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Explorer Spotlight: Gavin Pirrie

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Name: Gavin Pirrie | Age: 20 | Location: Montana

What’s your day job? 

Well not a job per se, but I’m a full-time student at Montana State University (Go Cats!).

What are your favorite things to do outside?

Hiking, camping and taking pictures top my list, but boating/kayaking and enjoying a campfire are close to the top!

What first drew you to the outdoors?

My love of the outdoors started at a young age as my father introduced me to fishing, hunting and hiking. My love for the outdoors has only grown since then. Every time I step outside I realize what an amazing world we live in and how breathtaking nature is all around us. The power of nature is the ultimate aspect of the outdoors that draws me.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

Anything in Glacier National Park kills it, but specifically, bagging peaks such as Mt. Reynolds or Great Northern Mountain. Well… As I’m only 20… I’ll go with a family friendly answer of an amazing milkshake from Norm’s Soda Fountain in downtown Kalispell, MT!

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

My essentials include survival items such as space blanket, matches, knife, headlamp, granola bars, etc. Also, my camera is hardly left at home and of course my trusty Filson belt is always life saver that holds my pants up while I’m skiing the scree down a mountain.

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Chewy granola bars all the way! They never go bad and always taste good (chocolate chip of course).

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

My standard is anything by The Killers.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

The most nervous I have ever been while adventuring was hiking Mt. Aeneas for a sunset. We got phenomenal views of the sunset, but our descent was entirely in the dark. We regrettably only brought one bear spray and we weren’t even sure if it worked. The entire hike down was nerve wracking and every little noise was quickly spotlighted and checked out. We made it down without incident and we never went anywhere again without first checking our bear spray and making sure we had more than one! As a side note, the funniest moment while adventuring also occurred on the summit of Mt. Aeneas. While we were marveling at the sunset to west, a visitor had quietly made his way up the west face of the summit. I turned away from the sunset for a quick moment to switch lenses on my camera and about 10 ft. from us was a mountain goat! It scared the bejeezus out us that he snuck up so close, but also gave us quite a good laugh.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

There are two people in my life who are constantly adventuring with me - my dad and my girlfriend. They are both amazing people and continue to push me beyond my limits. My father runs a small business in the heart of Kalispell, MT and is still able to be continuously involved outdoors. My girlfriend is always willing to go adventuring with me and isn’t shy of taking the road less traveled. They have been my go to adventure buddies and I am sure they will continue to be in the future.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

Iceland has been my top destination for some time and an adventure has been in the works for the past year.

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?

There are quite a few peaks in Glacier National Park that I am keen on bagging this summer (Mt. Siyeh, Bishop’s Cap, and Mt. Cannon).

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

This was the moment when I knew my waiting had finally paid off. I had been planning a climb of Great Northern for a few years, but had never had the experience or knowledge to climb it. The moment I took this photo I knew my patience had finally paid off and I soaked in the moment. 

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

Something that I have always felt drawn to is the moment in the present. If I had to sum it up into a phrase - “Enjoy the moment."

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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