Interview with Kristine O’Rielly

Interview with Kristine O’Rielly
October 4, 2017 Nathalie Drotar

This month more on Kristine O’Rielly our Calgary Section Access and Environment Chair.. yes, this smiling gal is the one asking for your two cents on where to put a small hut at the same time as working on keeping your climbing access clear and free! It shows how fun volunteering for the ACC is! 🙂 

How long have you been a member of the Alpine Club and/or Calgary Section and what motivated you to become a member at the time?

I’ve been a member since I moved to Calgary, almost 2 years ago. Coming from the east coast I was looking for a way to get out and enjoy the mountains as much as I could as soon as I arrived. Joining the ACC was an easy way to start accessing trips and getting out there.

What started your connection with the mountain world?

Back in 2011 I saw a picture of the Abbot Pass Hut in an issue of Canadian Geographic and that pretty much started me on my mountain path. I researched the hut, how to access it, etc. and discovered that the ACC has a whole network of huts. It inspired me to book a trip out west in 2015 and finally make it up to Abbot. That same trip landed me a job interview and 2 months later I was living in Calgary full-time. #mountainschangeeverything (HA!)

What are your favorite activities in the mountains?

Backpacking, skiing, scrambling, and now I’ve moved into a little mountaineering and rock climbing (not my favourite, but working on it!)

Have you visited different mountain ranges around the world, where and when?

Spent some time in Peru and I climbed Kilimanjaro last summer (2016).

What was your longest or hardest, most epic mountain adventure?

Last May I departed for the Stanley Mitchell Hut at 9 am. Nothing epic about that. However, by the time we arrived at the hut 15 hours later in the dead of night and pouring rain it had definitely turned into an “epic”. Pro trip: Just wait until the road opens. Pro-pro tip: Even if it looks good, don’t take the Iceline in May.

What would you say is the biggest difference between mountain adventures when you started and now?

Definitely the elevation I can handle with a pack on and the exposure level I’m comfortable with.

How much do you still get out now? What inspires you to get out?

I try to get out there every weekend in some capacity. For me this area is still so new and there’s so many places to check out. My list never seems to get any shorter!

Why do you enjoy leading trips for the section?

Suffering is more fun in groups! 

What’s your favorite meal when staying and cooking in a hut? And when camping?

I make a mean pasta. The secret is to bring 3 different types of cheeses and a hide a jar of pesto in your comrades’ pack.

What is your favorite piece of equipment and/or favorite clothes when going out there?

I wear an Under Armour Wonder Woman shirt on 95% of my trips. Helps me stay cool while looking cool (which is critical).

Any inspiring mountain related sentence for our readers?

One of the greatest poets of all time once said “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” If that doesn’t inspire you to get out that, I don’t know what will! Maybe some green eggs and ham?



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