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Reaching mountain heights leads to a career for CWC alumni

February 28, 2017 by Laura Phagan

CWC alumnus Taylor Pyle on the Washburn of Mount Denali as he climbs the summit

For a moment in time Taylor Pyle was the only individual on the highest point of the continent when he stood on the summit of Mount Denali in Alaska. This was a childhood dream come true for Pyle when he accepted a mountaineering internship with Mountain Trip International in Telluride, Colorado; a requirement needed to graduate from Central Wyoming College’s outdoor recreation program.

“I started looking for opportunities in Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Chili and Argentina,” Pyle said. “This was my first time ever visiting Alaska and it was exciting to fulfill a childhood dream.”

The company sent Pyle to Alaska to be part of the oldest guiding service of Denali, a mountain formally known as Mount McKinley. Interning for more than two months, Pyle’s duties included equipment repairs and packing, collaborating and pacing meals for the expeditions which were anywhere from 15 to 22 days, and shuttling clients and guides to and from Talkeetna and Anchorage.

“I was lucky enough to join on the expedition as an assistant guide,” Pyle said. “Where two other guides and myself assisted two clients to the top of Mount Denali.”

The expedition took 15 days and included glacial travel in rope teams, high angle exposure and travel, winter camping, backcountry cooking, high altitude mitigation and a great deal of endurance, he said.

Pyle and his guide team reached the summit on June 27, 2016 on Mount Denali; the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet, one of the seven summits of the world, one of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America and all around Technical Mountain.

Hands down the most exciting thing that happened was standing on the summit. For that moment in time I was the highest individual on the continent. It was a dream come true and a memory I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. ”

Taylor Pyle, CWC alumnus

The CWC outdoor recreation degree prepared Pyle for the internship, where he was able to directly implement what he learned from the program to the job.

“Darran Wells’ courses and mentoring taught me everything from facilitation, leadership, medical response, technical skills, outdoor history, land management and many others,” Pyle said.

Pyle’s interest in the outdoors started when he was young, born and raised in Wyoming, his passion really blossomed when he lived in Jackson.

“I decided to take the leap and pursue a career that I’m passionate about,” Pyle said.

After searching colleges that offered outdoor education/recreation, Pyle decided CWC was the best location and had great facilities. The combination of the experience that instructor Wells possessed, the tuition prices and to be in the foothills of the Wind River Range was something Pyle couldn’t pass up.

Pyle graduated in December with an associate of applied science in outdoor recreation. He is now working ski patrol in Pinedale and plans to go back to Alaska to help guide. Pyle’s ultimate goal is to open a small company guiding backpack and ascent trips in the summers and backcountry ski trips in the winters throughout Wyoming’s mountain ranges.