Museum features artwork by plein air artist Joe Arnold

Through July 15th, the American Mountaineering Museum will exhibit five breathtaking mountaintop paintings by Wyoming artist Joe Arnold.

Spanning over 6 feet wide, these large-scale pastel and oil panoramas portray the grandeur of each scene, several of which were inspired by Wyoming’s Teton Range. Arnold’s “Upper Saddle View, the Grand Teton” (pictured below) and “Above Middle Teton Glacier” paintings, both measuring 4.5 feet by 6 feet, will frame the Museum’s mezzanine entrance.

As an avid rock and mountain climber, Arnold has used his passion for heights to capture some of the most unique and dramatic landscapes. His many high altitude paintings have earned him a reputation as the "plein air artist of thin air." Arnold uses pastel studies and photographs from his trips as a reference for the larger oils, which are completed in his studio.

The artwork will be on display six days a week during regular Museum hours. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children under 12 and $3 for all American Alpine Club and Colorado Mountain Club members.

The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is located at 710 10th Street in downtown Golden.

If you would like to be considered for an upcoming art, photography or informational exhibit, send an email to info@mountaineeringmuseum.org.


2011 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Gala

The 2011 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Gala on April 9, 2011 was a sold out success! We raised over $15,000 for the Museum's programs, exhibits and educational outreach.

Visit our online album to see pictures from the event:
2011 Gala Photo Album

Five American mountaineers were inducted and more than $15,000 was raised at the the 2011 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Gala on April 9, 2011. This annual event, hosted by the American Mountaineering Museum, honors individuals who have excelled both on and off the mountain.

This year's Gala celebrated the lives and achievements of Tom Hornbein & Willi Unsoeld of the legendary West Ridge ascent of Everest in 1963; rock climbing pioneer and prolific author, Royal Robbins; leader of "manless climbing," Miriam Underhill; and the unofficial world-record holder for first ascents, Fred Beckey. These five mountaineers joined the 2010 inductees -- Yvon Chouinard, Robert Craig, Robert Bates and Dr. Charles Houston -- in the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence.

Thank you to our title sponsor, Eddie Bauer's First Ascent, and the following organizations who lent their support: Silver Oak Cellars, MillerCoors, Gourmet Fine Catering, Colorado Party Rentals, Alphagraphics, The Golden Hotel, Applejack, the Josh Filley Trio, and Haertlingawards.com.

The 2012 Gala date will be announced late summer. To add your name to our Early Invite list, please send an email to info@mountaineeringmuseum.com with your name and mailing address.


Jesse Crock & Thirsty 3rd Thursday

We are thrilled to announce a new art exhibit at the American Mountaineering Museum, featuring artist Jesse Crock.

Jesse is a Colorado based artist with a love for climbing and the outdoors. His acrylic paintings encompass the lifestyles of the outdoor community with the use of strong, vibrant colors and bold lines. Jesse is an art teacher and finds that he often connects his work with the playfulness of his students and is inspired by the energy they bring to the classroom.

As an outdoor enthusiast, he loves to bring the viewer's eye to places that are not often painted. He attempts to abstract the subject and background so that they become interwoven together and reflect the bond the subject and environment share.

His work has been commissioned for the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival and for the Moonlight Classic Bike Festival in Denver. You can also find his art featured in Rock and Ice Magazine for the Festival, Mountain Flyer Magazine, and Climbing Magazine for their 2009 Gear Guide. (www.jessecrockart.com)

Check out Jesse's art at this month's Thirsty 3rd Thursday, February 17th at 5:30pm. Enjoy $2 brews, live music and giveaways, along with free admission to the museum. This Thirsty 3rd Thursday will also celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of the American Mountaineering Museum, which opened on February 16th, 2008.

We are thrilled to have Jesse's eye-catching work on display. Drop by and check it out for yourself. And if you fall in love with a piece (which you probably will), all pieces are for sale and a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Museum.

Visit www.mountaineeringmuseum.org for up-to-date information on hours, events, and exhibits.


The Categorical Ten

Another peak experience by Martha Perantoni

I read with dismay another rescue of another ill-prepared hiker on another 14er last week. A party of hikers headed up Quandary, beginning at 11 AM, and while the majority of the party decided not to continue beyond a certain point, one young man went on ahead to the summit. Descending into nighttime, his headlamp ran out of battery power. When he didn’t make a timely trailhead return to meet his friends, they dialed 911 and a rescue was called out.

