Ep. 8 - Fast Track: Planning An Alaska Expedition In Two Months with Kelsey Rex

Nov 22, 2023

Sometimes opportunities arise which push you outside your comfort zone.

For Kelsey Rex, an out of the blue invitation turned a next year trip to Alaska into "we're leaving in two months". That accelerated timeline required a Matrix-like download of expedition planning and put Kelsey in her sweet spot as a lover of meticulous spreadsheets. It also meant confronting her tendency towards, as she puts it, "conservative progression plans" — and perhaps, even her concept of what she's capable of.

Not only was the trip unexpected, she would be going with someone she'd only climbed with once before. This would be an extended "second blind date", as she describes it. So how did it go? You'll have to listen to find out.

In this episode, we talk about planning for your first Alaska expedition, how good partnerships are complementary and foster growth, and what makes the Northeast special when it comes to training for bigger ranges.


1:37 - Progression in ice climbing

5:21 - Taking a fall

9:14 - Coming back

11:04 - Women in guiding in New Hampshire

21:57 - From Peace Corps to ice climbing

27:29 - Invitation to Alaska

30:42 - Planning for the trip

38:09 - How New Hampshire prepares you for bigger ranges

43:41 - Climbing at the Tokositna Glacier

53:21 - Lessons learned

1:03:21 - Imposter syndrome

Resources and links:

This is the article by Bayard Russell that Kelsey mentions, which supplemented her own gear list spreadsheet: How To Remember Everything: An Exhaustive Alaska Expedition Packing List.

You can read Kelsey's 5-part recap of the trip on Instagram. Here is part 1.

If you'd like to follow Kelsey on Instagram, you can find her at @kelsey_rex. This winter, Kelsey will be at the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest, Smuggs Ice Bash, and Michigan Ice Fest, and if you'd like to try and book a day out with her, she guides with Cathedral Mountain Guides.


Thanks so much to Blue Ice for sponsoring this episode (and Kelsey)!

Blue Ice began in 2008 at the base of Mont Blanc with the idea of designing products that went back to the basics. That's led them to focus on functional, ultralight gear that just works. In their words, "we get to the point with a subtle blend of purism and daring."


Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!).

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.