Solveig Waterfall (USA)
Firefighter and Big Mountain Guide, RMI Expeditions
Growing up on Snoqualmie Pass, just east of Seattle, Solveig spent her childhood in the outdoors rain or shine and consequently developed a passion for climbing and skiing that has continued to propel her into mountain ranges around the world in search of new terrain and inspiring lines. She graduated from Western State University in Gunnison, Colorado, spent her early 20’s ski patrolling at Squaw Valley, California, ski guiding and teaching avalanche awareness courses in the Truckee/Tahoe area, and summer’s guiding climbs on Mt. Shasta.
Solveig attained her Ski Guide Certification in 2013 through the American Mountain Guides Association and works for RMI on Rainier, Denali, the Mexican Volcanoes, and in the North Cascades. She is also a 200 hr RYT and has been teaching yoga to climbers, skiers, and her local community for the last 7 years.
In 2018, after 15 years of working in the outdoor and recreation industry, Solveig shifted gears and began a career in the fire service. As a firefighter and EMT, the challenges of this new path continue to facilitate growth and development on both a personal and professional level, as well as presenting the opportunity to be of service to her community in a meaningful and fulfilling capacity.
Solveig lives with her husband near the base of Mount Rainier, and during her free time you'll find her climbing, running, biking, practicing yoga, or whenever possible, searching out fresh snow and aesthetic lines.
• 137 summits of Mount Rainier, Washington Cascade
• 5 expeditions on Denali, Alaska Rang
• 53 summits of Mount Shasta, California Cascades
• 10 summits of Mount Baker, Washington Cascades
• 12 summits of Mount Shuksan, Washington Cascades
• 2 summits of Mount Hood, Oregon Cascades
• 1 summit of Aconcagua, Andes Mountains, Argentina
• 14 expeditions on Ixtaccihuatl and El Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
• Ski descents of Mt. Waddington, Mount Munday, Mt. Grenelle, and Spearman Peak in the Waddington Range, British Columbia
• First descent of the Pipeline Couloir, Mount Angeles, Olympic Mountains, WA
• Climbing in the Sikkim (Indian) Himalaya
Read what she wrote about Mindful Movement
What does it mean to be a SoulJour?
My perception of what it means to be a SoulJour is to be an individual committed being authentic and true to yourself, dedicated to your chosen path, and both motivated and focused on achieving your goals while moving through the world with compassion and grace.
What mantra/quote/belief do you life by?
"Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is your ability to choose your response. In your response lies your growth and your freedom." – Viktor E. Frankel. Whether its a physical or mental challenge, using this quote to become more mindful of my reactions to situations I cannot control has been a powerful tool.
What's been your biggest life challenge and how did you heal?
Challenges come in a variety of forms, both physical and emotional, and more often than not, a combination of the two. As an athlete, I have spent a lot of my career working through and recovering from various injuries. One of the biggest challenges I faced was healing from a trimalleolar fracture in my right ankle a few years ago. I've had multiple other broken bones, joint injuries and surgeries, but the inability to bear any weight on my right foot left me relatively bed-ridden. I'm fortunate to have a rockstar team of friends and family that kept me healthy and ready to put the work in at the gym as soon as I was cleared by my surgeon. With the help of 3 plates, 12 screws, a bone graft, and a lot of sweat, tears, and stubbornness, I returned to work and guided a summit climb on Rainier 14 weeks post-injury.
The lessons I learned from the recovery process helped me to refine my mental and physical tenacity which has left me better prepared to accomplish future challenges. I recently shifted gears and began a career in the fire service. There is nothing like a good dose of fear to sharpen your focus and test your mental flexibility. The anticipation of making that leap, the fear of letting go of what was comfortable, trusting in my ability adapt, overcome, and excel was a testament to the lessons learned from previous adversity.
What's #1 on your bucket list currently?
I am currently in early stages of recovering from an ACL injury, and as a motivational tool I am working to focus on achieving small goals that will eventually lead to larger dreams and returning to play in the mountains. For now, my short-term goals are regaining the strength, mobility, confidence in my post-surgical knee. The physical therapy process can be frustrating and feel painfully eternal, however having long-term goals like running 50k trail race, a multi-day ski adventure with friends, expanding my knowledge and taking on new challenges in the fire service are the scenarios I visualize when the peaks of my recovery feel insurmountable.