Okay, what glaring mistake did this fellow make that would have prevented the need for a night rescue?

a) Forgot the marshmallows to roast over the campfire
b) Didn’t chill the PBR long enough
c) Neglected to bring spare batteries
d) Left his campfire songbook back at the truck

Anyone answer anything other than C? D’oh! Do you think this fellow was carrying his Ten Essentials? Not likely.

The Ten Essentials are part of the hiker’s bible. They provide safety gear suggestions from the experienced to the inexperienced and are meant to be taken seriously, particularly here in our Colorado extremes. There are as many compilations of the Ten Essentials as there are compilers. In my experience as a year-round solo backcountry enthusiast, I’ve come up with the following categories to flesh out the list’s intentions and I call them the Categorical Ten in order to expand the list. Trust me: it’ll take the worry out of human-powered travel.

1. Map & compass
Bring a GPS if you want but never leave home without a quad and Suunto.
2. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat
Avoid snow blindness, a Rudolph red nose, and keep all the heat from escaping out of the top of your head. Hats also keep you cooler in the blazing alpine sun.
3. Extra food and water and a water purification system
Focus on lightweight carbs and those packable gooey maltodextrin squeeze jobs. Ask Mark Twight – one of those an hour will keep your energy level going. Dehydration is a huge factor in alpine hiking and a little filter, SteriPEN, or Potable Aqua iodine tablets could keep you fleshed out.
4. Extra clothes and a bivy sack
We’re not talking Texas Gore-Tex, here – at least one extra wicking base layer, a waterproof shell if you’re not already wearing one, extra dry socks, gloves, and hat. Toss in a space blanket or pick up one of Adventure Medical Kit’s drawstring bivy’s. Extremities are the first to succumb to frostbite – keep your feet warm and at least you’re able to walk yourself out.
5. Headlamp and EXTRA BATTERIES!
Get a lamp with strobe capabilities and it’ll help rescuers locate you more easily. Toss in an extra bulb or two as well. Leave the handheld flashlight at home. If you’re in a position where you need both hands and one of them is engaged hanging on to a flashlight, that’s not stacking the odds in your favor.
6. First aid kit
You decide how elaborate it needs to be. Mine is pared down to assorted bandages and gauze pads, alcohol swabs, an ace bandage, surgical tape, NSAIDs, a multi-tool, insect repellant, blister packs and a tube of Body Rub. I can use one of my trekking poles if I need a splint. If an injury needs more than this or I can’t crawl my way of a situation I’m probably going to need a rescue anyway.
7. Fire starter
Make it a stove. I carry an Esbit solid fuel stove – lightweight, compact, and it’ll melt water as effortlessly as any of the small canister stoves. Once that’s lit it will also help light a wood fire. Might not roast the rabbit as well…
8. Matches and lighter
Bring both. In fact, bring two lighters and a bunch of matches in a waterproof container. Lighters don’t always work at altitude and in sub-zero conditions.
9. Signaling device
No, your cell phone isn’t always going to get a signal – besides, that’s cheating. Bring several options – a whistle, a mirror, and a flare.
10. Toilet paper and trowel and Ziploc bag
This has been left off the Ten Essentials for too long and backcountry waste management has become a huge problem. Dig your poo deep, don’t do anything within 100 feet of a water source, and if you need the TP to start a fire, you’ve got it handy in your Ziploc. That nauseates you? Try building a campsite on someone else’s toilet. Ladies, you know those signs in public bathrooms about not flushing your personals? Why would you leave them in the backcountry?

And I have a personal #11 that’s a must – that thing between your ears?

Don’t leave home without it.


Love Your Mother

Another peak experience by Martha Perantoni

Painting "The Earth is My Mother" by Bev Doolittle

Right before the mid-term election, the Denver Post ran a straw poll on their online daily front page. The question posed was “how important to you feel environmental issues are in the upcoming election?”

The majority of respondents said “not important at all.”

I was shocked at the response. We live in one of the most beautiful states in North America, yet apparently residents either take it for granted, or don’t take it at all.

I know the economy, unemployment, foreclosures, health care issues run at the forefront of everyone’s mind. I understand – it affects me the same as every other working stiff out there. But without clean air, clean water, proper toxic waste disposal, reduce/reuse/recycle sustainability, and just a beautiful place to clear our brains and souls, all those other issues will be moot. We won’t be around to complain.

