Mark Herbison reaps the rewards on the 4,500-vertical-foot descent.


Leslie Hittmeier Gallerie

Leslie Hittmeier’s Steady Growth

After a relentless spring storm, the clouds finally parted. Leslie Hittmeier stared up at the East Ridge of Mount Bertha, a 10,204-foot glaciated peak in southeast Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. She had to decide if she could ski the line.

Hittmeier and a media crew had traveled with athletes Griffin Post, Elena Hight and Jeremy Jones to shoot a first descent of Mount Bertha for HBO’s Edge of the Earth docu-series, an arduous endeavor that included a 125-mile boat ride and 20-mile approach from the North Pacific Ocean to base camp. Hittmeier had been hired to shoot the descent on-slope, over 4,000 vertical feet of mostly no-fall skiing, including an icy, exposed ridge close to the summit nicknamed “the Plank.”

It was a dream line. Hittmeier worked her way up and down it, quietly making some of the most exposed turns of her life while occasionally ducking behind a rock to stay out of the filmer’s aerial shots. She traveled with a slimmed-down camera pack by photographer standards, but even an extra 10 pounds is significant in critical terrain…

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