Leighan Falley

Leighan Falley’s Great Heights

From the passenger’s seat of Leighan Falley’s 1957 Piper Pacer, the granite peaks of the Alaska Range loom large. Buzzing past heavily crevassed glaciers, the bush plane cuts through the narrow walls of the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier with intuitive precision—an extension of its pilot, an artist in flight. Climbers and skiers pepper the slopes below, punctuated here and there by colorful tents. Leighan deftly wraps a banked turn around a steep peak, relaxed as she inspects a hanging serac to her left. The jumbled ice feels close enough to touch, as do the granite walls to our right. 

To ride with Leighan through her backyard mountain range redefines the concept of joy in motion. As we bob and weave through unforgiving terrain, it’s clear that for Leighan, flight connects her to the surrounding peaks. But her creativity extends well beyond the skies—an accomplished skier, alpinist, painter and mother, she’s become an integral part of Alaska’s mountain community, a natural force all her own… 

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