Mountains Are Forever

Visitors of my site know that mountains are my passion. What it is about these hunks of rock, snow and ice that attracts me is still somewhat of mystery. But this I know, being in the mountains makes me come alive. The sound of the winds in pine trees, silent snow falling on silent snow, the harsh reality of barren rock, the tundra eking out an existence at 14,000 feet. It is all real and dying.

Everyone has heard that humans are killing our planet Earth. The science is in and the debate is over. The only question of each of us is are we willing to change our destructive habits today to save the plants for our children and their's?

My goal with this section is to encourage each of us to change our behavior today. I will try to raise awareness of this crisis during my climbs. It will be with a new line of vision that I look at the Rockies, Himalayas, Andes and other ranges to see what has changed. I will be speaking with experts and trying to bring the realities of the changes to anyone interested with my firsthand reports.

Here are some recent first hand reports. An alarming comment from Dave Hahn on his Blog. He notes the thinning of the Khumbu glacier near Loboche as he is trekking to BC

"... we went out for a walk on the moraine of the great Khumbu glacier, kind of scary to see how much the glacier is thinning at this point, it seems to have thinned by a couple of hundred feet in some areas around here in pretty recent times."

This not only an esthetic issue but also one of survival for the Sherpa people in the Solo Khumbu region. The glacier melt feeds the rivers used for irrigation, drinking water and for hydroelectric generation plants.

Also Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia fame is quoted in an excellent interview. He says:

... personally have done a bunch of ice climbs around the world that no longer exist," said Yvon Chouinard, a renowned climber and surfer and founder of Patagonia, Inc., an outdoor clothing and gear company that champions the environment. I mean, I was aghast at the change

But for now, here are some ways we all all make a difference starting today:

Drive Smart!
A well-tuned car with properly inflated tires burns less gasoline—cutting pollution and saving you money at the pump. If you have two cars, drive the one with better gas mileage whenever possible. Better yet, skip the drive and take public transit, walk, or bicycle when you can.

Write your leaders now. Urge them to raise fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon.
Modern technology can make our cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas. It's the biggest single step we can take to curb global warming. The less gasoline we burn, the less CO2 we put into the air. Taking this step would also save nearly 4 million barrels of oil a day — more oil than we currently import from the Persian Gulf and could ever extract from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge combined. And by saving gas, you save nearly $2,000 at the pump over the life of your car.

Support clean, renewable energy.
Renewable energy solutions, such as wind and solar power, can reduce our reliance on coal-burning power plants, the largest source of global warming pollution in the United States. Call your local utility and sign up for renewable energy. If they don't offer it, ask them why not?

Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
Especially those that burn the longest each day. Compact fluorescents produce the same amount of light as normal bulbs, but use about a quarter of the electricity and last ten times as long. Each switch you make helps clean the air today, curb global warming, and save you money on your electricity bill.

Saving energy at home is good for the environment and for your wallet.
Start with caulking and weather-stripping on doorways and windows. Then adjust your thermostat and start saving. For each degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can cut your energy bills by 3 percent. Finally, ask your utility company to do a free energy audit of your home to show you how to save even more money.

Become a smart water consumer.
Install low-flow showerheads and faucets and you'll use half the water without decreasing performance. Then turn your hot water heater down to 120°F and see hot-water costs go down by as much as 50 percent.

Buy energy-efficient electronics and appliances.
Replacing an old refrigerator or an air conditioner with an energy-efficient model will save you money on your electricity bill and cut global warming pollution. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances or visit their website at to find the most energy-efficient products.

Plant a Tree, protect a forest.
Protecting forests is a big step on the road to curbing global warming. Trees "breathe in" carbon dioxide, but slash-and-burn farming practices, intensive livestock production, and logging have destroyed 90 percent of the native forests in the United States. And you can take action in your own backyard — planting shade trees around your house will absorb CO2, and slash your summer air-conditioning bills.

Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!
Producing new paper, glass, and metal products from recycled materials saves 70 to 90 percent of the energy and pollution, including CO2, that would result if the product came from virgin materials. Recycling a stack of newspapers only 4 feet high will save a good-sized tree. recycled products!

Mount a local campaign against global warming.
Educate your community about how it can cut global warming pollution. Support measures at the national, state, and local level that:

  • Make automobiles go further on a gallon of gas;
  • Accelerate the use of clean, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind;
  • Increase energy efficiency and conservation; and
  • Preserve forests around the world.

Much more to come but here are some excellent sites with more information

  2. Mountain Research Initiative