A native of upstate New York (actual upstate, none of that “just north of NYC” stuff), Ryan fell in love with hiking, camping and backpacking in the Adirondack Mountains at a young age, organizing and completing in 2013 one of the first bisections of the Adirondack Park, entirely self-powered, over 210 miles and 20 days through the rugged Adirondack backcountry.
He honed his rock, ice climbing and mountaineering skills in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and later the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. In 2015, he led a 21-day expedition deep into the Alaska Range, on the north side of Denali National Park, linking 5 peaks along an unclimbed knife-edge ridge between Mount Brooks and Mount Silverthrone. When not working on other large expeditions across North American and beyond, he enjoys leading less-experienced friends and partners on their first mountaineering objectives like Mounts Rainier, Hood and Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba.
Simultaneously, Ryan received a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island, in the nation’s most sea-level state. After serving as news editor of the college’s weekly newspaper, he began combining his passions for journalism and the outdoors by writing for various outdoor-industry publications, online and in print. He has been published in Backpacker Magazine, Outside Online, SNEWS, Gear Junkie, Rock and Ice, Alpinist.com, National Parks Trips Media, and more. He has worked as a reporter at numerous Outdoor Retailer shows, written news and feature articles, destinations pieces, gear reviews, and opinion pieces both on assignment, as published pitches, and self-published projects. At the conclusion of his Brooks Glacier Expedition in 2015, Ryan wrote, designed, and build a multimedia-rich, visual longform project entitled Beginners Luck. Ryan is also the editor-in-chief of Eastern Mountain Sports' blog, goEast, running and editing the site top-to-bottom since its creation in 2016.
Ryan has been known to move around a bit, previously living in Seattle and, at numerous times, out of his Jeep and rooftop tent. Currently, he roams Colorado’s Front Range in search of the most eggs cooked (and words written) in Forest Service dispersed campsites and Walmart parking lots.
In the news.
- Mountaineer tackles new journalism, one step at at time (URI Today)
- With courage and skill, climbers established several firsts in Alaska mountains this year (Alaska Daily News)
- A Tradition, Rewritten (Quadangles, URI Alumni Magazine)
- Eastern Mountain Sports Launches New Outdoor Community (Gear Institute)
- Climbing the Alaska Range with Ryan Wichelns (The Pursuit Zone)
- Acclaimed Journalist Peter Lord’s Legacy Inspires Students At URI: Wichelns named inaugural Lord Scholarship recipient (RhodeWays)
- Blue Line to Blue Line (Spotlight News)
- Teens climb for charity (Albany Times Union)
- Mountaineers finish Adirondack Traverse in St. Regis (Daily Courier Observer)