“The mountains don’t care who you are or what you look like, only that you give them every ounce of your strength.”
Alana Chapko, preferably called Lani, grew up in Seattle, Washington with the North Cascades as a backdrop, then moved to California to pursue an engineering degree at Harvey Mudd College. Between classes and through weekend excursions she fostered a love for climbing and adventure. Upon graduation, Lani decided to pursue a career of guiding and hasn’t looked back since.
Lani has traveled all across the western US, Nepal, and South America, to pursue dream lines and big adventures. One of her most memorable adventures came as she accomplished a goal partially funded by the Live Your Dream Grant from the American Alpine Club.
“We were on day two approaching a climb in the Northern Picket Range. Most of the day it felt like we were in a snow globe, when all of a sudden the clouds cleared and the most terrifyingly beautiful buttress appeared before us.”
Adventures like the one in the Northern Picket Range are the reason Lani returns to the mountains time and again. Lani is a true lover of type II fun. Whether that’s navigating storm conditions or trying hard up ice lines,
“What better way to achieve [type II fun] than climbing hard in the mega cold?”
Beyond the joy of trying hard in trying conditions, Alana Chapko (Lani!) loves the camaraderie of mountain environments.
“Nothing brings people together like shared experiences in the mountains. Some of my most memorable experiences guiding haven’t been on the summit, but seeing participants push themselves beyond what they thought possible.”
The idea of possibility isn’t always reaching the summit–sometimes it’s mastering a new skill or climbing higher than expected. Lani thrives when she’s helping others realize they can push beyond their constructed possibility.
“Pushing myself and learning from it is something I enjoy about climbing. It’s something I love helping students realize as well.”
Lani is relatable, which is why so many folks enjoy working with her. She grew up with a fear of heights that prevented her from even jumping off the diving board, but now she loves spending nights in a portaledge 1,000 feet off the ground.
“Climbing is a constant battle with fear, and some days I overcome it, other days I don’t. It’s an aspect of climbing I love, and it keeps me trying harder because of it.”
Lani also has a built-out van that she travels around in. She always brings tea on her expeditions. She is planning a bucket-list trip to Chile and Patagonia. And, she is still learning how to enjoy a proper rest day!
When we asked Lani why she was excited to guide all-women’s clinics she told us one of the most important things she’s realized in mountain environments is gaining respect from your partners, whether they’re male or female.
“I think the best way to gain respect from your partners is to first fully believe in your own abilities and knowledge.
All-women’s clinics provide a great space to build confidence in your own abilities and bring that confidence to your adventures and life.”