Those of us who enjoy recreating in wild and scenic places have a duty to be good stewards of the land and to protect it for future generations to enjoy. I spent the past weekend at #RumbleX, a gathering of athletes, biologists, tribal leaders and environmentalists, camping and exploring in the proposed Greater #GrandCanyonHeritage National Monument area. It was "activism for preserving movement" and I learned so much more about why we need to protect and connect habitats for wildlife and people to coexist and thrive. I urge you to learn more and support this movement – go to the link in my profile or www.greatergrandcanyon.org!Huge thanks to @grandcanyonheritage for bringing us together. Photo: @joce_taylor

Denver folks! Join me this Tues, Sept. 27 from 6-9 at the @patagoniadenver store for National Voter Registration Day! I'll be there discussing why this is our generation's most important election, and together, we'll enjoy food, drink and live music! You can also take home this limited edition poster. Hope to see you there. Link to more info in profile or below: https://m.facebook.com/events/1040992106021852/#dropinandvote @protectourwinters #voteourplanet

Bring on the snow and cold. I couldn't be more delighted for the change of seasons. Photo: looking off the edge of Mt. Rundle in the Canadian Rockies. @rob.lea

I love my home mountains so much. Yesterday, @rob.lea and I enjoyed a long day traversing up the Cottonwood Ridge from the S. Ridge of Superior to the Salt Lake Twin Peaks. It covers a lot of technical terrain and was perfect training for our upcoming trip to New Zealand!! #skiaoraki16 Photo: @rob.lea

Just booked tickets for a big ski mountaineering adventure so it's time to ramp up the training! Here's a quick killer core routine- lock off and touch knees to elbows ten times! #bigmtndreams #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

That moment in between fear and excitement while doing this tension traverse a couple hundred feet off the deck. I had the best day climbing Arm and Hammer with @jonathon.spitzer and @rob.lea – seriously one of my favorite routes in the Wasatch! #bigmtndreams #splitterofmydreams

Utah folks – not sure what you're doing tonight but I'll be at the @utavy fundraiser party! Come hang out, enjoy some dinner, raffle and drinks for a good cause! Because friends that skin together, stick together. Link to event info in profile. https://utahavalanchecenter.org/event/23rd-annual-black-diamond-fall-fundraiser-party-1

First snow of the season in the Wasatch mtns today has me thinking about this! Who else is stoked for winter? #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport photo: @acpictures

This was @liz_daley. She was a talented splitboarder and mountain guide with an uncanny sense of humor. She died two years ago in an avalanche in Patagonia. Help us build a climbing wall in Liz's memory! With your $25 donation, you'll be entered to win a custom splitboard set including a super exclusive Liz pro model Karakoram binding! Do it now. Link below and in profile. http://www.lizrocks.com/lizdaleybinding/@lizrockscampaign #akgirls_way #bigmtndreams

As our steep face climb turned into an off-width, I began to regret my choice of wardrobe this morning (shorts), and longed for some long pants to protect my knees from the harsh granite. Guess I'll be wearing some scratches and bruises for the rest of the week instead. Thanks for a fine day on the rock (and for snapping this pic) @jonathon.spitzer! So stoked for #sendtember

#tbt to reaching the 5530m/18,143' summit of Ishinca in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. This photo pretty much sums up high altitude ski mountaineering- it's not all smiling summit selfies (although I have those too). This trip was a huge step for me – it was one of the first international ski mountaineering expeditions that I planned and led. It was also my first return to the Andes after my close friend, @liz_daley perished there nine months earlier. I had to confront many demons on this trip. When I got home, I was physically and emotionally drained. I didn't feel the trip was a success, despite the fact that we climbed and skied from the summits of three monster peaks. It's only now, over a year later, that I can begin to celebrate what we accomplished. Ski alpinism is a funny game. After losing so many friends to the mountains, I begin to question everything. Why do I want to do this? Am I setting a bad example? What's the end game? When will I be satisfied? It's easy to have #bigmtndreams, it's a lot harder to find a healthy balance between risk and reward. Between living on the edge and staying far away from there. Dreaming, planning, training, climbing and skiing are the easy parts, the most difficult is having the courage to walk away when the circumstances aren't quite right. #peruski15 photo: @rob.lea

