Monday, December 15, 2014

Absinthe 10

In this desert, glass
perfect. All

harshness, raining on it,
grinds away
every jag and nodule;

none of it is blank.
As it ages, it

even the black,
volcanic glass, chonchoidal
sharp, eventually

becoming as deep
a pool

as a pupil opening
an iris.
~Stephanie Strickland

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Drop of a Pin

Sometimes I wonder why I come to Churchill. It’s flat. I barely exercise. When I do exercise, we carry bear spray and jog laps around a 10 block radius in groups of 2 – 3… It’s an interesting existence in this small town, living amongst polar bears. Yet this year, my 3rd year returning to the north, I have been overcome with nostalgia.

The subtleties have crept under my skin.
I looked east at the horizon of Hudson Bay this week, waves lapping on the shore, a rainbow amongst the chalky blue sky, and thought to myself ‘Soon, oh so very soon, this will all be ice…’

Not that I should be surprised, but my first year, I had no idea what to expect. My second year, I knew it would happen, but it was still incredible. And my third year, I know with certainty that the bay will freeze this year (at some point), but it still leaves me in complete awe when I try to comprehend it.
Hudson Bay is unique in its shallow nature. It lies on the continental shelf and its relative lack of ocean depth combined with the cold winds coming from the neighboring Arctic cause it to freeze over 7-9 months of the year and melt completely in the summer. It’s shallow nature also allows for an abundance of marine life and ideal bearded and ringed seal habitat. Hence the polar bears. After all, their primary food source is seals, and the productive waters of Hudson Bay provide a prolific feasting platform… when there is ice.
It will be wild to once again watch this vibrant ecosystem slow… frost… freeze..: the arctic cycle of life.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Mountain running. A simple pursuit. Have a pair of sneakers and a water bottle? You’re qualified. You’ve got all the gear you need.
That’s how I ended up spending most of my summer running. I lost all of my climbing/camping/summer fun gear in a fire a year and a half ago, and I just haven’t been able to completely replace everything yet. But you know what I did replace? My sneakers, and a water bottle. So I found my self running, and then I met Beau, and I found myself running a lot.
As an ambassador for Omnibar, Beau had the opportunity to join the fine group of fellows in Big Sky and participate in The Rut. I was originally going to take photos, and was later convinced that I aught to join in on the comradery. So I signed up.
….and then my widsom tooth got infected… 2 weeks from race day… liquid diet commenced. 1 week from race day all four of my wisdom teeth were removed. I had somewhat given up hope of running in the race, and embraced the fact that I could abstain from the suffering and photograph those who were, but… I really wanted to run. I’ve recently fallen in love with the sport, and the route was sure to be incredibly aesthetic and challenging. As much as I love photography, I also just love the mountains, and moving through them gracefully and quickly, feeling light, timeless, a sort of high you get from endurance, distance, vistas…
So I took it day by day. Every day I’d ask myself. ‘Could I run the race tomorrow?’ My thoughts progressed: absolutely not, no way, uhn uhn, ain’t happenin’, not tomorrow but.., perhaps, close… and then Friday rolled around.
We woke early, rode the base area lift up, and hiked along the ridge to a friendly section called ‘bone-crusher’ to photograph the runners of the Vertical K event [race from the base to the summit of Lone Peak (1 vertical kilometer) as fast as possible]. I felt pretty good. No pulse drumming in the back of my mouth with each step. I jogged down a bit of the trail back to the chairlift, feeling good, and decided to run the next day. Worst cascenario, as my doctor directed, if my mouth started bleeding mid race I should stop. But I felt confident that the healing had progressed enough that the chance was unlikely. Beau and I laid low, drank green smoothies, and went to bed early. :)
Handful of pics from Verical K Event.
David Powder Steele, per usually, being awesome. 

Killian Jornet making it look easy (not even breathing heavily).
The race start was a bit terrifying. A gamet of professional athletes in their elite running gear stood at the start. Headlamps feverishly scattered light in all directions. I look over at some of the other girls and thought [man that headband looks high-tech, she must be fast]. I was intimidated. The bugle blew. Chaos commenced. I strolled into my normal mellow gait, far too overwhelmed by the mass of mega fit people swarming around me to sprint the start. Soon enough muscle memory took over and I settled into a rhythm. The best section (in my opinion) was the headwaters terrain. Fields of scree, followed by a steep, loose, billy goat scramble, 30 feet of hand line with abyss below, and a fantastic trail along the knife-edge ridge with stunning views in all directions.
Photo: Anthony Krolczyk 

