Charlotte Austin

Charlotte Austin hails from Seattle, Washington, where she splits her time between working as an adventure writer, international mountain guide, and expedition sea kayaker.
She learned to paddle as a little girl, when her father taught her about the water by letting her sit in the front hatch of his Necky kayak. 25 years later, she used that same kayak to embark on a multi-year project: to paddle the length of the 1200-mile Columbia River. As they’ve paddled, Charlotte and her team have watched spawning salmon, waved at fishermen in their boats, and got more than a little bit sunburned. They make pancakes on uninhabited islands, listening to trains run next to the river. They’re already planning their next segment of the river for spring 2016.

When she’s not paddling, she works for International Mountain Guides, where she leads climbing, mountaineering, and hiking expeditions around the world. Charlotte has guided in North and South America, Europe, Alaska, Patagonia, and the Himalaya. She’s a Wilderness-EMT, a Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer, and holds Level 2 certification with the American Institute for Avalanche Education and Training (AIARE). She recently became an extra class ham radio operator. On all expeditions, she brings excellent snacks.

When she’s not outside, Charlotte writes. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Saint Andrews (in Scotland) and at the University of Washington (in Seattle), where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies, then attended the low-residency MFA program at the University of Alaska Anchorage in creative nonfiction. She has acted as writer-in-residence in National Forests, teaches travel writing at the University of Washington, and has had work published in Alpinist, Blue Water Sailing, Seattle Met, Stay Wild, Women’s Adventure, and other publications, both in print and online. 

On her bucket list: A global circumnavigation on a sailboat with Huckleberry, her big silly black dog. The ability to bake the perfect popover. A sea kayaking expedition in Novia Scotia. A winter in Bali. The perfect sports bra. An up-close underwater encounter with a manatee. The skills, time, and materials to build herself a cabin. A hug from the Dalai Llama.

Many photos courtesy of Bryan Aulick:

My Boats

Chatham Series

Greenland inspired coastal play boats built to tame the biggest conditions – high winds, surf, and tidal races. Their hard chined/soft edged hulls offer the ultimate in stability and handling on edge to dig in and out of rock gardens or taking that unexpected wave. Our design team thought of everything from offering outstanding neutrality in wind to help reduce weather-cocking to placing the recessed compass mount in a location that reduces sea sickness. Equally at home on Vancouver’s West Coast, playing in the 8+ knot currents of Deception Pass, or camping along the Maine Island Trail, Chathams are the ultimate performers in rough water conditions where high wind and rough seas prevail. Read More