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Our MissionEncourage and help facilitate personal growth, curiosity, and respect for the outdoors for Alaskan locals and visitors of all ages through outdoor educational and experiential outings.

Photo: Arrigetch Peaks, Brooks Range, Alaska

Emily Smola

Growing up in Soldotna, Alaska, Emily has made Fairbanks her home for over a decade in a homemade dry cabin...while living in a tent for 18 months in Fairbanks as the cabin progressed. She gained skills and confidence through formal outdoor education courses, years of her own wilderness escapades such as the thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, winter hunts in the Minto Flats, and rock climbing for months in world-renown places both in the U.S. and abroad. Work experience as a tutor, mentor, and climbing coach for youth, and as a trip leader for UAF Outdoor Adventures is where she found a passion for teaching outdoor education and creating a welcoming space for individuals. She is happiest when her students are able to remember skills she taught them years ago, because it means they have a desire for the material. Her dream is to make the outdoors a more inclusive environment all while having fun in a safe manner. When she's not running this operation, she's working as a massage therapist, building another dry cabin, and planning her next thru-hike.


Next trip: Explore Alaska Long Trail options, August 2024

Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, PCIA CWI-L, LNT Master Educator, American Red Cross First Aid/CPR Instructor, SRT-1 (Expired, but the knowledge is not), ACA L1 (L2 in progress) Instructor, ACA Canoe Skills, CPT, RYT 200, LMT, B.A. Psychology w/ Elementary Ed. Music Performance from UAF. Currently working on becoming a Wilderness First Aid/CPR/AED instructor. 

Travis Russell

Travis grew up in Fairbanks with a fairly rustic, "classic Alaskan" childhood. Living in a teepee, to a bus, to finally a house his family built, he grew up subsistence hunting, fishing, trapping, and managing sled dogs. He builds, can fix most things, and if he doesn't know how, he will find out. Although working years as a roofing foreman, he found his passion was actually in coaching and mentoring the UAF Youth Climbing Program's team. He has been rock climbing for 16 years in world renown places both in the US and abroad, and pushes the limits of his abilities in the hopes of gaining inner strength and insight. However, he is most happy when sharing the love of climbing and the outdoors with others. When he isn't climbing, hunting, building cabins, or coaching, he is planning the next climbing trip. 

Next trip:  October climbing trip to the Red River Gorge

Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, AMGA Rock Guide Apprentice, PCIA CWI-L (expired, but the knowledge is not). A.A. in Process Technology from UAF. 

Ethan Wilson
Assistant Instructor

Although born in Oregon, Ethan has called Fairbanks his home for the majority of his life. Growing up hunting, trapping out of his family’s cabin near the Deltas, and eventually climbing, skiing, and mountaineering, he has developed his passion for outdoor activities. Ethan loves Fairbanks, and is planning to put his construction and fabrication skills to use next summer and build himself a house. When not working or attending class, he spends his time climbing, skiing, and sharing his love for the outdoors with his friends.

Next Trip: Packraft expedition from the Richardson to AK Highway, through the Deltas.

Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, avalanche level one, college mountaineering classes, three years of auto tech and fabrication classes.

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