Kris Erickson frequently jokes about being the invisible man, because there are often very few photos of him carving turns or climbing to the top of the peak. That’s not because he is taking the easy way up or down; it’s because he is the unseen guy, on the chin-scraping slope, behind the camera lens.
For years, Kris Erickson has brought his camera to the highest points, coldest reaches, and most untouched folds of the planet’s geography. What’s more, he is not merely a shutterbug who stands idle to the side of any expedition. Instead, he tackles the same challenging mountaineering projects as the world’s other top-flight climbers and skiers, often combining his abilities to ascend difficult mountains with a love and passion for true mountain-sliding descents. This is called “glisse alpinism” and, when combined with a remote photo-shoot, it is Erickson’s idea of nirvana.
Erickson’s commitment to his photography, climbing, and glisse alpinism has spurred him to make the driving force of his images the difficult ascents and descents he’s made around the world. His romantic vision for exploration of the final frontiers and his photojournalism documenting these far-flung adventures has blended with his traditional style and ethics in climbing and skiing to capture a rare and wild side of history.
With an exuberant smile and free-flowing conversational style, Erickson reflects on where he has been, where he has going, and his home base. The born-and-raised Montanan says, “I’ve traveled to the four corners of the globe, yet I keep coming back here to Montana.” That he does, much to the joy of his wife, Cloe, and daughter, Noor.
Nickname: E Clarkus (name given by Conrad Anker)
Favorite Snack: Green olives
Most Humbling Moment: Skiing in France.
Ambition: Learn to fly.
Favorite Destination for Your Sport: Himalaya. The biggest and baddest playground in the world
Favorite Movie: Rancho Deluxe
Favorite Book: The Far Pavilions
Favorite Magazine: PDN, Alpinist, The Ski Journal
Words to Live By: You can’t win if you don’t play!
Three TNF Products You Always Pack:
- Pamir Windstopper Glove— most universal glove on the planet. I can do everything with this glove.
- Verto Jacket—Best wind shell and very universal for all activities
- Base Camp Duffel— I don’t go anywhere without these rough and tough bags. They get the job done.
Which Causes Are You Passionate About: Vice president of the Hans Saari Memorial Fund (hansfund.org) Atlas Cultural Foundation Morocco, (director-www.igherm.wordpress.com), Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition board member
Favorite Music: DJ Vadim has been getting a lot of play
Favorite Vice at Basecamp: With the recent Lhotse expedition I may have attained international attention for my coffees in Base camp
Favorite Mountain: Bridger Bowl is the backyard hill
Favorite Place to Travel: My favorite places to travel are those with great adventures off the beaten path. I would say the Himalaya and Antarctica are my favorite places to travel. Both hold a tremendous amount unexplored terrain that will undoubtedly provide unique and wild adventures for decades to come.
2011: Ski Descent of Lhotse face from 7400m, Khumbu Himal, Nepal
2010: 3 First Descents in the Antarctic Peninsula region plus 6 other peaks previously skied Ski descents off 13 Peaks by 23 different routes in the Svalbard Region of the Arctic Attempted winter ski descent Yasgill Peak 6500m, Hunza Region, Pakistan
2009 First Descent “Rakse Peak” S5+ 5428m, Saipal Himal, Nepal First Link-Mt Rainier, Ski Descents of Emmons Glacier & Edmonds Headwall in a day First Ascent “The Spiders House” 5.11+, Jbel Aroudane, Morocco First Descent “Ski FU” WI3 S6a, Pk 9622 Absaroka Mountains, MT
2008: Gasherbrum II 8035m Karakorm Mountains, Pakistan attempted ski descent First Descent “Submission Couloir” Pk 9266 S5+ A Absaroka Mountains MT
2007: First Free ascent “Winter Dance” V WI6r M8+, Hyalite Canyon, MTFirst Winter Ascent “East Ridge” Tawoche 6501m, 1300m 5.9 AI2, Khumbu Nepal
Film/Media Highlights: “Peace be Unto You”, The Ski Journal, By Kim Havell 2010“The Jewel of Bajhang”, The Ski Journal, by Devon Oneil 2010 “Living the High Life”, The Collegian, by Carol Schmidt 2010
Film Productions: “Lhotse a trip of Firsts” 2011 Camp 4 Collective, A series of short films about attempting the first ski descent of Lhotse“Berber Turns” Rocky Mountain Sherpas production, 2010 Skiing the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco “Chased by the Sun” 2010 A film about first descents in the Svalbard region of the Arctic“Pakistan Winter Expedition” 2010 A series of films about life, teaching and climbing in on of Pakistan’s remote regions