Founder, Lead Guide
Kathryn was born in Nome to a gold-miner father and a beach-blonde mother. Her father’s family came from Ireland to Nome in 1899 in search of gold…and stayed.
The Walshes spent their summers around Nome and winters in Southern California. During those summers in remote mining camps, Kathryn and her brother had free range with a .22 rifle and a four wheeler.
After completing her BS in economics at Northeastern University and a stint in the world of suits and office buildings, Kathryn made her way back to Alaska. She drove up in the dead of winter and arrived on December 21st, the shortest day of the year.
She has explored far-flung corners of the state, and has an abiding passion for the endless Alaskan wilderness, where incomprehensible swaths of land are only accessible by plane, if at all. Kathryn founded Backpack Alaska so people from all over can reach the remote, in an intimate setting.
Backpack Alaska is the realization of her dream to connect people to the land and the bounty of the wild.
Hailing from New Mexico, Reese Doyle has been guiding intrepid travelers over glaciers and mountains and teaching outdoor-skills courses for more than a decade. He spent his childhood camping and was strapped into a pair of skis at the tender age of three. His love for the outdoors was nourished and led him to a life of continual exploration and instruction.
Reese spent more than six years guiding on glaciers in New Zealand, then was lured to the Far North, the Last Frontier, where he fell in love with the wild stretches of wilderness and decided to stay. He bought himself a raw piece of land in the heart of the Chugach Mountains and built an off-the-grid home so he could ski and climb right from his front door. Reese has guided in the Alaska Range, managed a team of glacier guides, and been an ice climbing instructor in Keystone Canyon. If he isn’t snowboarding, climbing, or backpacking he can usually be found sweating over a too-spicy burrito in his kitchen, looking up at Mount Billy Mitchell.
Riley Ebel grew up skiing, climbing, and kayaking in the Colorado sunshine. She spent summers on the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers, autumns climbing in the Utah desert, and winters skiing all across the West. Her guiding experiences started in the mountains and rivers of Colorado and continued in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she graduated with a BA in geology and environmental science. She came to Alaska to raft guide on the Matanuska in the summer of 2014, began guiding at that glacier, and has been “woo-hooing” around the state as much as she can ever since. In the off-season Riley is a ski instructor and travels abroad in pursuit of whitewater and powder. She also works in the geology realm, most recently as a field exploration geologist north of the Arctic Circle at Red Dog Mine. Riley is passionate about the wilderness and playing in any form of water, be it ice, snow, or the liquid type. She is also pretty into rocks, so you will never see her taking any of them for… granite.