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Solveig Waterfall

Date of Surgery: 3/21/2016 and 10/3/2016
Update (9/2017): Solveig has returned to guiding full-time.

About Solveig

Solveig is an AMGA certified ski mountaineering guide.  She was born and raised in the Alpental Valley of Washington state.  She first clicked into ski bindings at less than a year old, and has been in hot pursuit of fresh snow ever since.  Mountaineering was a natural progression in the search for steeper, more interesting terrain, and ski mountaineering soon became a lifelong passion.

Career Background

Solveig started guiding while getting a BA from Western State College in Colorado, and has since worked in the Sierra’s, the Cascades, the Alaska Range, and internationally on the Mexican volcanoes and Argentina’s Aconcagua.  Personal climbing and skiing aspirations have taken her to Sikkim in the Indian Himalaya and the Waddington Range in British Columbia.  After five years of ski patrolling in the winter months at Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley, Solveig now guides full time and is based in the Pacific Northwest.  She spends the winter months teaching avalanche education courses and leading backcountry skiing seminars.  She has 118 summits on Mount Rainier via 5 routes and has worked 7 expeditions to Denali.

Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan

I sustained a pilon fracture of my right ankle while filming for a local TV segment at Crystal Mountain, Washington.  The fracture required emergency surgical repair and bone grafting to stabilize the injury.  The surgeon placed three plates and twelve screws on my lower tibia and fibula.  I began physical therapy within weeks of surgery and followed an aggressive training plan that put me back to work climbing Mount Rainier at the three month post-op mark.  I guided from June until September while still working with a physical therapist regularly to alleviate the continual swelling and help with the range of motion.  In October, I had all the hardware removed to increase my mobility and reduce the pain and sensitivity associated with the metal rubbing against my boots and conducting the cold in below freezing temps.  I am still seeing a physical therapist two-four times a months to improve my strength, balance and flexibility.



"The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has been instrumental in keeping me in the business of ski and mountain guiding. After sustaining a career threatening injury, with their support, I was able to focus on recovery and training, without excessive worry about the financial burden of being temporarily disabled and unemployed. I was able to work with an incredible physical therapist which got me back to work as soon as safely possible. I'm forever grateful to the foundation for their support and am so thankful that our community has an organization like the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation that is dedicated to help keep us active and healthy."

- Solveig Waterfall