Stoked to feel the chill of autumn in the air! #bigmtndreams #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

"It is easier in the wild to feel awe in the presence of a force greater than ourselves, though hard to explain to someone who has never felt the power of the wild why it is so essential to life. Anyone who has felt that power has no quarrel with a deep, lively impulse to preserve it." Words: Vincent Stanley, Ch. 1 of @patagoniabooks "Tools for Grassroots Activists"Photo: @rob.lea

Just because you're small, it doesn't mean you're not strong! (Lessons I'm trying to teach my nephew through climbing and outdoor adventures).Spending time with family this weekend lifted my saddened spirits (especially chasing around my two adorable nephews). It's hard not to smile around a little dude like this. Grateful for the Gleich gang this Labor Day weekend. Hope everyone else had fun times with friends and fam.Thanks for the @sgleich

I didn't know Scott and Kyle personally, but their lives and stories ignited a spark for me and many others that will never die. With sadness and a heavy heart, I'm sharing the following update on the search. My heart goes out to all their friends and families: This update is for Saturday, September 3rd and is provided in order to keep everyone informed of the efforts being made to locate Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson. NOTE: All dates and times referenced are for Pakistan Standard Time. Early on Saturday, September 3rd, two Pakistani military helicopters left Skardu in clear weather. They landed at basecamp on the Choktoi Glacier and picked up climber Thomas Huber (Austria) who would assist as an observer/spotter. An exhaustive and close-proximity initial search of the north face of the Ogre 2 (where Kyle and Scott were last seen on August 22), the northeast ridge (their planned descent route), and the glacial basin between the Ogre 2 and Ogre 1, yielded no sign of the pair. After refueling, the two helicopters made a second sweep of all sides of the mountain, from an even higher altitude, and again found no sign of Kyle and Scott. In light of those extensive yet unsuccessful efforts, the search team and knowledgeable observers in Pakistan, the US, and Europe, assessed that there remained a very slim chance that any evidence of their passage would be revealed in subsequent sweeps of the mountain. Given the time that has elapsed and the nearly continuous stormy weather since they were last seen, and the substantial risks that such high-altitude missions entail, Kyle and Scott’s families have made the extremely difficult decision to end the search efforts. We owe a huge amount of gratitude to the Pakistan government for scrambling all of their available assets and their commitment to finding Scott and Kyle. Their support, and that of Global Rescue, has been invaluable. Additionally Kyle and Scott’s families are deeply grateful for the assistance provided by the Pakistan Embassy in Switzerland the US Embassy in Pakistan, and nume

Saturday Farmer's Market steeze. All stocked up on fresh fruit and veggie goodness for the week. Love my new @yeti hopper flip 12! Thanks for the @brittgold2

Glacial silt facial with @meg_haywoodsullivan. I was skeptical, but she insisted it would be good for our complexions. As soon as I started applying the mask, I agreed. The cool mud soothed my skin under the hot afternoon sun high in the Sierras. #DeathOfAGlacier Hope you have plans to get dirty this weekend!

Good morning from Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT. It always hurts to get out of bed for sunrise, but I never regret it once I'm there. We couldn't have asked for a better one today, either! #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

Hoping for a safe return for Kyle Dempster and @adamsonalpinist. These Utah alpinists are overdue from their return of climbing the north face of Pakistan's Ogre II. A gofundme page has been established to help cover the costs of search and rescue- link below and in profile. My heart is with their friends, family and everyone else whose lives they've touched. My stomach has been in knots about this all day. Photo courtesy of Scott's Instagram. https://www.gofundme.com/2mjv38k

