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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Nov 142022
Opinion: The Changing World of Climbing News

Does anyone care that Jane and John Smithe became the first couple from rural Northland to summit Mount Impossible?

The comments posted on my blog show a declining interest in today’s climbing world and the highest level of disdain I’ve seen in covering the climbing world since 1999. And it appears that even the general media world is adjusting. Long-time climbing publications have sold to the lowest bidder. As a result, they are transitioning from print to online publications that feature captivating stories like “The Best Biodegradable Bag for your Poop” or the “Top 10 Ways to Wear Socks.”

Climbing forums have plenty of pithy comments citing fast food restaurants on the summits, paved trails, and men (and women) in kilts (and stilts) doing the ordinary. And, of course, a fan favorite, “Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory,” where the author thinks they invented the saying (apologies to Mr. Viesturs.) Everyone is a comedian, it appears, even me.

This summer, a reporter researching an Everest story asked me to “explain the difficulty and significance of Barney being number 646th American to summit Everest.” I politely explained that even the magazines sold at a grocery store checkout lane wouldn’t cover it.

So what’s going on?

Dec 232021
Doing Hard Things

As we enter 2022, I believe most of us have great hopes for a better year, a safer one. Perhaps one with less divisiveness across tightly entrenched groups. But, to accomplish a safe and more inclusive environment, it will take all of us to do hard things, large and small.

Sep 062021
Climbing As You Grow Older

I recently turned 65. Yeah, I know! But before you stop reading, this is a tale for the young and, well, the not-so-young. The question is, “When do you stop climbing?”

Does age even matter in climbing? Yuichiro Miura and Tamae Watanabe hold the Everest age records at 80 and 78 for males and females, respectively. Bill Burke began his quest of the Seven Summits at age 60 and got his second summit of Everest at age 72. And Art Muri recently made Everest at 75. Then there are the 13-year-old Everest summiteers Jordan Romero and Malavath Poorna. And let’s not leave out eight-year-old Roxy Getter on Kilimanjaro, not that I think that’s a great idea. By the way, the sweet spot to summit Everest, and most 8000ers, is age 35.

I started climbing at age 38, kind of a late bloomer in the climbing world. I never lived out of my car, was never in the “dirt-bagger,” club or did anything other than work. But then I discovered climbing. Mont Blanc was my first respectable climb. Much to the disgust of my French guide, I didn’t even know how to attach the strap-on Camp crampons that I had just bought in Chamonix. He scoffed, sighed, said something I didn’t understand in French that I’m pretty sure wasn’t a compliment as he strapped them onto my new climbing boots. So yea, I was a novice who didn’t know what I didn’t know and didn’t even know what to ask. But I loved the day, fell in love with climbing, and got my first of several summits on this historic Hill.

Apr 052021
The Next Everest by Jim Davidson: A Book Review

The regular readers of my blog and social media don’t need an introduction to Jim Davidson. We met in 2001 and have been great friends and climbing partners almost ever since. I consider him a mentor who has taught me a lot about ice and rock climbing, general mountaineering, and life. Recently I had the opportunity to review his new book, “The Next Everest.” Oh my, what a read.

Jan 062021
Opinion: A New Day in America

My Opinion: A few do not represent America; it’s a country of many. Today, a few performed an attack on the institutions of the American government. They failed. Driven by the demented suggestions of the current President, they justified their actions in the name of democracy yet lacked the aptitude to understand the very definition of how democracy works. Yes, I know the frustration; I don’t understand violence. When I lived in Europe, The Netherlands, and Switzerland for five years in the latter half of the 1990s, I came to appreciate different government systems and the US system’s strengths and continue reading

Dec 312019
Thank You & Welcome to 2020!

Happy New Decade to all. Thank you so much for your loyalty and support not only in 2019, but since I started my website back in 1999. I also want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported my Alzheimer’s Advocacy in any way over the last decade. My heartfelt gratitude. We have shared a lot over the years, from my climbs on Everest, and K2 to Ecuador and Bolivia this year. Also during my annual reporting on the Everest climbing season, and now most of the other 8000ers year-round. I appreciate your ongoing thoughtful comments and questions, as well as continue reading

Aug 162019
10 Years after Ida's Death

Ten years ago on August 16, 2009, Ida Arnette died from Alzheimer’s disease. Hard to believe it was a decade ago. As I try to do each year on this anniversary, I climb Mt. Ida at 12889′ in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, a perfect peak to honor Ida. The Long Goodbye With an average life expectancy after diagnosis of eight to 10 years, Alzheimer’s disease has been called “the long goodbye.” Unlike other terminal diseases, when a person with Alzheimer’s dies all of their personalities traits, tendencies and abilities have disappeared. It was in 2003 when Ida began to show the earliest signs that continue reading

Gifts for the 2018 Climber in your Life

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Nov 202018
Gifts for the 2018 Climber in your Life

Looking for that perfect gift for your climber (or yourself) ? Hopefully this update for Holiday 2018 season’s annual post will give you some ideas based on my own personal experience. You don’t have to spend a lot to make your climber happy! I always try to buy local to keep the sales tax in my city and support my local retails but there are good deals online at: Sierra Trading Post – lowest prices on first, seconds and closeouts Steep and Cheap – Incredible deals that last only a few minutes REI Outlet – deals on already great prices Backcountry continue reading

Sep 182018
Back to Nepal for Alzheimer's

My passion is climbing and my life’s purpose is as an Alzheimer’s Advocate. In that spirit, I’m excited to share this announcement with my friends, supporters, and followers that I’m returning to Nepal in October 2018 for the 12th time. I will be climbing again and raising money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research with the highest probability of preventing, slowing or reversing Alzheimer’s disease through venture-based philanthropy. I’ve worked with them since 2008. This will be a personal milestone for me as well. On February 10, 2017, while training for the 8000-meter peak Dhaulagiri, continue reading

Mar 032018
Broken Leg Update: Ready to Jump (again)

Nina Patterson my physical therapist, has been a crucial part of my “progress” plan for many months. Usually, I limped into her office with a short list of areas with too much “feedback.” Sometimes, she simply said “Alan, your injury is severe and you need to be patient.” And others “You need to push to make progress.” But she always worked on realigning muscles, ligaments and other adjustments that solved the issue, proof being the areas became silent and remain that way today. This week, I walked in and said “Nina, I got nothing.” She smiled knowing that in the continue reading