Photo: Anthony Krolczyk
Mile 15 my mouth started throbbing. I spit on my hand [and immediately after gawked at myself for being so crude], I needed to know if I was bleeding. I was a bit worried and kept checking every few minutes. At the Tram dock aid station I took ibuprofen and the throbbing and fear quickly faded.
David and Brian led the cheering at the top of Lone Peak [mile 20.something] and their enthusiasm helped push me onward, and made me smile.
The final stretch I thought I might vomit, but I reeled it in and forced down one more gel. One of the other gals [who placed 2nd last year] and I played leapfrog in the last 1-2 miles. I was sure she had me, but on the very last hill I snuck ahead, and sprinted the final few hundred yards to the finish, surprised and thrilled to discover that I was the 10th woman to cross the line.
Getting my bird on just before the finish..!
Photo: Anthony Krolczyk
It was neat to be a part of such an incredible event, and even more neat to be in the company of such an athletic group of people. Good vibes. Good energy. I think that was my favorite part, to see how mountains, and the drive to move fast and light, by fair means, 100% human-powered, through incredible terrain, brought so many people from all over the world together, to run and to celebrate. Everyone there has something in common; they live, they live fully, in the present during the race. They embrace struggle, they embrace difficulty, they embrace a challenge. And those sorts of people are the kind of folks who initiate change, inspire, and make the the world more alive.
I don’t know if I’ll participate in many more races in the future, I prefer to pause to take photos, jump in high mountain lakes along the way, and stop when I feel like I’m going to vomit. But you never know…
It’s all just about getting out there, and soaking in the glory of this heaven we call earth.
…and all you need to join the fun, experience the struggle, and reep the rewards is a pair of sneakers, and a water bottle.
nom nom nom

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

24th Lap Around the Sun

Life is certainly an interesting ride. A wonderfully interesting one if you ask me. Last week my wisdom tooth got infected putting me in mandatory slow down mode. It’s been nice to have some time to collect my thoughts and reflect. Last year I did a birthday blog post with 23 moments from the last year in honor of my 23rd birthday. And although I wrote down the ideas a month ago, I’m finally publishing 24 moments from the last year in honor of my 24th birthday. Much gratitude to all.
Successful second attempt of the Bear’s Tooth with good friend Bud Martin. An iconic spire (of which the mountain range is named after) in the Montana wilderness. Got lightning stormed out of the first attempt 5-6 years prior. Such a magestic spot with deep deep blue lakes and a massive rock glacier below. It’s the kind of environment that breathes life into your skin and demands presence and appreciation.

Ventured across the country to attend my Uncle’s wedding in Maryland. I have rarely visited the east cost of the US, and it was such a treat to spend an entire week with my extended family relaxing before a long field season in the Arctic. I particularly enjoyed morning runs along the riprap of the pier as the fisherman were setting up their poles and offered friendly hellos.
Returned to Churchill for my second year with Polar Bears International. I am always blown away by how much I learn surrounded by the PBI family, and how much my appreciation for the environment grows while immersed in the incredible Arctic ecosystem.
Rolling out into what seems to be as close to the unknown as you can get while still being in the known, I headed to Cape Churchill with PBI for the final trip of the field season last year, and although much of it was incredibly challenging, and we were exhausted from the previous 2 months, there’s something about being out there, amongst it, that makes it all worth while…

Joined a posse of some of my closest friends, along with some new ones for a fabulous New Years celebration at the Woody Creek Cabin. In my opinion, cabins are one of the finer places to spend such a holiday.
Decided to spend a few outings exploring a zone close to home that I’ve always been intrigued by. Caught a gem of a day with good friends Adam Pohl and Nick Truax.
Had a primo day of skiing with two of my most favorite gentlemen (Beau Fredlund and Brody Leven) and a new friend Christian Overson in the Wasatch. Duffy delux conditions in the Hallway Couloir really put the icing on the cake. There may have been a few other shenanigans as well…

