Thursday, March 22, 2012

Friends In High Places

Do you ever look at your life and think... how do I know such incredible people?

While we were down in South America, I got in contact with some Outward Bound friends who are doing beyond inspring things down there.  After years of plotting and perseverance, Ryan Huetter, climber extraordinaire, completed a route that is impressive to even the most experienced climbers. He summited Mount Fitz Roy. I knew it was a big deal, but after seeing the bad boy for myself in February, I am blow away by his accomplishment.  His trip report can (and should) be read here.

That last (absolutely breathtaking) photo was taken by Jon Byers. Jon and Ned LeBlond, two more OB buds, ventured down to Patagonia with their Alpine of the Americas Project. The goal of the project is 'to develop and implement a simple, repeatable, and useful set of measurements and transects that alpine travelers can use to contribute to research on alpine climate change'. They are collecting images, both on their own and with the help of others, that can and will provide perspective on the affects of climate change on watersheds in North and South America. Keep up with them on Facebook and their blog

On the other side of the world, and with equal amounts of gusto, two more of my friends from Outward Bound ventured through the Himalaya.  From January 23 to February 10, David Katz and Josh Garrison (along with their buddy Jeff Deutsch) trekked 160 kilometers through Nepal, building relationships and an incredible anthology of photos and video.  Check out their Langtang Project here.

Ryan, Jon, Ned, DKatz and Josh, I am proud to know you and excited to continue following your adventures. I can only image how many people the five of you have already inspired as Instructors on course and now will continue to reach through your astonishing pursuits. Keep sending. 

All of this high altitude talk reminded me of my favorite quote to read to students, and for life in general by Rene Daumal: "You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees, one descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can still know."

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