Meet the Adventurer Behind Atlas Calling
Hey There! I'm Danielle (Dani) Maxey, creator and founder of the outdoor adventure blog, Atlas Calling.
I’m an avid outdoor adventurer with a love for travel and adrenaline fueled trips.
Growing up in Colorado, I was exposed to the outdoors from a very young age. I am incredible fortunate that I grew up hiking with my mom in the foothills near my childhood home, and skiing in the mountains with my dad. In the summers, I was able to do the occasional backpacking trip or white water rafting trip at camp in the summers. I didn’t realize I was missing a whole spectrum of adventure until much later though.
It wasn’t until I started school at the University of Colorado, Boulder that I discovered there was more to the outdoors. A lot more.
It was here that I found my passion for climbing mountains, as I slowly started to summit the 14ers in Colorado, mountain peaks over 14,000 feet high.
And in my junior year, I discovered my love for travel when I received the chance of a lifetime to participate in an archaeological field school in Argos, Greece.
I spent my days here the summer of 2015 hiking and walking fields collecting data in the Western Argolid Region. Getting to play with artifacts, some over thousands of years old? Yeah, I was pretty content.
After the program ended, I decided to backpack my way around Europe before ending in Dublin, Ireland to continue my studies. It was here that I got into climbing, and started learning the basics for caving and white water kayaking.
I graduated from the University of Colorado in 2016, with my B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Archaeology. So yeah, basically I really like culture and really old things. Originally, I wanted to work in primate conservation, but life had other plans. I was sick during my last semester in school, and for months after, and was not able to find a job until much later.
I ended up falling into ski and snowboard instructing at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado. After the season, I booked a one way plant ticket to New Zealand and spent a few months travelling around the islands.
Once I returned, I continued to work in the outdoor industry.
Since then and now, I’ve traveled to nearly twenty countries and have lived in three. I’ve continued exploring my passion in the outdoors and have hiked countless miles, climbed numerous routes, summited multiple peaks, and participated in my forms of adventure.
Currently, I work in the outdoor industry, which enables me to work closely with the gear I love, and get to meet some really interesting people. I also work as a freelance writer and photographer on the side, though I hope to one day make this my priority.
Where do you live?
I’m based in Colorado, U.S., currently. I am in the process of (re)converting my Ford E350 van, and plan to live and travel around in that for some months out of the year.
Mountains or Beach?
Mountains first. Always. Then probably desert. Then beach. Then jungle. I try to avoid places with mosquitoes and other biting bugs. They enjoy me a little too much.
You do a lot of outdoor sport, but what is your favorite?
I always get asked this, and to give a cheating answer: ski mountaineering. Then I can ski and climb in one go. But I’m also slightly terrified of avalanches so I don’t do as much as I would like.
What other sports do you do?
I started skiing when I was 5 or 6, and that will probably always be my main sport, but I also snowboard. I switched to snowboarding when I was 12, so I can do either.
I also really love climbing the Colorado 14ers and mountaineering. As far as climbing goes, I do sport, trad, and bouldering, but am working my skills to do large alpine climbs and big wall climbs. I also really enjoy canyoneering, when it isn’t the summer.
I enjoy backpacking, though that has been slightly put on hold to make way for my other sports. I do one day want to connect the CDT and the GDT though. Mountain biking and road biking have also been two sports I have more recently picked up along with white water rafting and kayaking.
What's been your favorite place you've visited?
I like to say it is the place I currently am. But I particularly enjoyed backpacking in Peru, hiking in Greece, living in a van in New Zealand, experiencing culture in Morocco, and climbing peaks in Colorado.
Where to next?
I’m never fully sure, but I hope to climb Mt. Rainier and other PNW volcanoes this summer, virus depending.
I also have plans to backpack and canyoneer in Zion National Park, complete the Colorado 14ers, backpack in Patagonia, climb Aconcagua, climb in Mexico, thru-hike the Wind River high Route, ski in France and Italy, and finally run some canyons in Utah I’ve had my eye on for years.
Why did you create Atlas Calling?
I created Atlas Calling as a way to share my adventures, and to answer questions that I get asked a lot when I’m taking people out into the backcountry. I also hope to help inspire people to get outside and push past their comfort zones. I know it can be incredibly difficult and intimidating to get into the outdoor world, so I hope to help others find their place in it. And I know that as a woman, it can be even more so.
I am a huge advocate for conservation, feminism, and environmental impact. After graduating, I did not leave behind my college roots, so besides those issues, you’ll also see the occasional cultural, ethical, and historical piece pop up. I meant it when I said I like to talk about old stuff.
If you have any questions, or just want to chat, feel free to say hi and drop me a line. And if you are ever curious about where I am, check out my Instagram page. Or just look to the mountains. I’m most likely somewhere on a peak, doing what I enjoy most in life.