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Bjorn Dihle

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Photo by Mauro Paillex / Unsplash. A renaissance mountain man, lifelong Alaskan Ed Shanley has stories stretching across the state. He’s humble, likeable, and a favorite human being to anyone who knows him. That said, pound for pound he’s likely the most versatile and accomplished guide in the north. He’s guided ice climbing, glacier trekking, wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, and reality television productions. But far and away, Ed is most passionate about big mountains. He’s guided many of the world’s most extreme snowboarders and skiers in Alaska’s remote wilderness and brutal conditions. Based in Juneau, Ed guides helicopter skiing and ski mountaineering trips through his company, Alaska Powder Descents. When not in the mountains, Ed can be found around his cabin on the Taku River with his family enjoying the wilderness. He’s always happy to discuss wild places and trips at ed@alaskapowder.com.  Gear descriptions by Ed Shanley Garmin Inreach SE+ I rely both…

Bull muskox spar by butting heads, sometimes running at each other full bore before colliding. Four inches of horn and three inches of bone protect the brain from injury during this violent contact. The first time I encountered muskox in the wild I felt as spectacular as Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear and football helmet in the movie Risky Business. I was skiing across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in March as mountains and the coastal plain glowed blue in the winter light. ANWR, long known as the battleground between wilderness and oil lovers, is the sort of place you can slow dance with your inner Frankenstein without the judgement of others. Better yet, it’s one of a handful of regions in Alaska you can see muskox. A herd of 15 grazed on a windswept rise above a frozen river ahead of me. A bull hoofed at…