Monthly Archive for: ‘December, 2016’


I didn’t know him well. In fact,…

I didn’t know him well. In fact, I only met him once and spoke with him on the phone a few times. But those brief interactions – and the many Legends and stories I had heard years prior – showed me that Dick Pownall, who sadly passed away two weeks ago, was yet another true hero of the golden age of mountaineering. A gifted and strong climber, Dick made impressive ascents early on, including the Pownall-Gilkey on the Grand Teton in 1948 and, the following year, Pownall unlocked the Pendulum Pitch high on the North Face of the Grand Teton. It was undoubtedly ascents like these that earned Dick a spot on the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition. With his strength and skill, Dick had a good chance of being on the first summit team, but in a tragic turn, Dick narrowly escaped death early on in the expedition when a massive collapse in the Khumbu Icefall – roughly where this photo was taken in 2009 – took the life of his good friend, Jake Breitenbach; Dick was buried waist deep for 30+ minutes. Dick continued to climb on the expedition and was a huge asset to the team, but did not reach the summit. Off the mountain, Dick was a soft-spoken man who, despite his accomplishments, didn’t boast or brag: he taught and mentored and gave back to his community in spades. Dick is one of many of a magical age of mountaineering who I admire hugely, knew a little, and wish I had spent more time with. He will be missed. #liveyouradventure #passingofalegend #RIP #AMEE1963

Read More

On January 4, please tune into @nova_pbs…

On January 4, please tune into @nova_pbs to catch the latest film by @clarkliesl documenting the science, scientists, and climbers who have – over the past decade – unearthed stunning artifacts and human remains from some of the earliest settlers in the high Himalaya. I was lucky enough to help film on 2 of these expeditions, and can say with certainty the story, the science, the history, and the mystery is something you don’t want to miss. So tune in! A link is in my profile. | In this photo, Mark Aldenderfer picks through dust and debris in Rhi Rhi Cave near Chuksang, Upper Mustang, Nepal. #liveyouradventure

Read More

The daily news bombards with stories that…

The daily news bombards with stories that assault the senses. Death and horror, climate change and extinctions, shootings and hackings and depravity of all sorts. Social media, once a welcome respite from the intensity and vitriol of life, replete instead with vapid food pics and cat videos, is now chock full of anger and fear as well. At times I must shrink away – not because I don’t want to talk, learn, and engage, but because I must retreat to recharge and reconnect with the humanity that exists in great quantity and number, but seldom makes the front page or the top of the screen. I turn to the mountains and the people who live amongst them who have – silently and vocally – taught me so much about this world. And, I turn to those who’ve inspired me from near and far, through words and actions and deeds and philosophies. It is words like this, by the Buddha, that give me hope, and make me hope more of the world will embrace them: “Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” | In this photo, an elderly woman moves her mala, or prayer beads, as she chants Buddhist prayers outside Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal. #liveyouradventure

Read More

In the shadow of Shivling and the…

In the shadow of Shivling and the Bhagirathi peaks, high on the Gangotri Glacier, lives a silent sadhu, Muni Baba. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, the source of the mighty Ganges River, and a place of reverence and respect for the power of the mountain environment and the bounty mountains bring to us all. Muni Baba lives here for this very reason: to act out his faith in Mother Ganges and the deities who brought her from the heavens to earth. But he, like so many, is concerned. He knows this landscape intimately, and knows it is changing. The Gangotri is receding fast, weather is changing and becoming increasingly frenetic and unpredictable, and dams and development are wreaking havoc on this sacred landscape and all within it. And, it’s not just happening in India; from the Rwenzori to Rolwaling, Everest to Ethiopia, the Appalachians to the Antarctic, mountains – and all they shelter and provide – are under increased threat from climate change, unchecked development and resource extraction, and more. Today, December 11, is International Mountain Day… Please join me in celebrating all the mountains give us, in recognizing the threats they, their people, and their environments face, and in urging our governments to protect them here and abroad. Read more at the link in my profile. #MountainPartnership #liveyouradventure #IMD #mountainsmatter

Read More