Exum History Project


Dr. Kimberly Geil has taken on a large and great project of writing the history of Exum Guide Service. We got to talk it over at a buen viaje gathering for Peter Lev at Rancho Desperado on the outskirts of Ridgway. She has generously allowed me to post her stories on rŌbert when she passes them along, and you can check out her site here: www.ExumHistory.com

Bill Briggs, circa 1960 (photo courtesy of Berg Briggs, Bill’s son)

Bill Briggs, Dinner at the Exums,
and Jane and Margo go to the Movies!

Bill Briggs is one of the Exum guides who has attained notoriety and fame thanks to his groundbreaking ski mountaineering exploits, including the first ski descent of the Grand Teton. But what many people don’t realize is that he probably shouldn’t even be able to walk, much less achieve feats most able-bodied people couldn’t even imagine. Read about his approach to life and adventure here:
From Fused Hip to First Ski Descent of the Grand Teton – A Profile of Bill Briggs, Exum Guide from the late 1950s to the early 1980s
I finished up my summer in the Tetons by visits with Al & Susan Read, Dave & Reade Dornan, Jack Turner, Brot Coburn, and several follow up interviews with Rod Newcomb. Al Read shared a folder of fabulous old photos of Exum guides over the years. Bill Briggs and Peter Lev worked with me on edits to their profiles – Bill’s is now ready, and the next section of Peter’s will be coming soon.
In Colorado for a visit, I was able to arrange a small reunion of Ed Exum, Rick Medrick, and Will Bassett, who all guided together in the 1960s. Along with Ed’s wife Lynn (hostess extraordinaire), Rick’s wife Carolyn and son Derek, and Will’s wife Pam and son Chris (also a former Exum guide), we enjoyed a meal and watched the documentary, “One Last Song on His Mountain,” about Glenn’s 50th anniversary climb of the Exum Ridge. Afterwards we admired the hand-painted, gold-plated ice axe that Ed keeps by his fireplace. Glenn’s friend and client, Monte Later, had it made to commemorate the occasion, and now it conjures up fond memories for Ed of his father’s legacy.

Back row, L to R: Derek Medrick, Lynn Exum, Ed Exum, Kim Geil
Front row, L to R: Rick Medrick, Carolyn Medrick, Pam Bassett, Will Bassett
(Chris Bassett not pictured)

The hand-painted and gold-plated ice axe commemorating the 50th anniversary of Glenn Exum’s first ascent of what became the Exum Ridge route on the Grand Teton.

I realized I missed an in-kind donor to the Exum History Project: Suna Kneisley, who provided a high-speed scanner last year. When a software malfunction on Windows machines made scanning the old Exum files impossible, Suna came to the rescue once again with an old Mac laptop, and now we are back in business!
Last but not least, I want to share some Exum history in the making. October 27th was the premiere of a new all-women film about skiing and friendship, featuring Jane Gallie and Margo Krisjansons. Along with Susan Read, Jane and Margo have been the backbone of the Exum Office for literally decades. Exum guide Morgan McGlashon was also involved in the project. Watch the trailer of the movie, Nexus, here, and you can read a delightful article about Jane and Margo and the making of the film here.
Thanks again for all your support of the Exum History project, and Part 3 of Peter’s profile will be coming up next!

Susan Read, Margo Krisjansons, and Jane Gallie, Exum Office, Aug 2022.


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Our mailing address is below, but please contact Dr. Geil before putting anything in the mail or there may be a significant delay in when it is received:
Exum History ProjectPO Box 341194Sacramento, CA 95834-9094
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