Coming down from the summit of Mt. Diablo last Saturday evening and watching the sun set over Northern California, I could feel a burst of new energy for the months ahead. I love the frenetic pace of internet organizing — today brought emails announcing new events around the world for October 24, press hits from Germany about our latest aerial action, and meetings on China-USA youth partnerships — but sometimes slowing down has its benefits too. And for me, there are few better places to unwind than in the mountains.
That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to announce a new letter from 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and some of the world’s top climbers. The letter is an invitation to fellow climbers to get somewhere high and visible on October 24 and call for climate action with thousands of other events around the world. Click here to read the invitation.
Today, we’re adding a new name to the invitation, Phil Powers. As the executive director of the American Alpine Club, Phil’s climbing achievements are well known: He has led dozens of expeditions to South America, Alaska and Pakistan’s Karakoram Range, including ascents of K2 (check out the photo in this post) and Gasherbrum II without supplemental oxygen. He made the first ascent of the Washburn Face on Denali, naming it in recognition of the impact longtime AAC member Bradford Washburn’s photos had in the planning and route research of many Alaska climbs. Powers also made the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk’s Western Edge in Pakistan, and the first winter traverse of the Tetons’ Cathedral Peaks.
Phil has also extensive experience with organizing. He served as the vice-president for institutional advancement at Naropa University and seventeen years with the National Outdoor Leadership School as chief mountaineering instructor and development/partnerships director.
And if you want some advice for the busy months ahead, there are few better places to look than Phil’s essay “The Importance of Pace,” which aired on NPR’s “This I Believe” in 2006. He writes,
“There is magic in any faith. Every once in a while, rushing about, my belief in pace rises up, slows me down and grants me a view of a sunset, a smile from a stranger or a conversation with a child. I owe these moments to what I learned from an old mountain climber and have practiced ever since.”
See you outside.