The interesting thing about land in Sweden is that most of it is open to public access - even land that is privately owned. It’s known as the “Right to Roam.” Sweden is unified in the collective mentality that as long as you’re treating the land respectfully, are responsible, and prepared; you can go anywhere.
This cultural mindset means that Swedish residents are particularly outdoorsy. Moa is no exception. She grew up in a family that spent most of their time outdoors, and Moa competed in the organized sport known as “Orienteering.”
This sport is like a scavenger hunt on steroids. You’re given a map that you have to follow to specific geo-locations. The person that can make it to each location the fastest wins. Moa participated in this sport starting at eight years old, which means she’s really good at reading a map. A particular skill you want in a guide.
Moa moved to the United States to her husband’s home town in the Mt. Washington Valley in January of 2020. A few months later, we all know what happened; the world shut down. This meant her Green Card application stalled in the system, and she couldn’t work. So she had a lot of free time as she waited for her permanent residence status to come through.
With ample time to fill she spent it hiking the White Mountains, and got to know its trails.
Prior to coming to the states she was traveling throughout Canada, landing in British Columbia, where she made some friends who shared their love for climbing with her. She joined them on climbing trips to local cliffs, and over time began to shift from student to teacher.
There she met her husband, who was also traveling in search of the world’s best mountain bike trails. Eventually Moa had to return to Sweden, where she worked in a climbing gym. Eventually the long distance in her relationship became too annoying and getting married became the solution.
When the question of whether her husband would move to Sweden, or if Moa would move to the states came up, Moa realized that her passion for guiding was the one she wanted to follow, and that track was a lot easier to follow in the US.
Moa loves guiding most because she loves to see the light in someone ping when they begin to understand the natural world around them, and begin to feel more independent in it. She loves educating people “to be outdoors.” Her goal is for anyone she works with to become an independent recreator. “When I teach someone to climb, I’m helping them build confidence in themselves.”
Moa’s working hard at earning a range of certifications through American Mountain Guides Association. She continues to climb with guides that are more experienced than her, and she sharpen the insight she thinks set good guides apart. “Guides need to have self-insight, and ask themselves ‘am I really ready to lead this?’”
One trip in particular that she loves to lead is Waterfall Rappelling at Northeast Mountaineering. This guided trip allows you to rappel a 100-plus foot waterfall.
According to Moa, “It’s so exciting to rappel down a waterfall!” It’s super fun and incredibly accessible. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate in it, and it’s a great activity for a range of people to participate in making it the great equalizer on a family vacation. It’s a great entry-point to the natural world.
As a guide Moa’s first goal is to get everyone home. Being aware of safety decisions that have to be made is a crucial reason to hire a guide. While it’s awesome to summit on any climb, sometimes that’s just not in the cards. After all guides are guiding in the Presidential Mountain Range, home to Northeast’s highest peak, Mount Washington, and the world’s worst weather. There are variables that force a trek to end early. While that’s disappointing guides are especially equipped to make those decisions. In Moa’s eyes if a trip didn’t work out, it probably still resulted in a great day, because it means the group learned something.
For more information on planning your Mt. Washington Valley vacation, sign up for our monthly newsletter! To learn more about guides and guiding outfitters in Mt. Washington Valley, click here. But before you do anything, first, we implore you take the MWV Pledge to promise to protect them! Sign your name and join the others who pledge to care for the White Mountain National forest to ensure it sticks around for years to come!
For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site, visitmwv.com, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.