Ethan John Ball: Wilderness Wisdom

At Oliberté, we’ve always felt a strong connection with the natural and rugged beauty of our shared wilderness, so much so that we always strive to provide products that encourage exploration and conservation. We created this adventurer series to seek out the stories of those who’s connection to the wild goes the extra mile, to capture a glimpse of the wisdom gained. Our friend Ethan Ball has done everything possible to follow his dreams, and bring his experiences to a wider audience.

How did you get started as a mountain guide? Is there any special training involved with that?

I started my training as a mountain guide when I started school at Colorado Mesa University. Its a competitive job to fill and there were always many applicants. When I was hired on I didn’t have much training, and I often worked as a volunteer on our outdoor trips. This was so I could learn the ins and outs of being a guide. As my progression continued I started to become interested in certifications. In order to become a head guide one must be certified in the appropriate fields. My first step was wilderness medicine. After completing that 10 day course, I was finally able to lead trips. I was then certified as in avalanche rescue, swift water rescue, and rock climbing instruction. The certification gave me so much knowledge and truly prepared me to keep my clients safe in the backcountry.

What’s the favorite place you’ve traveled, and what’s something noteworthy that happened when you were there?

Growing up I was home schooled, meaning my mother had almost complete control of what we did and where we learned. This was especially exciting for me because when I was about twelve, My mother decided to move my sister and I to the Dominican Republic in order to learn Spanish. This was an incredible time in my life, and I soon fell in love with island living. Unfortunately during our time there a massive earthquake struck Haiti, a country on the other side of our island and one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. As my friends and family flocked to Haiti with aid, my father requested that we come home soon after.

What’s on your bucket list for travel destinations?

Bucket list of travel destination: Japan – to ski Croatia – looks beautiful Switzerland – duh Rome – the art Spain – the climbing I honestly want to go everywhere and see as much as I can before I die. These are just some of my first choices.

Any advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Get out there and do it. You don’t need school, you don’t need a fancy camera. You need to try and you need to do. The successful people are the movers and shakers.

What’s one piece of gear you couldn’t live without while exploring?

I really couldn’t live without my camera.  I love taking pictures and making films. whenever I explore I am constantly thinking of the rich beauty I might capture. It kinda sucks when I decide not to bring it.

What’s one important thing you’ve learned on your adventures?

An important thing I have learned on my adventures is that being alone is scary, but sometimes, even when you are terrified of being alone, it can be an extremely powerful tool in terms of breaking through into your own heart. Nature always makes me feel better. I think its probably that way for everyone. so take some time to sit alone in it.


Keep up with Ethan’s adventures on Instagram at @ethanjohnball

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