Woman on Top

Cold Front
Cold Front 1004

Last May, after three weeks on Alaska's Denali waiting out storms, Kit DesLauriers and her husband, Rob, left camp at 14,200 feet for the mountain's 20,320-foot summit—North America's highest. Twelve hours later, at 7 p.m., she started the 6,000-vertical-foot ski descent—the first ever by an American woman. "Our patience paid off, says DesLauriers. "Although the upper mountain was still coated with blue ice, and there were crevasses everywhere.

Judging by her recent string of accomplishments, patience isn't her strong suit: In a single year, DesLauriers, in addition to skiing Denali, won the World Freeskiing Tour championship, skied Wyoming's Grand Teton, and made the first-ever ski descent by a woman of New Zealand's 9,952-foot Mount Aspiring.

So, is there anything left? DesLauriers, who lives (where else?) in Jackson Hole, plans to stay closer to home this season, and do her climbing and skiing in the Tetons: "They say the best mountaineers have short memories, but all the anguish of Denali is still too fresh in my mind.