Forest McBrian

Forest guides year round in the US, Canada, Alaska, and Europe. He lives with Erin in Chamonix, France.  Forest is an IFMGA licensed mountain guide and holds a degree in English and French.  When he is not climbing or skiing he spends his time writing essays and short stories. Forest also works as an instructor and examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association. He is co-author of the ski touring guidebook from Mountaineers Books, Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes: Washington.

Erin Smart

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Erin guides in Washington, Alaska, Norway and throughout the West. She is an AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide, and finds herself at home in big, snowy mountains. She has pioneered a number of first descents in the North Cascades of Washington state. Erin holds a degree in natural resource management from Western Washington University. She is an avalanche educator and is a qualified AIARE 1 lead instructor, and AIARE 2 instructor. She spends her free time writing, taking photos, and producing videos. She also works as an athlete for Mammut North America. She is also co-author of Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes: Washington.


About Borealis Mountain Guides

Borealis offers professional guidance and instruction in all forms of mountain travel. We believe that mountains bring out the best in us, and that there is always more to learn—about the mountains and about ourselves.  We meet or exceed industry standards in training and certification for guiding, medical response, and environmental stewardship. We are not just working guides but authors, explorers, and educators, and we strive to bring depth and authenticity to every trip. 


About mountain guiding

The work of a mountain guide is to bring people into the mountains, and to help them learn how to move over rock, snow and ice in a wilderness setting. A guide must manage risk in a dynamic environment, and must strike a balance between persistence and prudence while trying to reach the summit. The guide's work takes many forms:

  • Teaching skills courses on rock and ice climbing, glacier travel and crevasse rescue, and ski touring.
  • Guiding climbers of all levels on ascents chosen for pleasure, for challenge, or for educational value.
  • Guiding skiers up and down complex, glaciated mountains.
  • Guiding long traverses and expeditions in remote areas, on foot and on skis. 
  • Teaching  courses on avalanche safety.

The western tradition of mountain guiding began in the Alps of France and Switzerland over two hundred years ago, and has spread to alpine mountains all over the world. In the Northwest, these activities frequently take place in a wild setting, far from roads and human settlements. A guide strives to be a resource for all those who love mountain travel, and to provide a rich experience with reasonable risks to clients of all abilities. If you would like to learn more about guiding, drop us a line or visit 

Beyond Skiing and Climbing

We don't like one dimensional trips, and we suspect you don't either. When we travel toward a range or a peak, we want to experience the cultural and natural landscape every way we can. Notably, this means a lot of good food. Here in Chamonix we like to stop by the alpage for some some hearty Savoyard fare–made with cheese from cows who graze the slopes we just skied. In Italy we find local wines that pair well with the gnocchi and ravioli we adore. And in the great Pacific Northwest, we have unearthed mouth watering micro-brews, wild salmon and blueberry ice cream to die for. When we are not skiing, climbing, or dining, we are on the look out for clues to the history and inner life of these landscapes: from powder runs to fondue, from snow crystals to animal tracks, we love mountains.