Name: Seth Timpano
Role: Travel Safety Manager
1st ALE Season: 2010
Why did you want to work in the Antarctic? What was the attraction?
Antarctica is one of the most extreme and remote places on the planet. It has endless potential for adventure and a unique beauty that is unsurpassed. It always has, and always will, captivate my imagination.
How and when did you start working for ALE? How did your previous experience prepare you for Antarctic guiding?
I started working for ALE in 2010. I previously guided dozens of trips on Mount Rainier in Washington State in addition to leading expeditions around the world. Ultimately, various trips in Alaska refined my skills, ready for Mount Vinson and other cold, high peaks in the Ellsworth Mountains. I learn something new every day I spend in Antarctica, and it has in turn enhanced my guiding skills.
What are your greatest challenges as a guide in Antarctica?
Risk management is always the main challenge. Although the likelihood of incidents may be low, the consequences in Antarctica can be much higher than anywhere else given the remote location and potential for severe weather. So as a guide, I am constantly trying to provide the safest and most enjoyable experience for guests in an environment that has extreme consequences.
What do you love best about your work with ALE?
I love the variety of guiding opportunities while working in Antarctica. Guiding Mount Vinson, skiing to the South Pole, providing logistical support for science projects, and guiding the local peaks near Union Glacier make it an awesome place to spent three months.
Describe your ideal guided ski/climb…
My ideal climb & ski would be to land on a remote glacier in the Ellsworth Mountains and set up camp near the landing strip. From there it would be great to ski up a massive Antarctic glacier to a large, unclimbed alpine face. Then launch upward, climbing rock, snow and ice in alpine-style to the summit of a remote peak in Antarctica! Finally we would descend back down the following day and enjoy good skiing all the way back to the plane, the perfect cherry on top of a great climb.
What tips can you give ALE guests planning a trip to Antarctica?
Practice training by pulling a sled or a heavy tire in the sand well before your trip. Not only is it a great endurance work out, but will awaken some muscles you did not know you had! Two of my favorite pieces of gear are my R1 hoodie fleece and my hoodini windshirt. Lastly, keep your mind open and expect to have an experience of a lifetime!
What do you do for the rest of the year, when you are not in the Antarctic?
During the ‘off-season’ I guide in Alaska and in the Pacific Northwest and each year, participate in a personal alpine climbing trip to places such as Patagonia, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan.