The SnowBrains Podcast – Episode #7 – Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist [Part 1]

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SnowBrains Podcast #7 – Part 1 | Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist

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This week, we bring you episode #7 [Part 1] with Andrew McLean the legendary ski mountaineer, author of the Wasatch Steep Skiing Bible “The Chuting Gallery“, inventor of the “Whippet Self Arrest Ski Pole”, and Big Mountain Scientist. In 2017, Powder Magazine voted Andrew as one of the “48 Most Influential Skiers of All Time”.

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In this episode, Andrew & Miles talk about surviving a 500-foot fall, being covered in human poop on a glacier, being on the Colbert Report TV show, being the first professional ski mountaineer, mountain unicycling, getting arrested, getting caught in avalanches, losing friends in the mountains, and Andrew’s favorite mountain ranges to ski.

“We had a lot of snow and I went to dig out the outhouse, and the whole thing collapsed and I fell into it [& human poop]…. I had to use a pancake scraper to basically scrape my pants off. It was totally disgusting” – Andrew McLean in Part 1

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Episode #7:

Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist

Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist – Part 1 | Brought to you by Alta Ski Area

Disclaimer: So, right off the bat, I wanna let our listeners know that Andrew and I are friends and that we’ve spent weeks together confined in small sailboats in Svalbard, Norway and well-spaced from each other in big boats in Antarctica so this conversation is gonna be fun, it’s gonna be frank, and I’m excited to have this venue to really dig in and ask tougher questions than normal – so watch out…

“We had a lot of snow and I went to dig out the outhouse, and the whole thing collapsed and I fell into it [& human poop]…. I had to use a pancake scraper to basically scrape my pants off. It was totally disgusting” – Andrew McLean in Part 1

Andrew McLean is a legendary ski mountaineer, author, inventor, and Big Mountain Scientist. In 2017, Powder Magazine voted Andrew as one of the “48 Most Influential Skiers of All Time”. Andrew is one of the best ski mountaineers on the planet having skied first descents on every continent and has been featured in a myriad of ski movies including the Big Mountain Skiing documentary: “Steep.” Andrew is the inventor of the “Whippet Self Arrest Ski Pole” among many other groundbreaking inventions in the mountaineering universe. Andrew has skied over 100 first descents all over the world. Andrew graduated from the very prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and went on to become a product designer for Black Diamond in Salt Lake City, UT for 14-years. Andrew was even an avalanche forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center for a year. Andrew wrote the most legendary, hilarious guide book ever created called “The Chuting Gallery – A Guide To Steep Skiing in the Wasatch” that is simultaneously considered The Bible & Holy Grail of steep skiing in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Andrew is a gifted writer and has written articles for Powder Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, Skiing Magazine, and many other publications. Andrew is most likely the very first professional ski mountaineer on Earth. Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah with his wife Polly, their 2 daughters, and 2 poorly behaved canines.

2 PART PODCAST: Andrew McLean is so goddamn interesting, he has so much to teach us, and has so many hilarious stories that we had to break this interview into 2 parts.

This is Part 1 of Andrew McLean, the Big Mountain Scientist.

In this episode, Andrew & Miles talk about surviving a 500-foot fall, being covered in human poop on a glacier, being on the Colbert Report TV show, being the first professional ski mountaineer ever, mountain unicycling, getting arrested, getting caught in avalanches, losing friends in the mountains, and Andrew’s favorite mountain ranges to ski.

Andrew McLean answers these invasive questions in Part 1:

  • How the hell did you become the first professional ski mountaineer ever?
  • You and your friends coined the very popular term “Dawn Patrol,” how did that happen?
  • Why did you get arrested twice while attending the Rhode Island School of Design?
  • What was your experience being on the Colbert Report TV show?
  • How did you invent the wire-gate carabiner and the “Whippet Self Arrest Ski Pole?
  • What’s the funniest accident you’ve had in the mountains?
  • The New Yorker called you a “Mountain Scientist,” do you think that’s an accurate portrayal – Mountain Scientist?
  • Many more…

Please enjoy!

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Join us next week for Part 2 of Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist where we discuss the explosive growth of backcountry skiing and riding, Accidents in the mountains, losing friends in the mountains, & Andrew’s battle-hardened sense of humor.

“The style of the writing came about because I never really expected it [The Chuting Gallery] to be a real book. It’s just gonna be like ‘here Miles, here’s this book you can read on the toilet and get a laugh out of.'” – Andrew McLean in Part 2

Join us, won’t you?

This episode is brought to you by Alta Ski Area. 8.5%? Nope, we ain’t talkin’ ’bout beer… We’re talking about the average density of Alta’s snow. The density that provides perfect powder flotation.

***

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The SnowBrains Podcast Episode #7 – Andrew McLean, The Big Mountain Scientist [Part 1]

Episode #7 was recorded on October 29th, 2020 in Santa Cruz, CA (Miles Clark) and Park City, UT (Andrew McLean).

This episode was edited by Robert Wilkinson.

Music by Chad Crouch.

Host, producer, and creator = Miles Clark.

The SnowBrains Podcast. Skier: Miles Clark. Location: Jackson Hole, WY. Photo: Sasha Motivala.  Date:  March 2020

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