Alison Criscitiello: Scientist, Mountaineer, and Trail Butter Pro

Our Trail Butter Pros have cool day jobs, and as a climate scientist Alison Criscitiello is no exception.

In our latest Trail Talk feature and in honor of Earth Month, Alison breaks down how her work of understanding the effects of climate change and passion for mountaineering meet up in a big way. 

Helloooo! I'm Ali (@alisoncriscitiello), ice core scientist, mountaineer, and Trail Butter Pro. I am the Director of the Canadian Ice Core Lab, and also one of the founders and directors of Girls on Ice Canada. I work in the Canadian high Arctic, Antarctica, and the Canadian Rockies. As a high-altitude mountaineer, I lean heavily on my background to allow me to drill ice cores in some tough places! In this photo, I'm probing for crevasses to outline a safe landing and working zone in Wilhelm II Land, East Antarctica. (Photo: Mark Savage)


In this photo, my climbing partner and I make our way through one of Mount Logan's icefalls. This was the last time I was on Logan, Canada's highest peak, when I skied from summit to base in one go. I am super excited (and nervous) to be returning to Logan this May– and May 2022 as well – to drill an ice core on Logan's incredibly inhospitable summit plateau. We expect to retrieve a ~30,000 year old climate record from this zone.


This month, I'm headed up to Snow Dome on the Columbia Icefield to drill ice cores as part of a project looking at environmental contaminants in snow and ice that can be released into downstream watersheds and ecosystems. Whether I'm climbing and skiing for the pure adventure of it, or I'm out in the cold wilds in the name of science, I rely on slow-burning, long-lasting tasty fuel; TB for years has been my go-to! Here I am last April up on Snow Dome, giving my TB a little chill down after actually overheating it inside my jacket!

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