Adventure Medic, Avalanche Expert, Lifesaving Educator: Susan Purvis
Leading Steep: Susan Purvis
In this episode, Barry sits down with Susan Purvis of Crested Butte Outdoors, an outdoor educational training center specializing in wilderness medicine, avalanche, and avalanche dog training. She is also a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).
Susan’s memoir, Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—and Myself, won the Nautilus Silver Book Award April 2019.
Listen in as Susan shares how she developed a passion for outdoor adventures and how that passion led to her decision to become a wilderness medicine instructor.
She recounts her travels to the coldest, hottest, and highest places on the planet, including a 45-day mission to recover and repair a crashed DC-3 aircraft in Antarctica, a documentary shoot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, and teaching medical courses to African guides in Kilimanjaro.
Susan then talks about her favorite places to visit around the world, for work and for play.
Finally, Susan shares what she has learned after 25 years of teaching, and why she believes that every person in their 20s should consider starting their own business.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
● [2:21 ] Susan walks us through a typical day in her life
● [3:54 ] How Susan got into outdoor sports
● [7:27 ] Susan’s multifaceted professional background, in a nutshell
● [10:01 ] What it’s like at Crested Butte
● [12:25 ] The decision to become a ski patroller
● [15:00 ] How Tasha the dog came into Susan’s life
● [17:06 ] What happens in an avalanche and how it becomes a dangerous situation
● [18:58 ] Becoming a wilderness medicine instructor
● [21:45 ] Susan’s first adventure in Antarctica
● [26:39 ] Susan’s second adventure in Antarctica
● [28:02 ] Susan’s adventure in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression
● [29:18 ] Susan’s principal work
● [30:18 ] Susan’s career as a guide
● [32:39 ] Why the Eastern side of the divide at Glacier National Park is “one of the most powerful places” Susan has ever been to
● [34:30 ] Susan’s favorite places to work and to relax
● [36:40 ] What Susan has learned after 25 years of teaching and running her business
● [40:25 ] Susan’s teaching style
● [43:15 ] A trick to become a better guide or leader
● [44:20 ] Why everyone in their 20s should consider starting their own business
Key Quotes by Susan:
● “All people need is a little education and you give them power.”
● “What we teach in wilderness medicine is this: Everything we do has risks and everything we do has benefits.”
● “From the partner you go to bed with to the person you do business with to the person you go hiking with—pick your partners wisely.”
● “As guides, we have to have our brain working all the time.”
Go Find on Amazon
The Rescue of Lidia
BBC in the Danakil Depression
The Ready State (Use the discount code STEEP10 to get 10% off for the life of your membership after your 14-day free trial ends.)