Gerardi, who left her native Vermont for France 10 years ago, added a wonderful page to the history of ski mountaineering in April 2021 when she and Valentine Fabre set the first women’s record for the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route.
The pair’s widely acclaimed performance — a time of 26 hours 21 minutes — even made it to the pages of the New York Times. Ben Tibbetts’ beautiful documentary, The Traverse, follows the two skiers over the 8,100 metres of climbing, with a seemingly indefatigable Hillary leading the way. This stamina should come as no surprise, given her track record in trail running (Trofeo Kima, Tromso Skyrace) and her facility in mountain terrain, acquired alongside her husband Brad Carlson, a guide with the Chamonix guides’ company and an ecologist at the Centre for Research on Alpine Ecosystems.
Three months after completing the Haute Route, she proved this again by winning the very technical 2021 Mont Blanc 90k trail race. And always with a smile on her face. We can think of no one else like her at the moment, except perhaps Emelie Forsberg.