The Colorado Environmental Film Festival, running today, November 4th, through November 6th, is a great source of inspiration for viewers and environmentalists. Featuring Play Again, a film about the consequences of a childhood removed from nature, and joined by more than 40 other green-driven films, the Festival brings to our doorstep the saddening truths of the current environmental malaise and issues at hand.

In addition enjoy celebrations, networking, openings, après-film, workshops, and the juried photography show at the American Mountaineering Center and environs. And on Saturday, clean out all those old electronics to enjoy mostly free recycling Saturday from 11 AM – 2 PM in the parking lot behind the AMC.

It all starts tonight with an opening party at the American Mountaineering Museum from 5-6 PM and the first films showing in the Foss beginning at 7 PM. Friday screenings run from 11AM – 11 PM and Saturday from 11 AM – 9 PM.

Love your mother – live and play wisely. It all starts right here, right now, with you.


Christmas is Come Early This Year

Another peak experience by Martha Perantoni

I’d heard the fall color in Grand County had exploded last weekend, so I grabbed a friend and her son and his fiancé and we headed up to Tabernash and on to Junco Lake Trailhead, intent on reaching Columbine Lake.

True, the aspen trees were luminous yellow and some were even tipped with an unusual bittersweet orange. True, there were significant colorful groves that warranted making the journey from the Front Range.

True, also, the pine beetle has ravaged the remainder of the forests, each tree a sad addition to the brown citadel. At least that which remains – clear-cutting has left the rolling hills looking like a bald man’s hair on a bad day.

We grew silent as we turned onto Meadow Creek Road and found ourselves in an alleyway of devastation. We couldn’t hit the trail soon enough and began to wind our way closer and closer to timberline.

Something looked strange along the trail, though. In spite of the towering dead trees, there were countless young pine, some only a foot or two high, some over six feet, that were green, healthy, and pushing their way up through the quietus. Closer in by the waterfall and before heading up the moraine, the branch tips on the trees revealed the bluish-green of new growth. Every tree had it, looking as if to explode with enthusiasm.

Instead, I felt to explode with arbor ardor. Here I’ve been bemoaning the death of Colorado’s forests when all this time, underneath the canopy, they’ve been silently restoring and repairing themselves. I had no idea.

I paused in front of one particularly beautiful young pine. My friend saw my face and stopped. “Christmas Tree?” she asked. I smiled and shook my head “yes. Not to cut, but to celebrate.”

It’s comforting to know that the forests will abide – they’ll repair, regrow, have their literal rebirth. I’m hopeful that this turnabout will be permanent, that the new trees will be a strain resistant to the pine beetle, and that our forests will rejuvenate to the lush, wind-in-the-pines life they had less than a decade ago.

So, before the snow flies, revel in our new growth. Go celebrate Christmas.


Il Neige!

Another peak experience by Martha Perantoni

A couple of nights ago I was driving west on 72 as it approaches 93. The clouds were louring and it rained sporadically from Westminster on down. Then something changed – the sounds on the windshield turned to a patter and, as I looked more closely, it was clear I was watching snow fall. Not much, no accumulation, but it was definitely snow.

The precipitation was confirmed next morning when I awoke to see a fairy dusting of the stuff on the Continental Divide. Further spelunking through Dick Gilbert’s webcams proved it.

It snowed in them thar hills.

For people like me who prefer their water frozen, this is the news we wait for all season long. Time to start getting ready – wax the skis and skins, sharpen the crampons and axes, put fresh Lithium batteries in the beacon.

And time to share the love. The annual Bent Gate Ski Season Kickoff Party 2010 is prepared to do just that on Thursday, September 30th starting at 6 PM at the American Mountaineering Museum. Silent auction, raffle, backcountry clinics, vendor booths, fashion show, and world premier of The Freeheel Life 2 are all included in admission price.

Okay, so the movie is a production of Telemark Skier Magazine and features the tele timeline but Randonée enthusiasts, like me, are invited, too. Hey, it’s still freeheelin’.

Proceeds from the event benefit the American Mountaineering Museum, Friends of Berthoud Pass, and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Rack up your backcountry karma points before heading out, eh?

Bien alors, faire le neige!