Kongeriket Norge (The Kingdom of Norway)

Many years ago this blogger, on one of her various Europe trips, found herself in the middle of a Norwegian fjord crossing from a large ferry to a small boat via a shaky gangplank. Our group was intent on reaching a remote town at the back of a fjord to celebrate Sankthansaften, or Midsummer’s Eve, as only the locals were able. We reached our diminutive destination, threw wood on the big bonfire invoking Baldr to remain, drank local brew and polka’d through the long twilit night. I chuckle even now as I recount the memories – and I never told anyone I couldn’t swim.

Norway is one of those countries that often goes unnoticed in European trip planning. It’s most recent claim to fame was the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer. Yet it’s one of the most strikingly beautiful countries in northern Europe from mountainous fjordlands down to the genetic makeup of a very handsome race of Scandinavians. We can thank Norway for Edward Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Leif Ericson, stave churches, lutefisk, Telemark skiing, and thousands of untouched waterfall ice climbs.

We may not be able to invoke Baldr yet, but we are invoking you to join the Mountaineering Museum for the next sPEAKer series event, Hiking in Norway. On Wednesday, June 2nd, Lori Russell plans to offer a visual feast of slides designed to tempt hikers of all ages and abilities. Granitic mountains rise sometimes almost a mile from North Atlantic shores, and Noregr hospitality and traditions are as strong as ever.

As usual, the program begins at 7 PM in the Foss Auditorium. Admission to the Museum is included in the ticket price and will be open from 5:30. CMC/AAC members pay $3, non-members $5, and it’s all free to members of the Museum or the AAC Library.

Glad Stier!


The Flattery of Imitation

In the weeks since Bradford the Cat made his way into the Museum family, we’ve been constantly delighted by his antics. He’s doing everything kittens are supposed to do, including chewing hands and fingers, puffing up and prancing like the tuff guy he is, and chowing down as toddlers in growth mode do. Every day brings out a new development in his personality and skills. He now leaps onto chairs and tables, hurls himself at his toys with great alacrity, and purrs with a volume more consistent with an animal much larger than he.

At home, Bradford has two older half-siblings. Diablo, the female, doesn’t like anyone so there’s no expectation she’ll ever do anything but growl at the tyke. Mr. Bill, though, is increasingly curious and is modifying his hisses down to nose touches and random reaches from behind the scratching post. Billy Boy is a big brown polydactyl tabby, all 16 lean pounds of him, and a friend refers to him as The Throw Rug.

When the two boys are in proximity Little B becomes still, almost reverential, as he watches Big B. It’s as if he’s studying the elder cat’s movements and style and unconsciously letting Alpha male mentor him. When he does become too rambunctious, Mr. Bill delivers a quick hiss and a swat to remind his little ward his manners. It is Feline Flattery at its best.

In April we inducted four giants of mountaineering into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. We are surrounded in this mountaineering family by such modern greats and are constantly reminded of the skills, motivation, and philosophies that make people like Edurne Pasaban, Arlene Blum, Oh Eun-Sun, Conrad Anker, Ed Viesturs, and Reinhold Messner great. And while we may feel our accomplishments miniscule by comparison, we maintain the vision of possibility in our own minds by imitating the best qualities of those we admire.

It’s good to have someone good to look up to, in this the Year of Making Dreams Come True, someone who inspires us not only with their mountaineering accomplishments but their sensibility. If we do something careless we imagine an appropriate smack-down. On the contrary, if we make a smart choice or exceed our personal best, we can revel in the mentoring we are humble enough to accept and the behaviors we wisely copy.

It is apparently so, that imitation is the sincerest form of cattery.


Golden Bike Shop Rocks!

Huge thank you to the Golden Bike Shop for their fundraiser last night benefiting the Co Mountain Bike Association, Co Trail Foundation and the Mountaineering Museum. They packed the house with great gear, bikes, frames and an awesome crowd! UpSlope Beer provided some great brew along with New Belgium! After the expo in the museum we all went up to Foss Auditorium for giveaways and to watch Ant Hill Film's FOLLOW ME. An action packed film showing great mountain biking and terrain. Here are some pictures from last night!


20th Anniversary of 1990 Everest-Lhotse Expedition

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the American Everest-Lhotse expedition led by Glenn Porzak. This was Glenn’s 3rd attempt at summiting having been shut down by weather in 1981 and 1989. Glenn and members from the team assembled at the American Mountaineering Museum last night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this expedition. Team members include Glenn Porzak, Dana Coffield, Brent Manning, Wally Berg, Scott Fischer, Michael Browning, Peter Athens, Andrew Lapkass, Ron Crotzer, Dr. Charles Jones, Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Nima Tashi Sherpa and Dawa Nuru Sherpa. Berg and Fischer successfully summited Lhotse on May 13th being the first Americans to summit and securing the team as the first to climb two 8,000 peaks in the same expedition. Below is an interview with Glenn Porzak recounting his summit day on Everest.


Sistuhs, Gal Pals, and the Whole Gender Thing

The mountains are an equal opportunity environment. They don’t care if you’re chocolate or vanilla, travel on foot or with wheels, have an innie or an outie.

Sometimes, though, the mountaineering community needs a little nudge of a reminder. Not so long ago women were refused a place on expeditions and even denied endorsements simply because they were women. Then there were those who thought a woman’s place was in the sleeping bag of every male expeditioner…

There were and are heroic women out there who blazed through all the challenges and defined a prominent place and equal opportunity for the gentler sex. Wanda Rutkiewicz, Ines Papert, Anna Dickinson, Junko Tabei, Arlene Blum…the list is growing every day.

Given the American Mountaineering Museum is also an equal opportunity environment, we’ve declared May Women’s Month at the Museum and Base Camp Store. So, sistuhs, grab a gal-pal and head to 710 10th St to enjoy two-fer prices on Museum admission and events. The entire month of May is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of female mountaineers, past, present, and future.

One of this blogger’s personal heroines is Arlene Blum. In 1978 Arlene gathered the first all-woman’s expedition not only to successfully summit Annapurna, but also the first American expedition to do so. To cover expedition costs, her designer came up with the t-shirt that rocked the establishment. A Woman’s Place is on Top sold 15,000 tops and raised $80,000. Arlene, being the gracious woman she is, has allowed Base Camp store the unique opportunity to sell her t-shirt. In turn, we are donating a portion of the proceeds back to Arlene’s Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, CA. When you’re done in the Museum, help Arlene continue her research to protect our kids and our health.

And while we’re on the subject of accomplishments, Mother’s Day is just around the bend. Moms of the World, the Museum admission is free to you on May 9th. We celebrate your summits of a different kind and certainly no less significant.

Finally, we want to thank Outdoor Divas for their support and encouragement of our thematic month. They’re about the finest bunch of gals to promote women’s outdoor activities: Teal Tini May 4th in support of ovarian cancer awareness, B-Fit Vitality workout May 12th, Women’s Road Ride clinic May 26th, Women’s Rock-out events…it’s all there.

Boys, you’re still welcome at the Museum and events throughout May. But please, no cussin’ or spittin’. Remember, you’ll be outnumbered.