Two weeks of high pressure greeted Caroline Gleich and I when we arrived in Chamonix. Two weeks of fabulous technical skiing ensued. Corn partay!
Later in the year Beau and I both agreed that this was likely our most memorable day skiing together. After many days waiting, watching conditions, and developing a mountain partnership, we finally had the opportunity to get on a bigger route.
Joined the Shifting Ice Changing Tides ladies in Iceland for the expedition of a lifetime. Prior to boarding the sailboat and setting off across the Denmark Straight we had a succulent few days in the glassy fjords on Iceland’s west coast. Words cannot describe the beauty, serenity, and inspirational vibes of such a place. No wonder Camilla hasn’t left ;).
Had an incredible trip sailing from Iceland to Greenland and skiing in magnificent mountains along the way. What a treat to get to join an amazing group of gals and document their journey.
Flying over the Greenland Ice Cap at the end of our trip really put it all together for me. Although we covered a massive distance we barely scratched the surface. The environmental reserve that is Greenland is so vast, so complex, and so important as a global climate regulator.
Although I probably should have stuck around Bozeman after returning from Greenland, conditions were about to tee-off in the Tetons. So Beau and I rendezvoused with Brody for 5 days of some of the most incredible ski mountaineering conditions I have ever experienced. Boot top powder off the top of the GT (and we skinned *yes skinned* the Ford).
Skied a new route in the backyard that likely rarely comes into condition, and likely has rarely been envisioned before. Quite a thrill.
Fully embraced the onset of summer with a few canoeski missions on the other side of the range (and Beau’s new summertime home).
Began to trade the skis for running shoes and started linking up trailheads in the Bridgers. Started the season off with a Cottonwood to Cottonwood shuttle (thanks Dad). Chose to stay low on the foothills trail due to wind and ended up with just over 22 miles and 8,500 vert. Thought it would be good training for the ridge run. Ran the ridge run over a month later only to discover that it was 20.5 miles and 5,700 vert. “Training”… ha!
Had a good friend swing through town. Was great to catch up with Ryan and reminisce about Alaska, and what a wild adventure that whole experience was. Would have explored much less had Ryan not been in AK my first season.
Returned to Whitetail Peak in July. 3rd time was a charm. Nearly died in an avalanche on my first attempt 6 years prior. Stay tuned for a more detailed story.
Spent a fair bit of time exploring Yellowstone National Park this year. Despite growing up next to the park I have not spent my share of time inside the boundaries. It was lovely to get to know my home turf a bit better.
Beau and I found ourselves out for a run in an enchanted post-burn forest mid July. Unforgettable jaunt in the hillz.
Had an AWESOME visit with Josh. Psyched on new collaboration with LowePro.
Lots of fabulous trail runs followed by cool dips in the lake.
And occationally walking on water.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Big Mountains. Little People.

Recon round 2 out the front door yesterday.

…followed by a mid-day mountain siesta. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Arctic on the Mind

Polar Bears International meeting this week in Bozeman. Scientists are in town too.! Sure to be superb conversation, both thought provoking and entertaining, along with some wild stories.

Epic TV: Episode 3

Episode 3: Horrible Snow Makes for an Awesome Adventure | Skiing Romania with Brody Leven & Kt Miller

What do you do when you arrive in Romania for a ski trip and it looks like November in Pennsylvania? Ski mountaineer Brody Leven and photographer Kt Miller discover the real meaning of spring skiing in the Transylvanian Alps when they are forced to seek out dirty avalanche debris and hike in an out of the mountains for hours. It’s not always fun, but their alpine exploration makes for one amazing adventure. Horrible Snow Makes for an Awesome Adventure | Skiing Romania with Brody Leven & Kt Miller, Ep. 3

Epic TV: Episode 2

Episode 2: Skiing Near-Vertical Avy Debris, Bad Idea? | Skiing Romania with Brody Leven & Kt Miller

Navigating multiple thousand vertical feet of dirt descents on skis is easier with a little local beta. Ski mountaineer Brody Leven and photographer Kt Miller hang with the locals, find some spicy lines, and enjoy skiing slushy avalanche debris. Sketchy adventure awaits!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Epic TV: Episode 1

Psyched to release an EPIC TV series from adventures in Romania with Brody Leven last spring! Enjoy! :)

Episode 1: Adventurers Ski Down an Ice Climbing Route? | Skiing Romania with Brody Leven & Kt Miller

Multiple waterfall rappels, rocks, dirt, and spring snow provide this ski mountaineering duo with a fittingly improbable and freaking tricky adventure. Brody Leven and Kt Miller ski Albisoara Crucii in this video, known by the locals as a climbing route, in the Carpathian mountains of Romania. Can they manage the waterfalls and, at times, complete lack of snow? Ridiculous!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

River. Current. Flow. O.

Which fork to take in the river?
Which way shall I go?
I better decide quickly,
Or the current will choose the flow.
Or maybe… it’s taking me exactly where I’m supposed to go.