RYAN WATERS grew up exploring the hills of the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern U.S. At the age of 18 he discovered climbing and a passion for travel that would eventually lead him to the great mountain ranges of the world. After working as a geologist for several years he began a career as an outdoor educator and mountain guide.
While in college he noticed a mountain on the cover of his physics book, 7,200 meter Pumo Ri in Nepal and the inset said "many consider the most beautiful mountain in the world". He naively decided that one day he would climb that mountain and eventually did in 2003. This opened up extensive climbing and guiding work in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet as well as the Karakoram Range in Pakistan. Ryan is a veteran leader of sixteen 8000 meter peak expeditions, including four expeditions to Mt. Everest, reaching the summit of both the Tibet and Nepal sides of the mountain. He has also led expeditions to Cho Oyu (3 times), Manaslu (3 times), Lhotse (2 times), K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum 2, and Dhaulagiri. He has guided all of the Seven Summits, most on many occasions.
Ryan developed a passion for the Andes Range of South America and was based in Argentina for several years. He has led over 35 expeditions in the mountains of Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. Ryan spent extensive time in the backcountry of South America working as a mountaineering instructor for Patagonia Outward Bound.
In 2005 he launched the expedition guide service Mountain Professionals with Dave Elmore, which guides mountain climbing, polar ski, and trekking expeditions worldwide. The company focuses on delivering high quality expeditions to small teams of adventurers on peaks that include all of the Seven Summits, both Poles, and treks such as Everest Base Camp.
A team unsupported West to East ski traverse of Greenland expanded his interests into the polar regions. In January 2010, Ryan and Cecilie Skog completed a "nice long ski tour" in Antarctica. The team skied 1,117 miles/1,800 kilometers over 70 days from Berkner Island in the Ronne/Filchner Sea to the South Pole, then continued to the Ross Sea and set a new record by completing the first ski traverse of Antarctica without resupplies or the use of kites.
On May 6th, 2014, Ryan along with expedition partner Eric Larsen completed what has been described as "one of the most difficult expeditions in the world", a 53-day full unsupported ski expedition from Cape Discovery Canada over 500 miles of shifting ice, open water leads, and polar bears to the North Pole that has become a documentary on Animal Planet television network.
Ryan guides teams on mountain climbing and polar ski trips for Mountain Professionals based in Boulder, Colorado. He enjoys photographing and writing about his adventures around the world.