Meet Your ESAW Presenters: Eric Knoff

Eric Knoff is one of our featured presenters at ESAW. He comes to us from the Gallatin National Forest Avlanche Center. We are very excited to have him join us on November 11 at Fryeburg Academy.

Guiding big mountains in the summer and avalanche forecasting in the winter sounds like an idyllic combination. Eric Knoff seems to have it figured out. Upon receiving his diploma from Montana State University in 2000, Knoff worked for a stint with the NRCS. In 2002, his real education began as he started working with the Snowbird Ski Patrol. In 2009, having caught the attention of his snow mentor Doug Chabot, Eric joined the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, where he currently works. In addition to forecasting for the Gallatin, Eric forecasts for the National Park Service in Glacier National Park, helping the road crew with plowing the Going-To-The-Sun Road.

Climbing has always been a passion for Knoff. In 2003, he began working for Exum Guides in Jackson, WY. In addition to guiding in the Tetons, Eric soon found himself guiding bigger mountains around the world. The consummate guide, desring more than just guiding clients, Eric has instructed at the Khumbu Climbing Center in Nepal. The KCC instructs Nepalese about high-altitude mountaineering, wilderness medecine, and mountain rescue. Recently, he’s given up guiding big mountains and replaced it with his lifelong passion of guiding fishing trips.

When asked about what his favorite past-time, Eric says it’s a toss-up between skiing and fishing. Fishing is relaxing and compared to all the things you have to cram in a ski pack, it’s a lightweight sport and has relativley no objective danger. But on the flip side, fishing doesn’t give you stories like this one:

All-time favorite ski descent was the NE Face of Mt Cannon in Glacier National Park. It was a first descent and special because I skied it with my brother. The face rises 5,000 vertical feet above the Going-to-the Sun Road and has significant exposure due to its 45+ degree slope angle and a 150 foot cliff in the middle of the face. My brother soloed the cliff and belayed me up. While following my brothers footsteps across a snowbridge that spanned a scary moat at the base of cliff, the snowbridge collapsed and I was caught by the rope (I nearly crapped my pants). If I had not been on belay it would have been an ugly situation. We climbed and skied the face without further incident.

Don’t forget to register for ESAW at www.esaw.org and have a chance to meet Eric Knoff on november 11!