High alpine camp. My vision for experiencing the mountains involves being in a place of quiet and solitude and being isolated in a rugged environment. As we turned off the trail and started up the steep talus, we left all the people behind. I loved the feeling that it was just me and my partner @meg_haywoodsullivan en route to the Lyell Glacier. #deathofaglacier @natgeoadventure

Soaking up every last bit of summer. After @meg_haywoodsullivan and I got our overnight permits from the @yosemitenps station, we had a long walk with heavy packs full of camera gear to our first camp, in the heat of the afternoon. A few miles in, I couldn't resist taking a dip in the watering hole. Our goal was to visit the Lyell glacier and tell a story about climate change, but the creeks along the way are inextricably linked to our mission. According to the USGS, glaciers store about 69% of the world's freshwater- what's happening to our glaciers is significant not just to adventurers but to people all around the world. #DeathOfAGlacier #yosemite photo: @meg_haywoodsullivan

I'm fortunate to have so much quality gear. The crux is deciding what you need to take vs. what you want to take. Decision time in the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot with @meg_haywoodsullivan. #DeathOfAGlacier #yosemite

Back to civilization after three nights in @yosemitenps, retracing the steps of John Muir to Lyell Glacier with @meg_haywoodsullivan. What a way to celebrate the #nps100, high up in the alpine in #Yosemite, where it all began. #DeathOfAGlacier

"If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. … This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future."-Terry Tempest Williams This shot in Glacier National Park concludes the @nationalparkservice mini series. Now get out there and #findyourpark to celebrate the #nps100!

100 years of preserving some of America's most beautiful places. Happy Birthday @nps! Thank you to all the employees of the national parks that keep the parks clean and pristine! @nps mini-series #nps100 #findyourpark : @rob.lea

Zion's Virgin River at sunset. The light didn't pop quite like we wanted, but it was breath-taking nonetheless. I'm so happy to live in such a beautiful state with five national parks. Don't forget, park entrance is free August 25-28! @nps mini-series #nps100 #findyourpark

Zion National Park is special to me. It's in my backyard in Utah. I loved seeing Kolob Canyon under rainy skies. #nps100 mini-series. #findyourpark @nps

This spring, we went from the highest point in the lower 48 to the lowest point in North America in Death Valley. We spent the next day doing sightseeing around the park. The landscape felt otherworldly. @nps centennial mini-series #findyourpark #nps100 photo: @rob.lea

This week, I'm heading into the backcountry of Yosemite to retrace John Muirs footsteps, visit a dying glacier (#DeathOfAGlacier) and tell a story about climate change with @meg_haywoodsullivan. It's a special time to be here because it's the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service! To celebrate, I'll be doing a mini series of pictures from the National Parks I've visited this year. First up, overlooking Yosemite high up on Tenaya Peak. #nps100 #findyourpark @nps

Road biking bliss. Learning to embrace the challenge when things get hard, like when your ride is longer than you expected, when you have a gnarly headwind or endless hills. Leaving my bike behind for this week's adventure but I'll be looking forward to getting back on the saddle when I'm home! And taking that mindset with me. #iamspecialized @iamspecialized_wmn Photo: @rob.lea

It's funny how we get to know people on social media without actually meeting them. We follow a little tribe that we relate to- and they start to feel close (but not in a creepy way). Had the privilege of sharing a rope with @pfaff_anna today. Despite the fact that it was our first time climbing together, I found a kindred spirit that shares similar #bigmtndreams. And we had so much fun cragging in AF! photo: @rob.lea

I get so inspired seeing how other mountain athletes are pushing the limits of their sport. @travisrice just dropped the trailer for his new film, #thefourthphase, and it's getting me stoked for snow! Check out thefourthphase.com (link also in profile) to view. @inkwell.media @rbmhfilms @bryaniguchi photo: Tim Zimmerman

Sometimes the beauty of a place is so overwhelming, I get desensitized to it and I don't realize how special it was until I've had some time and distance away from it. Such is the case with my ski mountaineering trip to the Cordillera Blanca last year. I came home exhausted and disappointed, unable to see past my perceived failure. Time has helped me see more clearly. Thanks @stellaa_lunaa for helping me uncover some gems from #peruski15. Photo: @rob.lea #bigmtndreams

