Yesterday, I finished my project to ski all the lines in “The Chuting Gallery,” a steep skiing guidebook to the Wasatch by @straightchuter. To my knowledge, I am the fourth person and first woman to complete the project. I remember when I first laid eyes on the book. I was 16 years old, I had no backcountry experience. A year before, my half-brother died in an avalanche on one of the lines. This book terrified me. I was drawn it to ways that I cannot fully explain. It took me over a decade to get my skills to the level where I could imagine tackling these objectives. There was so much to learn – avalanche forecasting, trad and ice climbing, not to mention getting my fitness to the level where I still had gas in the tank to ski after hours of steep mountain climbing. Each line provided a distinct challenge. I had to put it all together on Ciochetti’s Ribbon. Surprisingly, this was one of the most difficult lines in the book. As the author writes, it is highly condition dependent. The high snow levels created very steep conditions, and the abnormally warm mid-March temperatures metamorphosed the snow even on the highest north facing aspects. The pro is marginal, and cracks were heavily loaded with snow and ice. It was a full on alpine experience with skis. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have patience with these types of endeavors and to wait for the right days. As a wise man (climber and coach Scott Johnston) once told me, “Alpinism is a dangerous game and the learning process is very slow and risky. One of the most valuable lessons you can learn as an alpinist is when to back off. The mountains will always be there. You can come back to them when you are better prepared but not if you’re dead.” Huge thanks to all my partners and sponsors throughout the project. And to @straightchuter @noah_j_howell and @tetonsandwasatch (the 1-3rd people to do it) for providing inspiration. Stay tuned for a film about it next fall with @ducttapethenbeer, @acpictures and @rei!!! Photo: @rob.lea
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.