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Skiing and Snowboarding : Climbing

Copp-Dash Inspire Awards Accepting Applications

The American Alpine Club is now accepting applications for the 2013 Copp-Dash Inspire Awards. The awards honor the late climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash, who were killed—along with filmmaker Wade Johnson—in May 2009 by an avalanche in China's Sichuan province. This year's winners will share grants totaling $20,000.

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Extreme Alpinism in the Name of Climate Science

Ascending_leninAscending Mount Lenin. Photo: Hari Mix

Is Hari Mix a mountaineer with a science habit or a scientist with a mountaineering habit?

"I'm not sure," says the 27-year-old Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Earth Systems Science at Stanford University. "They're definitely related, I've always been drawn to the scale and beauty of the earth's processes, so I want to go and interact with them directly, and mountaineering is a great way to do it."

This summer, Mix climbed a number of peaks in the Pamir Mountains, mixing his summit pursuits with scientific study. At the top of Mount Lenin, a 23,406-foot peak on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Mix collected microbe samples from the highest elevation to date for a climate change research project. (Actually, he bagged several small rocks, in which the microbes live.) Dragos Zaharescu, a research associate at the University of Arizona's Biosphere 2 research program, is now analyzing the samples that Mix collected on Mount Lenin as well as from three other nearby peaks.

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), a Bozeman, Montana-based citizen science organization that seeks opportunities for climbers and other outdoor athletes to contribute to scientific research, connected Zaharescu and Mix.

Zaharescu is also analyzing other samples, collected from high on Mount Denali, an archipelago in Artic Russia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and other peaks around the world. His research focuses on how climate change may be impacting the way biotic communities in high altitudes colonize rock and break it down, initiating nutrients transfer through the ecosystem.

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Adventure Video of the Week: The Water Tower

It would be hard to dream up a better combo for an adventure movie that raises awareness about a water crisis than filmmaker Peter McBride and climber Jake Norton. McBride's film Chasing Water won the 2011 Banff Montain Film Short award for tracking Jonathan Waterman's source-to-sea paddle down the Colorado River. Along the way, McBride documented the changes the river has undergone since he was a boy living in its watershed. Norton is in the middle of an expedition called Challenge 21, a multi-year project to climb the three highest mountains on each of the seven continents to raise awareness about the world water crisis through Water For People. He's traveled to eight of those peaks so far.

In The Water Tower, the pair is joined by Kim Havell and others for a July 2012 expedition up Mount Kenya. The 17,057-foot peak provides roughly 70 percent of the nation's fresh water supply. Aside from an electrical storm the team had to weather on the mountain, they also faced plenty of challenges on the ground. For McBride, one of those tests was whether to drink the warm blood from a recently slit goat's neck during a Samburu warrior festival. "I didn't have the courage to tell these warriors no," he says. "Keeping it together afterwards—belly gurgling—and going back to shooting was trickier than I expected."

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American Mountain Co.: U.S.-Made Alpine Gear With Style

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Mountains test your resilience. Cliffs and cold and striving for the summit push your physical and mental limits. Gravity and fear pull you down, while passion and determination push you higher. It is for these moments, these experiences, that the climber/mountaineer founders of American Mountain Co. design apparel.

Driven by a desire to make products with fortitude and inspired by passion for the experiences unique to the magnificient peaks, the company makes mountain wear reminiscent of a time when climbing was in its purest form and excellence was found in all aspects of a product—when performance and quality were as important as style and design.

American Mountain Co. uses high-tech materials combined with classic style for its products, all manufactured in the United States. Every single stitch of their wears is sewn by a craftsman who takes personal pride in each pass of the needle. And every garment is arduously tested to ensure you can rely on it for a lifetime. When a product is finally deemed perfect, the crafter signs the garment before it’s sent to you with American Mountain Co.'s lifetime guarantee.

The company is launching on Kickstarter now with two products: the No. 907 High-Altitude Hardshell Jacket and the No. 307 Mid-Altitude Windproof Fleece Jacket.

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12-Year-Old Climbs for Conservation

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World's youngest ski patroller? Taylor Justice on the job at Aspen. Photo: Taylor Justice

There are overachievers, and then there is Taylor Justice. The 12-year-old skier/climber/straight-A student started shredding double-black diamond chutes when she was eight. Three years later, she joined the Junior Ski Patrol at Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain. Earlier this year, she rescued a man who’d fallen 30 feet into a ravine on Peru’s Inca Trail, fashioned splints for his broken wrists out of cardboard boxes, and helped him to safety. And later this month, she’ll climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for critically endangered black rhinos.

It’s enough to give even the most accomplished adventurer a serious complex.

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