In my happy place, climbing the North Ridge of Mt. Timpanogos. This weekend's outing was a good reminder that you don't need to go to a far away mountain range to have a sufferfest. Part of the reason I'm so joyful in this picture is because the most heinous, thorn-ridden bushwhacking is behind me and there are miles and miles of ridge running bliss ahead. #bigmtndreams photo: @rob.lea

Back in my natural habitat. Utah summers have me feeling like a polar bear searching for sea ice. Found some relief this weekend on the snowfield on Mt. Timpanogos, while doing a big ridge traverse. More on that to come! #saveourseaice photo: @rob.lea

Looking forward to a big day in the mountains tomorrow, and I hope you all have fun weekend adventures too! @lekiusa @jaybirdsport #poweryourpassion

Throwing it back to one of my favorite all time photos (and ski lines): descending into the abyss of the Jalovec Couloir, Slovenia. I can't wait to go back to winter! Photo: @jaybeyerimaging #tbt #bigmtndreams

Rock climbers rejoice! "A Granite Guide" is on the way. This new guidebook contains 1677 routes in 648 color pages covering Utah's finest granite (most of it a stones throw from Salt Lake City). Whether you live here or not, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy! The book is available for pre-order now via the link below or in my profile: http://www.pullpublishing.com/books-1/Photo @andrew_burr #agraniteguide @pullphoto

Rode my bike to a meeting with @senwhitehouse and key players from the Utah snowsports industry to talk about how climate change is affecting us and what we are doing about it. (Managed to tame the helmet hair enough to enter the boardroom). We discussed some of the effects of climate change we are already seeing (lower snow totals, more snow falling as rain, increased avalanches) and the economic impacts, and how we can prepare for the future and encourage other businesses to enter the conversation. Senator Whitehouse will incorporate his experience from this Utah road trip into one of his weekly "Time to Wake Up" climate speeches that he gives to the Senate. I applaud his leadership efforts on this and want to give a shoutout to all the business representatives and individuals that showed up to today's meeting (including Nathan Rafferty from @skiutah, Bryn Carey @skibutlers, Ed Lewis @snocru, Onno Wieringa and Maura Olivos @altaskiarea and fellow athlete @brodyleven). The momentum continues to grow. #ActOnClimate @protectourwinters

Inspired by watching all the athletes in the Olympics, especially #maraabbott in women's cycling! I don't know that much about competitive cycling, but she's a champion in my eyes, and I channeled her energy on the steep ride up Empire Pass this morning! #iamspecialized @iamspecialized_wmn #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport Photo: @acpictures

Is it fleece season yet? So excited to wear my @patagonia synchilla fleece poncho!

One of the greatest compliments I've ever received is when @brooke.froelich and I were mistaken for sisters. Stoked to catch up with more of our extended outdoor family at the OR show this week! Photo: @rob.lea

Stoked to welcome the outdoor industry to Salt Lake City this week! The @outdoorretailer show is one of my favorite times of the year. It's so fun to connect with friends and colleagues. Hope everyone that's here is able to get into the mountains, and lets connect if you're at the show! Photo: @rob.lea #orshow

The edge. I don't want to live there all the time, but sometimes it's hard to resist taking a peak to see the view off the other side. #bigmtndreamsMt. Athabasca, Canadian Rockies photo: @rob.lea

Putting my head down and trying to think cool thoughts. It's the 7th straight day of over 100 degree heat in Salt Lake City. I'm a cold weather gal. I grew up experiencing -40 degree windchill winters in the frozen lowlands of the Midwest. Heat provides an added mental challenge for me when I'm training in the mountains. Hiking up to Hidden Peak today with @rob.lea

Good morning from @sundanceresort. I love starting my day with a bike ride, especially through an aspen grove like this. #iamspecialized @iamspecialized_wmn Photo: @rob.lea

