips in the future!

alaska mountaineeringHailing from Indianapolis, Ben’s a pretty sharp guy, and is an Aerospace Engineer for Rolls-Royce (making jet engines, not cars!). His engineering mind explains how he picks up technical mountaineering ropework so quickly! From Ben’s mouth directly, “Wrangell-St. Elias has been the highlight of my year for what will be five consecutive years. Not sure what the next climb will be, but St. Elias is my long-term dream climb.” Well Ben, we’d love to make that climb a reality! But how about tackling University Peak with us first? Ben is currently signed up to climb University Peak with us this spring, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Ed comes to us from the Southeast (so he’s got some long days of travel to make it up to McCarthy), and is a recently retired innkeeper of the Shellmont Inn in Midtown, Atlanta, GA, which he and his wife started in 1983. With an impressive guest list over the years (dignitaries, celebrities, etc.), the historic inn has received many awards over the years. Congratulations on your retirement, Ed, and we’re excited to celebrate it with you on an Alaska mountain top!

alaska mountaineeringBen and Ed did our First Ascents trip in 2015, where they summited two un-named, (and possibly) un-climbed peaks in the Wrangells. With a short weather window, they packed a lot of climbing into a few days, and were rewarded by completing two Alaska grade II+ climbs!

After this First Ascents trip, Ben and Ed were thirsty for more, and signed up for our Mt. Blackburn Expedition for 2016. Ben had attempted this climb two years earlier (with a different guide service), but only got to 10,000ft, so he was determined to make it to the top this time! Despite very difficult conditions (and a brutal storm system), he did indeed summit! After such a moving experience, he’s currently hired our in-house artist Jason (who was also his guide on the trip) to design a tattoo to commemorate the climb. That’s awesome Ben!

alaska mountain climbersOn this same trip, Ed powered through with the team, but came up just short of the summit, due to the challenging conditions and high altitude. Despite not reaching the summit, Ed battled through all the tough, technical sections leading up to their highly exposed camp at 13,000 ft. We’re happy to be part of one of the biggest climbs of your life, Ed! He plans to come back to the Wrangells shortly, for another fantastic climb with the friends he’s made over the past 2 years. We’re excited to have you back too, Ed!

All in all, we’ve had some incredible memories with these guys in the Wrangells, and are looking forward to many more!

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