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Outside » Outside Features

Clean Lines: Alpine great Andrew McLean drops into Bend

Andrew McLean isn't your average shredder.

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Andrew McLean is not your run-of-the-mill shredder. McLean is a fit, 49-year-old ski mountaineer who values the up almost as much as the down.

In 2006, Powder Magazine named McLean to its "48 Greatest Skiers of Our Time" list. The former Washington resident now calls Utah home but McLean spends a hearty chunk of his time in far-flung locales that always have two things in common: elevation and snow.

McLean, who has notched first descents on all seven continents, has recently returned from a three-week expedition to Antarctica. While there, McLean was treated to steep lines, some sunshine and plenty of interaction with the locals - namely the penguins and seals. One of the crowning achievements of the trip was a descent of the near 50-degree slope of Mt. Victoria, which was accomplished on a beautiful bluebird day.


"It was a clean fall line, not long but a steep shot. You wouldn't want to fall down," says McLean of the pitch.

The trip south marked McLean's fourth journey to Antarctica, and one of the subjects of his upcoming slide show here in town. McLean has logged time around the Arctic circle too and will share some slides from his adventures to the Svalbard Islands, situated halfway between Norway and the North Pole.

Though McLean has climbed and shredded across the globe, he says Alaska is his favorite ski destination.

"As far as just skiing goes, it's hard to beat," McLean says, adding that within Alaska, the Wrangell-St. Elias (WSE) National Park and Preserve is the best-of-the-best.

"If you have been heli skiing in the Valdez area, multiply that by 1,000, double (or even triple) the size of the peaks, erase all of the roads, eliminate 99-percent of the people and double down on the sense of commitment. As far as Alaska experiences go, it's the real deal," McLean wrote on his blog. The veteran is planning another expedition there this April.

Not your average bro, for sure.

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