I'm adapting to a warming climate by learning how to alpine climb, since many big mountain ski lines around the world are quickly becoming rock routes. Training for alpinism gives me versatility- I can still summit the mountains of my dreams even if there's not enough snow to ski them (I plan to bring alpine climbing boots and ski boots on future trips). how are you preparing for a warming planet? #bigmtndreams #bugaboobootcamp Photo: @rob.lea

I love seeing puppies, food videos and scenic landscapes in my newsfeed, but I also like information that challenges my point of view. Our world is rapidly changing. Hot button topics are fueling a passionate divide between groups in America and the rest of the world. I'm concerned that social media is contributing to this polarization of humanity. I urge you to seek out opinions and media that you don't "like," that might make you uncomfortable, and delve into those topics too. Read more on my most recent blog post: http://www.carolinegleich.com/reflections-from-a-year-of-activism/ (link also in profile)

Reflections from a year of Activism

 

 

 

Over the past year, I’ve devoted more time to attending meetings and hearings on various environmental issues ranging from regional haze in Utah’s national parks, to the BLM’s coal leasing process, to the proposed national monument in the Bear’s Ears area of southeastern Utah. I’ve learned so much from attending these, but perhaps the best takeaway is the importance of hearing the opposition. It’s easy to feel headstrong and committed to your values on the importance of wilderness when you are in your own little bubble, but seeing people in rural Utah whose lives depend on coal mining and hearing their perspectives gives you empathy in the environmental battle. Likewise, it’s an opportunity for you to share your point of view with them. Confronting opposing views isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – to step into the belly of the beast with patience and hope instead of fear. Being on the front lines of these battles can be terrifying, until you understand we’re all there trying to preserve a way of life we’ve grown up with and we know and love.

Angel Collinson and Caroline Gleich at BLM Coal Program Public Meeting

See all those yellow shirts in the background? That’s the coal industry.

One of the biggest things I’ve seen happening in the world is that people aren’t taking the time to seek out dissenting opinions. Debates are becoming increasingly black and white. Hot button topics are fueling a passionate divide between groups in America and the rest of the world. We see issues as an “us against them” fight, rather than an opportunity to look an issue from a different perspective. Even if we don’t agree with the opposition, we still need to treat those with viewpoints with respect and empathy. And if we take the time to truly listen, there’s so much we can learn. I truly believe that together, we are stronger. Instead of having clear cut positions, there can be a spectrum of values – layers of grey in the normally black and white lines that are being cut.

Pro Coal PostersPro Coal PosterKeep it in the ground posters

The way we are getting our news is further polarizing us. Instead of reading newspapers, we’re getting it through apps. Those apps are streamlining the experience into what they think we will “like” to get us to stay on their sites longer. It makes sense that we get more of what we like. But it doesn’t progress us as humans. I think it’s setting us back. I listened to a really interested Freakeconomics podcast about the current state of the internet where they said, “Facebook shows us what they think we’ll like vs what might actually be important. The best computer scientists are working to keep you on Facebook for ten minutes longer. Most people’s feeds are dominated by happy news.” BTW, I highly recommend subscribing to Freakeconomics podcast. This post is in no way supported or endorsed by them, I just thoroughly enjoy listening to it, and I learn so much every time I do.

I love puppies, food videos and beautiful scenery just as much as the next person, but I also like to be challenged. I like to see and read things that make me think about something in the world differently. I urge you to seek out opinions and media that you don’t “like,” that might make you uncomfortable, and to delve into those topics too.

It’s just like the environmental hearings. If we can get inside the hearts and minds of people with opposing viewpoints, we’ll have a better chance of creating solutions that improve everyone’s lives. When we make assumptions about the way a person is, we lose an opportunity to ask them to tell their story.

