Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Colby Coombs

Colby Coombs Colby is an accomplished mountaineer and guide who, together with his wife Caitlin Palmer, owns and operates Alaska Mountaineering School in Talkeetna. The couple have also recently acquired the Okonek's Alaska Denali Guiding. Colby is a gifted mountaineer and teacher, having worked his way through National Outdoor Leadership School and mentored under Brian Okonek on trips in the Alaska Range. He has climbed some of the most technically challenging routes in Alaska, and endured a devastating epic on Mt. Hunter in 1992, when two of his climbing partners were killed by a slab avalanche in white out conditions. Ritt Kellog and Tom Walter were killed by the fall, and Colby suffered a broken neck, scapula, and ankle, then had to get off the mountain by himself. Colby provides a detailed account of the climb and its aftermath, drawing important lessons about controlling risk and paying special heed to the capricious weather in the Alaska Range. Through AMS and now ADG, Colby and Caitlin share their knowledge and experience with students who learn to put safe travel technique above peak bagging.
Colby Coombs appears in the following new Jukebox projects: