Action County: Scott Egolf
In pursuing what would be considered the American dream in some circles, Scott Egolf traded in his desk job in Seattle for a multi-faceted outdoor lifestyle in Summit County. Egolf worked 10-12 hours a day at Boeing for six years as a civil engineer before he realized it wasn’t for him.”I was working in a sea of cubicles,” Egolf said. “I’m not a behind-the-desk person, it’s simple as that. It just took me a long time to realize that.”As a six-year resident of Summit County, Egolf has become a jack of all trades. Identifying his primary occupation would be tough because really, he has three. The Baltimore-area native is a teacher, small business owner, and firefighter.
One of the best places to catch up with Egolf is in his back yard. There, he has created an 80-foot ice pillar that he uses to practice and teach the sport of ice climbing.”I call it ice farming and I’ve been doing it for about five years,” Egolf said. “The pillar is built on a giant pine tree, people can’t believe it.”Egolf’s pillar stands no more than 60 feet from his house near the base of Hoosier Pass. Egolf began his project in November with a 150-foot garden hose that runs out of his well. The hose is complete with insulation and heat tape in order to combat below zero temperatures. After he trickled approximately a half-gallon of water a minute on to his tree off and on for several weeks, Egolf’s creation was ready for climbing around Christmas time. Since then, he has rarely had to water it.Egolf has made sure that his own personal glacier is well secured.
“I’ve got three guy wires coming off the top (of the tree) that are hooked to four-ton come alongs,” he said. “The capability of the lines is 10,000 pounds; as this thing starts to melt in the spring, it can get top-heavy and take over a tree like it’s a toothpick.”Egolf’s playground is currently used by his friends as well as students from Breckenridge’s Colorado Mountain College. When he’s not teaching ice climbing for CMC, Egolf is teaching something else. “They plug me in anywhere they can think of,” Egolf said. “I also teach EMT classes, Wilderness First Responder, CPR, survival skills and rock climbing.”
Egolf’s business, South Park Adventure Guides, has been in operation since 1998. South Park is often a one-man show, but Egolf does hire help as needed. He offers mountaineering, ice climbing and rock climbing to his customers. The venues vary. “I guide all over,” Egolf said. “I spent a lot of time guiding on Mt. Rainier when I was up there. I go to the Tetons, the Wind River Range; there’s not many mountain ranges I haven’t been to in this entire country, as well as Banff and Alberta in Canada.”The third aspect of Egolf’s professional life is his membership in the Copper Mountain Fire Department. After being a volunteer fire fighter since 2001, Egolf was recently hired on full-time at Copper.With all of his commitments, it’s a wonder Egolf has time for a family, but he does. Egolf and his wife Tracey are the proud parents of an 8-year-old son, Ian, and a 4-month-old daughter, Sophia.
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