E84 | Zeb Blais: Managing Risk In The Mountains

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Zeb Blais is an IFMGA / American Mountain Guide. He has traveled the globe, from Alaska to Antarctica, Hokkaido to the Himalaya, skiing, climbing and guiding in the great ranges of the world. Whether it’s soaring through the hills on skis, crimping rock or swinging tools on ice, Zeb loves moving in the mountains and working with people. 


  • IFMGA / American Mountain Guide (AMGA)
  • AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
  • AIARE Course Leader, Rec 1 and 2
  • WFR (Wilderness First Responder)

​Notable Climbs and Ski Descents​

  • Mt Everest (8,848m), 2 summits via Northeast Ridge, 2016, 2017
  • Cho Oyu (8,201m), 1 summit and full ski descent via West Face, 2016
  • Lobuche East (6,171m, Nepal), 1 summit and ski descent, 2015
  • Denali (20,320', Alaska Range), 4 expeditions and 1 ski descent from summit
  • Aconcagua (6,995m, Andes), 3 expeditions
  • Pico de Orizaba & Ixtaccihuatl (Mexico), 3 expeditions each
  • Ishinca, Nevado Urus, Pisco Oeste (Cordillera Blanca, Peru), 1 expedition
  • Mt Whitney (14,505'), California Sierra Nevada. 5x via East Face, Mountaineers Route w/ ski descent
  • Mt Rainier (14,411') 100 summits and ski descents via 4 routes (Fuhrer Finger, Sickle, Success Glacier Couloir, DC)
  • Grand Teton (13,776') 5 summits via Upper Exum, PG, OS, Cathedral/North Ridge and ski descent via Ford Stettner
  • Mount Fuji (12,388') winter summit with ski descent
  • Multiple rock, ice climbs in WA, OR, CA, NV, WY and Canada

Topics Covered:

  1. Zeb’s history with climbing and outdoor adventure
  2. Zeb’s training as a guide in any type of terrain/conditions
  3. How guiding on rock, ice, and snow are similar and different. How being a better generalist makes Zeb a better specialist.
  4. Zeb’s most challenging experiences as a professional climber and as a guide
  5. How Zeb prepares for expeditions
  6. Zeb’s system for mitigating risk on the mountain using intuition, checklists, top down and bottom up thinking
  7. Zeb’s close calls 
  8. Risk management principles from climbing and guiding applicable to other professions

Links of Interest:

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