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Category Archives: October 2009

Greetings Friends,

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle is our local news paper for the Gallatin Valley and surrounding communities. This past summer I submitted a selection of Op Ed pieces to be considered as a columnist. Nice things happen and I earned the right and responsibility to be one of the three rotating Friday writers. The following is from my first column published on Friday the 23rd of October.

These articles will show up every three weeks. While not directly relating to climbing, adventure, the outdoors and nature they have a big picture view and hopefully will mean something to you. Thanks for reading.

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Education, Energy and the Environment
As I look to the east, with the sun welcoming a fine Montana morning, I realize how lucky we are. The mighty Missouri river originates in the peaks surrounding the Madison, Paradise and Gallatin valleys. We hunt, fish and play in these ranges, rejuvenating us for the work that supports our communities we so dearly cherish. Seldom is the person that doesn’t see how fortunate we are to live in this corner of our planet.
Part of being a citizen of Montana and the United States is knowing how we have shaped the current state of the world. We are the beacon for democracy, opportunity and knowledge. These three attributes have created a quality of life equal to none. With this privilege and right of citizenship comes responsibility.
One of life’s aims is to leave the world we inhabit a better place than when we inherited it. The generations preceding us have lived by this axiom and given us much to be grateful for. If we are make the world a better place there are three areas that we as citizens of Montana can make a difference.
These subjects are: education, energy and environment. These three topics are tied to our well-being and will define our future.

Education: The United States has been at the forefront of technology for over a century. Aviation, communications, nuclear physics, lunar exploration are four examples of our “can do” spirit and the worlds greatest collection of research based universities. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2008, 17 of the top 20 universities are in the United States. Montana State University receives research funding, which creates innovation, which in turn leads to commerce. The technology companies that support our communities with employee payroll and tax payments benefit from the university environment. To succeed as a university we need quality schools for our children. Our economic growth is dependant on having bright minds designing the future.

Energy: We are first in national coal reserves with 119 billion tons and fifth in annual production at 43 million tons. Coal is part of who we are as a state. Similarly, wind defines the Big Sky. A breeze over 5 MPH is an untapped source of energy. Our state is second in the nation with a potential 4700 terawatts of electricity. This is 3700 times what we currently consume. Yet both of these resources have their challenges. Coal is the largest source of CO2; wind is reliable only 40 % of the time and is limited by transmission capability. Hence energy circles back to education. Our children are the engineers and scientists that will find solutions to coal emissions, carbon sequestration and efficient energy use.

Environment: The mountains that we enjoy are the water towers for the Mississippi and the Columbia watersheds. Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and our communities. How the water is used is of vital importance to our well-being. Hydro electricity is a source of energy and loops back to the education equation. Our fair vale is on the verge of unacceptable levels of air pollution. If we address this before federal government mandates change we will be much better off.
These three topics are of national and regional importance. Our community is poised to be the leader by creating the next generation of scientists with our exemplary education system, addressing the needs of our national energy needs and fostering a healthy environment. By being part of the solution we will grant future generations the quality of life we cherish.

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Between the 1st of October and today I have been busy travelling around our fine nation. On the 1st of October I introduced James Balog in Salt Lake City for his Extreme Ice Survey. Great work about glaciers and their impact on the planet. They are disappearing! The following day I flew to Harvard for the Young Explorer Workshop with National Geographic. It is inspiring to meet students that are keen on the environment, science and the good mission of the Society. “To Inspire people to care about the planet.” Very simple and meaningful. I co-presented the Chang Tang Traverse with Tim Laman, a PhD rain forest biologist who pecializes in the Brids of Paradise and how rapidly the birds have evolved in the past 5 million years. Check out his website at http://www.timlaman.com > lots of wonderful images.

Blue-Bird-of-Paradise

After Boston I zipped home to be with the family on the 5th of october, the 10th anniversary of Alex Lowe’s passing. He and David Bridges were killed on the 5th of October 1999. It is amazing that 10 years have passed since that date and how much our life has changed. Most special to be with Jenni, Max, Sam & Isaac and to keep their dream of a happy family alive and healthy.

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This image is from the fall of ’96 when the two of us tried to climb the SW Ridge of Annapurna III. Wonderful memories.

On Tuesday the team from National Geographic Entertainment convened for a meeting at the Satchi & Satchi advertising agency in Los Angeles. We are hoping to build Toyota into The Wildest Dream film. The film is a bio pic about the life of George Mallory and the pioneering English climbers. The film is due out early 2010. Stay tuned to my notes and I’ll keep ypou infrmed on how things progress. The Nat Geo Entertainment division is distributing the film – in theatres and large screen cinemas.

Wednesday was in San Francisco for a screening of the film with The North Face team. I think they enjoyed the film. Thursday was off to Cleveland, OH to meet the team at Energizer. I use their Premium Lithium Batteries (the silver units). Aside from the cute bunny they make the best cold weather lightweight battery. We met to brainstorm on energy needs for expeditions. Great people!

images

Over the weekend it was off to Big Oak Flat, California to spend the weekend with my parents and siblings. It was the grand opening of the Priest Station Cafe. My sister Denise and brother Steve have done an excellent job getting it up and going. After a 36 year hiatus we are getting things going at the Top of the Grade. If you are driving to Yosemite, make sure you “Stop at the Top” and say hello.
We are the 5th generation to be part of this special place.

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The cute girl with the braids is my late grandmother Marge and the lady next to the horse is my great-grandmother. They lived “off the grid” as there was no grid.

Sam and Isaac joined me for this fun event. We went for a hike at Rainbow Falls – nary a soul about, fall colors and just the three of us. Getting outdoors like this is wonderful.

Lastly, props to my friends at Timex. Keeping time is part and parcel of travel. None does it better than my handy WS 4 Expedition watch.

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anker_rad

Lastly – a bit of cross continental humor. Rad is my nickname, it also means bike in German. Anker is anchor in German. My friend Tim in Switzerland sent me this image. If I could get a Rad frame and build a fixed gear urban cross town mobility unit ~ how sweet

would

that

be 🙂

Stay tuned to the bat channel,

~conrad

It is 5:30 AM PST and I’m about to board a jet to go to Cleveland. Having never been to this fine city I am quite excited to check it out,

First off is a layover in Denver. Nothing all to newsworthy…. just a little note.

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Thinking of Alex….. ten years since he passed away. Thanks for the inspiration!

jimmy & Conrad
Jimmy is on a ski expediton in China. Hope things are going well.