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BULLETIN | News for Members

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
NAME: Lisa Barboza
LOCATION: San Jose, California
CONTRIBUTION: Mountaineering chair for the Sierra Club's Peak Climbing Section

Your chapter newsletter called you an "obsessive peakbagger."
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 a danger element, right?
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.

Does it scare you?
No. If you're careful, you'll be fine.

You've also planted about 200,000 trees. Are you as passionate about that as you are about climbing?
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."

Not exactly a friendly place to be.
Actually, we all ended up pretty good pals after two weeks.

Do you ever go back and visit the trees that you planted?
Yeah, you betcha! Some of them are 60 feet tall.

Do you have any more adventures on your bucket list?
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


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


Joshua Houdek

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

ON THE WEB Get tips to plan a Conference on Wheels at

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