Part-time Castle Valley resident Kathryn Key Miller, died on March 17, 2009 in Idaho Falls, Idaho after a skiing accident while on a backcountry patrol at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. She was 42.
Kathryn was born June 18, 1966 in Columbus, Ga.
A Jackson Hole Ski Patroller and Mountain Guide, she graduated from Brookstone School, Columbus, Ga., attended Southern Methodist University and graduated from the University of Georgia. After graduation Kathryn began her career as an outdoor educator and climbing guide with the National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander,
Kathryn lived life to the fullest. She was a true friend, esteemed colleague and a teacher to many. Her family and friends will dearly miss her sparkling blue eyes, insatiable smile and infectious laugh. At the time of her death she was an enthusiastic and respected member of the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol spending winters and summers living in Victor, Idaho. Kathryn was a former partner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and continued to guide for them in Jackson, Wyo. and Moab.
Kathryn loved books, and was a feverous reader. She was a musician and an ardent listener of music. She loved to spend her spare time with friends traveling to and enjoying the concerts of her favorite bands. Kathryn was always a catalyst for getting everyone together for a dinner party, concert, adventure or online scrabble game. She was passionate about the construction of her sustainable straw-bale house in Castle Valley. She devoted countless hours of labor to the building of her beautiful home in the desert.
Kathryn was a seven-year veteran of the Jackson Hole ski patrol. As a guide her career led her throughout the Rockies, Alaska, and the canyons of Utah’s redrock country. She volunteered for Teton County Search and Rescue; ski patrolled for Grand Targhee resort, and guided Denali for Alaska Mountaineering School.
Kathryn was an accomplished skier and Alpinist who broke boundaries in 1999 when she climbed, 26,904 foot Cho Oyu, on the border of Nepal and Chinese Tibet. Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world, is one of only 14 peaks higher than 8,0000 meters. She claimed the summit without the aid of supplemental oxygen, without help from Sherpas and with American teammates that where all women. It was the first time an American women’s team had surpassed the 8000-meter barrier in that style.
She is survived by her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Fred Miller of Columbus, Ga.,
brother, Rick, and his wife Rhonda of Gate City, Va., sister, Laura and her husband Virgil Pedersen of Columbia Falls, Mont., nephew, Derick and niece, Campbell Miller, of Gate City, Va., and partner, Derek Ellis, of Victor, Idaho.
Memorial donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy or the National Outdoor Leadership School to support her devotion to wilderness education and conservation. A slideshow CD of Kathryn can be obtained by emailing louiseG@jacksonhole.com.