"Leslie, I just want to say that I read your piece in Outside on your incredible anniversary hike through Chilkoot Pass today, and was in tears. Not just for the struggles that you and Thomas overcame, but for the insightful, personal and emotional journey that shared, and what you'd dealt with leading up to the trip also. I want to tell you that I really appreciated the piece, your strength and openness as a human and a wife/mother/woman/adventurer/perseverer is apparent and so inspiring. Really amazing stuff, and I hope to read more of your work soon."
~Jess Smith | VP of OutsidePR
Raised by a photographer, then adopted by the Navajo Táchii’nii or Red Running into Water People Clan and the Tlingit Yéil Naa (Raven Moeity), K’ineix Kwáan (people of the Copper River Clan) from the Tsisk’w Hit (Owl House), Leslie grounds her stories in indigenous knowledge and respect for all cultures. Her Navajo name means Journey with Caring, Journey to Bring Out Gifts and that's the crux of her artistic intention, a storyteller that serves a place or people. Her Tlingit name is Guna Kadeit Seedi Shaawat, which means enormous wealth giving monster, the Tlingit name for Johnstone Passage, which is a channel that lies two miles north of Yakutat, Alaska.
By the age of twenty, she had white water rafted, spelunked, hiked, and ridden on horseback through nearly all the national parks in the United States and Canada when both her mother and eighteen-year-old brother die from hepatitis B. She is currently writing a memoir about the years that followed their death and how she turned to the natural world and the indigenous people most intimate to these places for answers.
"Leslie Hsu Oh is one of the most innovative outdoor writers today. Her prose style has a combination of spare lyricism, perfect rhythm and sensory power that seems almost like magic, bringing her readers fully into the worlds she re-creates. As a mother who goes on backcountry expeditions with her young children, and an adopted daughter of a Diné and Tlingit family, she also brings a perspective that's seldom heard — a voice capable of overturning outdated formulas that have long dominated the genre. She is part of a generation of writers who are redefining what it means to write about nature and adventure and to seek a more inclusive sense of place in the wild and the world." ~Katie Ives | Alpinist Magazine, Editor-in-Chief
She has photographed whales from a helicopter (and flown one), kayaked in Puerto Rico’s bio bay, fly-fished in the highlands of Iceland, paraglided in the Alps, ice-climbed in Alaska, combat fished with bears, and been invited by Elders to ceremonies or sacred landscapes that are not open to outsiders. Her education in biology, ethnobotany, public health from Harvard University, and a MFA allows her to move freely from academic to commercial endeavors, while contributing to literary works and outlets like National Geographic, Alpinist, Alaska Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Fourth Genre, Huffington Post, Outside Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Real Simple, Saveur, Smithsonian Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Washington Post.
Named a #ForceofNature, badass, #shemovesmountains, Leslie is a Champion of Change for the White House in Asian American and Pacific Islander Storytelling and Art, a Schweitzer Fellow for Life, and the Senior Editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. A two-time gold medalist, four-time silver medalist, bronze medalist in the North American Travel Journalists Association Travel Media Awards and a medalist in the Lowell Thomas Awards, Leslie’s work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. Read more about Leslie here.