At the coal hearing about reforming the BLM’s process for leasing public lands for coal mining, the room was filled with pro fossil fuel industry folks and coal workers. I ended up striking up a conversation with two of them, Mike and Brendan. They were from rural towns near Price, UT. Coal mining is all they’ve ever known. It’s the only job that is available. Mike told me he would work as a solar installer tomorrow if he could find work doing it. After I talked to them, I saw it as less of an “us vs. them,” battle, and instead as a battle of trying to preserve our jobs and the livelihood we’ve come to know. We both are going to have to make transitions – as the climate warms up, I’m going to have to become more versatile in my career. Snow is no longer something we can depend on, and I’m adapting by learning how to alpine climb, so I can still summit the mountains of my dreams even if they aren’t skiable. I’ll still be fighting for legislation that will curb fossil fuel emissions, to try and keep our planet from warming more, but I’m going to have to adapt. They too are going to have to adapt to a changing world as coal is being phased out. If we can talk about these transitions together, and prepare, it will make it much easier for both of us. And that was what our conversation was about. It’s a lot easier when you can brace yourself for an uncertain future and make preparations then when the rug is pulled out from under you. Having that conversation with Mike and Brandon that day really opened my eyes to how we can create win-win situations all around.

My coal miner buddies

New friends in strange places.

I had a similar experience at the Bear’s Ears meeting in Bluff, UT. We had to start lining up to get a seat inside the meeting building hours in advance (in triple digit degree heat!). Next to our group of environmentalists and outdoor industry folks in line was a group of men and women from Blanding, UT, who had taken Protect Bears Ears shirts from the tribes and put an X through them. I tried to talk to them to see if we could find common ground. Often, starting up the conversation with these folks is the hardest part. It’s a lot easier to stand next to each other in line, awkwardly not saying anything and having no interaction. We had a civil conversation. We were polite and respectful – sharing stories about what we did for living and the kinds of experiences we grew up with. I learned more about the intricacies of the issue. I didn’t change my position, but it challenged my way of thinking about it, and that’s the crux of all of this. We have to force ourselves to confront dissenting viewpoints. And we have to try to avoid making stereotypes about groups, because that harms everyone. It’s not just environmentalists vs. natural resource extractors. We’re climbers and campers and skiers and hikers and mountain bikers and tribes and non-profits, moms, dads, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, ATVers, hunters, gatherers, gravel extractors, archaeologists, anthropologists, mountain guides, miners, developers – all with interests to protect and people to support.

Kitty Calhoun, Caroline Gleich and Ron Hunter at Bears Ears Meeting
Kitty Calhoun, me and Ron Hunter from Patagonia a the Bears Ears hearing.
Protect Bears Ears
Rob Lea and me at the Bears Ears Hearing. I’m so appreciative when my friends join me for these events!

 

Our world is rapidly changing. The way we access our news, the way we access the wilderness, how we power our grid – the only certainty is change. But how we react to change and deal with crises will define us. I urge us to seek out opposing viewpoints in the news and the information we consume, to be brave in a time of uncertainty, to understand our values and have a commitment to them, but also to seek opportunities to find common ground with our adversaries and acknowledge them. We all want to be heard and acknowledged. And whether you are on the winning side or the losing side, to keep hope for the vision of the future we want to create.

Bears Ears
Early morning light over the Valley of the Gods

 

Here’s the other thing I’ve learned

We need more environmentalists and outdoor recreationalists joining these conversations, showing up to the meetings and getting involved in these efforts. The thing is, the oil and gas industries spend so much money lobbying, if we don’t show up, you can almost guarantee they are the only ones who are making their voices heard. Their industry is incredibly well-organized, and they have tons of experience being effective lobbyists. We have to keep pushing ourselves to organize and execute strategic campaigns. I hope you’ll join me at the next hearing, or contribute comments or write an op-ed to support the next campaign.

Bears Ears
Brooke Froelich and I enjoying the scenic vistas the Bears Ears area is famous for.

 

Ski mountaineers are climbers too. Thanks @rockandicemag for featuring me in the recent article. Link in profile or http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-news/caroline-gleich-world-famous-ski-mountaineer-is-a-trad-addict