Kaki Arnaud

Kaki Arnaud - Women Crush Wednesday

A Hearty Enigma

If you're looking for Kaki, there is a good chance that you will not be able to find her unless you are atop a mountain summit. Once you arrive, she will be the short-ish one with a mop of unruly brown hair thrown into a bun on top of her head and flaunting layers of bright clothing.

What are your three most prized accomplishments?

Graduating from University with a BS in Exercise Science was a good one. Summiting Mt. Rainier for the first time at 14. Becoming good at growing my own food, and then cooking with it!

What are your three favorite things to do?

Skin uphill, ski downhill, repeat... Is that one thing, or two? Hikes with my dog and my person. Standing outside catching snowflakes in my mouth during the first snowfall of the year

Where are your three favorite places to be?

Up. Up. Away.

What is your greatest passion?

Pushing my limits and learning constantly.

What keeps your passion alive?

Getting out into the world and interacting with people in far-off places.

What is one thing that people don't know about you, but should?

There are a lot of things people don't know about me! It takes me a loooong time to let people into the nitty gritty of my life... Most people are surprised to learn that I went to the Sturgis Motorcycle rally when I was 12 years old. Or that I trekked the Annapurna Circuit (plus Mustang) at 13, or that I climbed Mt. Rainier for the first time at 14. I guess there's a bit more too (like another 20 years of adventuring since that last one), but I do enjoy being a bit of an enigma...

What is your wildest adventure?

One time, when I was in Patagonia, we had a whole 10-day ration of food stolen from our cache during the first third of a three-month sea kayaking/mountaineering expedition. We spent three days on a beach eating golden raspberries and a few fish we bought off some fishermen... It was an exercise in patience and group dynamics. In the end, it was probably one of the most poignant learning experiences for me and helped shape how I approached client groups in guiding situations later on.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

I've always wanted to do a ski trip in Africa before there is no snow left at all. I think there could be some amazing "summit/headwaters to delta" trips that have yet to be done...

What is your personal definition of feminism?

My own definition of feminism is owning my choices and feeling the power and freedom to live them.

What do you find valuable in being a woman in the adventure/outdoor industry?

I got lucky because I didn't have to find the "outdoors". I'm from a long line of strong-willed women and geologists, so I learned the value of the outdoors without any gender strings attached to me. What I did notice as I started growing up, was that most of my "heroes" in the sport and explorer realms were men. That changed when I started to learn about Wendy Fisher and her success in "extreme skiing," as it was called back in the day. She showed me that there was strength in the simple beauty of a well-chosen line. That perspective shift is something that I value. I think women in the outdoor industry often "speak" through our actions and I think there is a lot of power when we stop and listen.

Who is another woman who inspires you?

There are so many amazing women doing amazing things in the adventure realm these days! There are two women right now that I just admire to no end. Jen Edney is a photojournalist that will be embedded in the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October. She is a strong woman in a sea of men (literally). Her ability to tell a story through an image is striking. The other is Taylor Rees. Taylor lives her art. It comes through in every photo, video and film she works on. She has a sense of humor and a true joy in her work.

In the coming years, where would you like to see women in sports/adventure/outdoors?

In a place where we don't have to be talking about women, we just see them in outdoor media and sport the same amount as men and there are no qualifying statements about women. I want to see even representation and $$ for women in the outdoor/sport world.