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 [email protected]

Gear descriptions by Ed Shanley

Garmin Inreach SE+

I rely both on satellite phones and text communications, but for most situations, I prefer the simplicity of the satellite text services offered by Garmin. Instead of dropped sat phone calls, when a message is sent, I know it will be received. Excellent battery life, a multitude of service plans, and the ability to send your exact location and to use the unit as a standalone GPS device make the Garmin InReach something I always grab when I head out into the hills. 


Lange XT3 130 Ski Boots

One ski boot to rule them all? The XT3 130 is the closest thing I have found. No one makes a better ski boot, in my opinion, than Lange, and these are no exception. Everything from ripping it up at the local ski hill, steep technical helicopter skiing, and moderately long tours are all handled very well by this boot.  


UltraLight / Watertight .9 Medical Kit

This kit by Adventure Medical Kits is streamlined enough that there is never a reason to leave it at home. I like the durable waterproof case that keeps your supplies dry regardless of whatever deluge or blizzard comes your way. Pair this with a good wilderness first aid course for some good backcountry insurance. 


Lithic Skis

With all the different shapes and designs on the market these days, it can be confusing to figure out the right pair of skis for you. That’s why I love the idea of having a small independently owned shop in Washington craft a custom pair of skis exactly to your unique needs. The folks at Lithic are extremely helpful and happy to guide you through their process of building some of the best skis on the market. 

from $959

Ed Shanley. Photo by Chris Miller.

Bjorn Dihle is Alaska magazine's gear editor and a lifelong resident of southeast Alaska. You can follow him at instagram.com/bjorndihle or facebook.com/BjornDihleauthor.

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