By Della Watson
Grilled | The votes are in | On the Road
Invading the Privacy of the People Who Make the Club Tick
Courtesy of Daryn Dodge
San Jose, California
Mountaineering chair for the Sierra Club's Peak Climbing Section
Oh yes. I think what drives me is that it's really, really hard. When you're climbing the peak, you have to be completely aware of everything you're doing: every footfall, every handhold. For me, that focused experience is incredibly cleansing. People say they get high when they climb peaks, and they're not just talking about the altitude. It's a huge endorphin high. One time we were at the top of a 13,500-foot mountain, and all of a sudden, thousands and thousands of painted lady butterflies flew up around us. The air was so thick with butterflies we couldn't see the view. They'd been blown up there by the wind, and they were mating with each other.
There's definitely a lot of adrenaline involved when you're doing Class 4 and Class 5 peaks, which need rope. You can die very easily. People do die.
No. If you're careful, you'll be fine.
Well, that was a way of life. This was back in the late '70s. We lived in tepees and yurts and old converted school buses. We planted all over the western United States. We actually saw Mount St. Helens explode—saw it happen right in front of us. And after that we were stuck in the town of Trout Lake, Washington, for two weeks. There was one bar in this town, and it was populated by two kinds of people: loggers and tree planters. And the loggers had bumper stickers on their trucks that said, "Sierra Club, kiss my ax."
Actually, we all ended up pretty good pals after two weeks.
Yeah, you betcha! Some of them are 60 feet tall.
I want to climb Everest and K2. To me the Chinese curse "May you have an interesting life" has actually been a good fortune. I've been blessed with an interesting life. I'm never bored.—interview by Della Watson
The VOTES ARE IN
Jonathan Ela, Larry Fahn, Jessica Helm, Aaron Mair, and Rob Wilder will fill the five open positions on the Sierra Club's 15-person Board of Directors. For more information, go to sierraclub.org/bod.
ON THE ROAD
The Minnesota North Star Chapter organizes its annual Conference on Wheels bike ride to urge civic leaders to think of roads as "complete streets" that serve not only cars but also cyclists and pedestrians. At scheduled rest stops along the ride, speakers spread the word about local sustainability projects.
The event's popularity has skyrocketed since its 1996 debut, when it was called the "Tour de Sprawl." "In those beginning years we focused on protecting the landscape from poorly planned development," says Deb Alper, one of the event's original organizers. "Now we focus on infrastructure and transportation." Minnesotans aren't the only cyclists hitting the road—10 other Midwest chapters have held similar events. —Julie Littman
Get tips to plan a Conference on Wheels at http://bit.ly/coWheels.