The Ties that Bind
I HAVE GREAT respect for Conrad Anker, who married the widow of his best friend, Alex Lowe ("The Climber Comes Down to Earth," May). Anker stepped up to be a father and husband to Lowe's family. Right on. Should such a fate as Lowe's befall me, I would consider it an honor and a comfort to know that my best friend was taking care of my family.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
OH, THE SAGA of high-mortality sports. Mountaineering celebrity Alex Lowe dies, leaving pain and suffering to his wife and three children. Conrad Anker lives, becomes the grieving widow's new man, and leads the same narcissistic, high-risk life as his deceased friend. If Anker were serious about his new family and keeping his "ass really safe," he'd break this cycle of shameless self-promotion. Wake up, Jenni Loweyour kids are the real victims here.
DANIEL DUANE'S article on Conrad Anker exposed more than the climber's courage, honor, and commitment. It showed all of us who climb at any skill level some of the hidden reasons why we dare to go up to the grand heights. Whether Anker never scales another 8,000-meter peak or chooses to finish them all off, he has nothing left to prove. To remember close friends lost, to look into the eyes of his newfound family and recognize their loss on a daily basis and yet continue to live gracefully in both the mundane and the spectacular, reveals an inspiring depth of character formed on those windswept ridges where doubt and fear are better dealt with than stuffed out of sight. Kudos to Daniel Duane for taking us inside the mind of a true mountaineer.
Edward J. Reiter
I Think that I Shall Never See...
BRYAN DI SALVATORE'S essay on shoe trees, "A Recklessly Picaresque, Highly Philosophical, Gloriously Unmapped Road Trip in Search of Secret Places You'll Have to Find Yourself" (May), has inspired me to find a more deserving home for my worn and weathered footwear. I can't seem to throw away an exhausted pair of hiking boots or cross-trainers; the landfill doesn't seem a proper burial. A hanging shoe memorial is a more fitting end to items that bring months or years of comfort, keep me in shape, and take me to beautiful places inaccessible by other means.
BRYAN DI SALVATORE'S article about shoe trees reminded me that adventure doesn't just lie on the summit of a peak, far off in a distant land, or at the end of a trail, but around every bend. Thanks, Outside.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
ISN'T IT OBVIOUS that Victoria Bruce just saw an opportunity to cash in on the true scientific bravado of Stanley Williams and his book about the deadly eruption of Colombia's Galeras volcano ("When Scientists Attack," May)? Her photo is captioned "Danger Queen," but what danger did she face? Writer's block? Carpal tunnel? Fatigue from polishing the glasses that gave her 20/20 hindsight?
Virginia Beach, Virginia
MY HUSBAND, Mike Conway, is a Galeras survivor. I always felt Stan should have told us personally he made a mistake when he told the media he was the only one to get out alive, and I was glad he finally came clean. Thanks for Outside's look at his book and at Victoria Bruce's.
PATRICK SYMMES'S "Playground of the Gods" (Destinations, April) made me smile from ear to ear. I stayed at Kadir's Top Tree Houses, on Turkey's southern coast, in 1996. Besides the amazing Greek and Roman ruins there, the eternal flames, and the raki, Symmes could have mentioned a few other things. Like cliff diving off natural stone pillars a short swim from Olympos Beach. And the cave that's visible up and to the right as you head from Kadir's to the water. And Tuborg, the beer that keeps so many travelers warm at night.
Farmington, New Mexico
I ENJOYED your Aegean package very much. However, Bob Payne made one Homeric blunder. If one is in Mycenae, he is not at the citadel of Nestor, but of Agamemnon. To reach Nestor's palace, you must travel to the oppositewesterncoast of the Peloponnese, at Pylos.
To Your Health
I THOUGHT your article on recovery nutrition, "Ed Burke's Got a Rocket in His Pita Pocket" (Bodywork, May), was excellent. However, I can't believe you neglected to include the all-time greatest post- workout recovery drinkGuinness stout!
Owego, New York
The Ties that Bind