About two weeks ago, Caroline Gleich became the first women ever to complete all 90 lines in “The Chuting Gallery.” The gallery consists of 90 steep descents in Utah’s Wasatch Range. To Caroline’s knowledge, there has only 4 people to ever complete the gallery and she is the first women to do so. The first line in the gallery that she completed was the Main Chute at Alta Ski Area, UT and the last was Ciochetti’s Ribbon, which is also at Alta Ski Area, UT.
Caroline exhibited an elite level of skiing and perseverance throughout the project. When she was 15 years old, her half-brother died in an avalanche on one of the lines that is featured in the gallery. That wasn’t the only difficulty she faced though, she also experienced resistance from the Wasatch backcountry community when it came to welcoming a women into the picture. Many of them seemed to have believed that it was a male-only activity, so she took it upon herself to make it all happen.
“One way is by being a visible force through my social media channels and through traditional media,” stated Caroline when asked by SnowBrains how she plans to welcome women into the sport. “Because, as the saying goes, you can’t be what you can’t see. For me, my partner Liz Daley was the first vision of a female ski (she splitboarded) mountaineer. She was a mountain guide and she introduced me to the world of riding above cliffs and merging mountaineering with skiing and snowboarding. She was like my sister- we both loved hot pink and glitter and rhinestones. After seeing what Liz was doing, I wanted to do it too. And I hope other women will have a similar response when they see what I’m doing.”“Another way I will work towards welcoming more women into this community is through product development and the input I have with the brands I work with. Currently, it is difficult to find technical gear for ski mountaineering in women’s sizes. I am working hard to change that.”“Another option I might explore is to guide or lead women’s groups into the mountains. I’d also like to work to incorporate more women into trips and expeditions and film and photo shoots naturally. Or maybe I will mentor someone- I love the idea of female co mentorship for mountaineering. As an outdoor community, we need to continue to have discussions of how to reach and include new user groups who traditionally haven’t had access to the outdoors. “
This incredible accomplishment took extreme measures of preparation, such as; logging 100 day seasons at Utah Ski Resorts, completing her Avalanche 1, 2, and 3 certifications, completing Wilderness First Aid Courses, getting a Wilderness First Responder credential, and extensive off-season training. We had a feeling that Caroline wouldn’t want to stop here, so we asked her what she was planning to do next.
“My next big project is making a film about skiing all these lines,” stated Caroline when talking with SnowBrains about what she would do next. “I’ve been filming with Adam Clark for the past two seasons and I have POV footage for the last five years, and I’ll be working with Duct Tape Then Beer and REI to release a film about the project next fall called “Follow Through.” I’m so grateful to REI for partnering on the film and giving me an opportunity to tell my story through the context of “The Chuting Gallery” project.”
“I also want to continue progressing my ski mountaineering, taking the skills I’ve honed in the Wasatch to bigger ranges of the west and the rest of the world. “
For More Information, Check Out: Freeskier’s Piece About Caroline.