Black and white photo of a Michelle Parker in slopestyle gear


Words: Ann Donahue
Photo: Josh Glazebrook

Freeskier MICHELLE PARKER set out to climb two 19,000-foot mountains in Ecuador: Cayambe and Cotopaxi. She turned back twice.

THE RED BULLETIN: Why did you go after this?

MICHELLE PARKER: As a skier, I’ve competed in slopestyle and filmed in big mountains. Ski mountaineering is the next step in my career, but as you get into high-altitude peaks, there are skills that you need, and it takes quite a bit of time [to learn].

Your Cayambe and Cotopaxi climbs have the story line of every adventure story gone wrong.

On Cayambe, before we knew it, it was whiteout conditions. And we turned a corner on Cotopaxi and the wind was over 60 mph. It was wet, too. Our bodies, our skis, our backpacks wound up being covered in half an inch to an inch of ice. I had never been in conditions that harsh in the mountains.

“It’s a really valuable and unique learning experience to say no.”

© YouTube / Mountain Hardwear

It must have been incredibly frustrating to miss the top. 

We turned around and didn’t look back. It’s a really valuable and unique learning experience to say no and leave your goal behind. This was a trip to prepare for the future.

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01 2016 The Red Bulletin

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