Ange Percival - BikePacking the Himalaya

Hello! Who are you and where are your outdoors roots?

I’m a Photographer and have always been curious by nature. As the only full time in house Photographer for Arc’teryx I spend a lot of time outside with a backpack, camera in hand, photographing people skiing, climbing, running, trekking and generally getting after it in the mountains.

I grew up in a family who loved being outside but being raised on the coast of Australia my life as a child was more about water sports than mountain sports and rarely included skiing or mountain biking which are now two of my favourite sports. Although amazing much of my childhood was either waterskiing, surfing, sailing or just being at the beach.

From there, through high school, and once I moved to Canada in 1998, my love for the mountains grew. Being able to ski and bike from my backdoor and exposed to adventure every day lead me to a completely new lifestyle and a fantastic community of people. It’s hard not to fall in love with all aspects of the outdoors while living and working in a place like Whistler.

Now working with Arc’teryx adventure and the outdoors is part of my daily life. Both during the week and on the weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities this job has given me to experience the outdoors in every way. I talk more about how I got my job with Arc’teryx on my personal blog.

I believe that my parents instilled a solid value of a life full of experiences over the collection of material things that has set the foundation for how I live my life to this day and I hope to pass this on through my photography to inspire people to get outside.

What’s your Story From The Mountain?

I recently just got back from an 18-day long bike trip through Northern India, spanning 1000 kilometers through the untouched Zanskar Valley. It was one of my more physically challenging journeys to date, but by far one of the most memorable and rewarding.

Traveling on our mountain bikes at high altitudes, often cold temperatures with everything we needed for three weeks was taxing but the scenery was exceptional and made every kilometre worth it.

The views of rugged Himalayan peaks contrasted against the dry yellow colours of the desert, set with beautiful people and radiating culture made for a simply unforgettable experience.

Other stories, photoshoots and outdoor adventures can always be found on my blog!

Through hiking/climbing/running/biking, have you learned anything about yourself or nature you’d like to pass on to others?

Above all, the greatest thing I’ve learned from my extensive time in the outdoors is how unforgiving nature can be.

Above all, the greatest thing I’ve learned from my extensive time in the outdoors is how unforgiving nature can be.

Nature is incredibly powerful and we’re so small in the bigger picture of the planet, and the world and I think being out in nature constantly reminds me of that. Whether that be in the mountains, surrounded by snow and wind, or on the ocean with stormy waves, I’m forever feeling insignificant and powerless at the hands of the outdoors.

Nature although beautiful can constantly challenge you and it’s imperative that you are prepared or learn to adapt.

Nature also possesses such a healing type of power and even something as simple as getting out for a backcountry ski can really help to reset and refocus me. Something about being outside just brings a different type of peace for me that can’t be matched elsewhere. It feels very cleansing in a way.

I don’t find very many limits with myself and the outdoors, things like skill level or experience have never concerned me, I’ve always just done it because I love it, not because I’m amazing at it. But the one thing that I’ve found to be my limit is temperature.

I recently shot a skiing trip in Northern BC and the temperatures pushed below -40˚C plus windchill. At that point, there’s nothing that isn’t frozen, from your toothpaste to your toes, and it can really test you. I think that’s the line for me, and for humanity in a way, it’s so hard to simply survive beyond those conditions.

For this reason, risk management is so important to me and I am always, always, always prepared. If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be alive today. I never go out into the wilderness without proper clothing, food, an emergency plan and other people.

Something about being outside just brings a different type of peace for me that can’t be matched elsewhere.

Especially in unforgiving areas like avalanche terrain, where the danger is always there, but you can’t always see it. One of the worst things you can be is unprepared.

What’s your favorite item in your pack?

My favourite item in my pack is definitely snacks! Hands down. It could be an hour hike or a multi-week trip. I have to keep mixing it up to keep it interesting after years of energy bars. Right now I am all over the euro style picnic of meat and cheese. A backcountry Charcuterie!

Do you have any advice for other outdoors lovers who are just starting out?

Just go. Beyond anything else just start. You don’t have to be rich to start with the basics, anyone can hike, just find a group of people and just go outside.

The best way to learn is to be out there but be sure to be prepared. Weather or a change of plan can come at any time. Naivety can get you in trouble very fast but with a little research and planning it’s easy to overcome. You never know when a storm will hit or someone will fall and break a leg and next thing you know you’re stuck on the side of a mountain overnight in nothing but a t-shirt.

A small amount of planning ahead can go a long way to ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the trail. You can never underestimate the wilderness.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or people to your outdoors journey?

Most influential writer in the past year has been Walter Bonatti. A legendary Italian climber who would sleep outside in winter just to train for his climbing adventures. Whenever I get cold I think of him.

When you get outside you realize how much you want to live more sustainably and do your part to save the earth and protect these beautiful places.   

Outside Magazine is another publication I love. They also have a great podcast, Outside Podcast: Adventures In Audio, that I’ve been listening to. Another great podcast is The Dirtbag Diaries.

As for people, there are so many it’s hard to list but someone who instantly comes to mind is Sadie Quarrier, she’s a former Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic and someone who inspired me to be a better photographer. Another amazing outdoor woman is Christina Lustenberger. She just crushes it as a skier and mountain woman.            

Where’s your next adventure?

The list is long! I’ll be heading north to Alaska to shoot women’s backcountry skiing, as well as doing a ski traverse through the mountains of Norway, both with Arc’teryx.

Later in the year, I’ll be headed out on a personal adventure to do a 400 kilometer, down-wind kitesurf trip off the coast of Brazil, a trip I get the pleasure of doing with friends every second year. I spend so much time in harsh weather conditions in my professional life that my Australian blood needs a warmth reset every once in a while.

My main goal right now is to become a leader in creativity for women in the outdoors. Both driving and celebrating women outdoors. I want to inspire women to live their best lives creatively outdoors and help them crush their goals in both their personal, and professional lives.

Above all, I just want to keep learning. Oh and I want to be a better photographer and tell more human stories. I want my goals to be fueled by my never-ending curiosity and the passion I feel for nature. I’ve been using my blog as a creative outlet for the last few months and I would love to keep documenting my adventures on there to inspire women in the outdoors.

When you get outside you realize how much you want to live more sustainably and do your part to save the earth and protect these beautiful places.             

Where can others learn more about you?

On my blog, Instagram page, and website! Absolutely sign up for my newsletter, this is the best place to get all the latest news about blog posts, and upcoming workshops, which I’m so excited to be offering coming up this year! Or as always you can catch up with me on the trail, in any remote location across the globe!

Want to share your Story From The Mountain?

Hey, I'm Greg Kamradt, the founder of Terra Mano.

We interview awesome hikers/mountaineers/climbers/photographers and share the stories behind their ambition. By sharing these stories, we want to help others become inspired to reach their goals.

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