At various times in her career Chantel has also held the women’s speed record on The Nose: with Libby Sauter in 2011, with a time of 10:40 and with Mayan Smith-Gobat in 2012 with times of 10:10 and then, a week later, 7:26, after which the team linked into the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome (5.9, C1, 23 pitches), completing the link-up—and being the first female team to do so—in 20:09.
Chantel’s achievements in the high mountains are equally impressive and include inspiring ski descents in Alaska, Patagonia and France alongside her notable alpine ascents. Inspired by beautiful lines, her style is simple, light and fast and she says that a climb “has to be fun”.
In 2014 Chantel and fellow alpinist Jewell Lund climbed two routes on Mount Huntingdon in the Alaska Range, including the first all-free ascent—and second ever ascent—of Polarchrome (5.9+ WI5+, 1000m). The team went light and fast, forgoing tents and sleeping bags to complete the climb in a single 24-hour push.
Later, in July 2014 the pair spent an unexpected night on the North East Buttress of Howse Peak in the Canadian Rockies, their ascent slowed by exceptionally poor rock quality. They ran out of food and survived the night on half a Nalgene of whisky brought up by Jewell to celebrate Chantel’s birthday. The women made it out two days overdue and Chantel considers this challenging event to be one of her greatest climbing achievements. It was also important training and preparation for an ascent the women planned for the following year.
The beautiful and committing Denali Diamond (Alaska Grade VI, 5.9 A3/M6 A1 WI5+, 2377m) caught Chantel’s attention after she met the Giri Giri Boys—Japan’s top alpinists—at Denali’s 14,000-foot camp in June 2010. She was guiding on the mountain’s North West Buttress and the Japanese team had just made what was likely the first all-free ascent of the Diamond. The men only spent a few hours sleeping at the camp before continuing with their descent but Chantel was profoundly inspired by the team and their ethics and decided there and then that she wanted to climb Denali via the Diamond.
Five years later, in June 2015, over a five-day push with minimal kit and rations, Chantel and Jewell made history as the first all-female team to climb the Denali Diamond. This was only the seventh ascent of the route and, in all likelihood, the first all-female ascent of an Alaska Grade VI (a route with sustained hard climbing and a high level of commitment above 4000m).
Two years later, in May 2017, again on Denali, Chantel partnered with Anne Gilbert Chase, who she had met while guiding on the mountain back in 2010, to attempt Slovak Direct (5.9 X M6 WI6+, 2740m) on the South Face. Starting at around 3450m the route involves sustained technical climbing until it joins the Cassin Ridge around 5000m. Chantel and Anne were unsuccessful, but Chantel was okay with that, viewing failure not as a fruitless summit bid but not learning anything and not growing. She knows that success cannot be assured. In fact, she likes it that way.