Facing the Fear: Wild Alaska

“The fear helps your concentration. It really draws you into the moment.” – Ryland Bell.

Ryland Bell grew up with Alaskan peaks always in sight — familiar, but largely unexplored.

Ryland Bell.
Ryland Bell. Photo by Jeff Hawe/courtesy Patagonia.

The Patagonia Snowboard Ambassador and native Alaskan has placed on multiple podiums in The North Face Masters of Snowboarding; took 3rd in the Freeride World Tour Tram Face at Squaw Valley, 2010; and took 1st in the Kirkwood, CA Freeride World Tour stop in 2013.

“Putting smooth clean riding at high speed with tricks interlaced is what I’m all about,” he says. His moves have graced a lot of celluloid: Bell has landed roles in two Sweetgrass productions, Solitaire and Valhalla, and in Jeremy Jones’ Teton Gravity Research trilogy Deeper Further Higher, to name a few.

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Though today he splits his time between Haines and Squaw Valley, he spends summers in AK on a fishing boat, often thinking of the untapped potential of the massive Alaskan backcountry.

In Episode 5 of Patagonia’s #Find_Away series, Teton Gravity Research follows Ryland and Jeremy Jones as they hike, bushwhack and bivy to some hair-raising lines in the unschralped terrain of the Eastern Alaska Range. “If you lose it out there,” says Bell, “there’s nobody coming to lift you off.”