Sierra Club

Thank you Sierra Club.

Last week we received in the mail a certificate of appreciation from the Sierra Club. It was recognizing us for five years of membership. 

As I sit here looking at my backpack ready to embark on a 165 mile hike around Lake Tahoe I realize it is I who should be thanking the Sierra Club. I can honestly say the club changed my life. It wasn't through a political campaign or environmental initiative, but through the love and passion for the outdoors. Amazing volunteers sharing their knowledge of the outdoors, educating others how to safely travel through the backcountry as part of the outings program, Sierra Club Outdoors. It was these volunteers, now my friends and mentors, who have and continue to inspire my passion for the outdoors. 

"Connecting people to nature benefiting both".  Sierra Club Outdoors 


Hiking for Good in Hollywood

A last minute head's up to join a friend for a hike last Tuesday turned into a lovely afternoon. While at Outdoor Retailer, a couple of weeks ago, a friend, and Director of Sierra Club Outdoors, Stacy Bare said he was might be doing a hike to the Hollywood Sign. Despite being born in Hollywood and living in Southern California for a couple of decades, I have never done this hike. So I figured what better excuse than a friend coming in from out of town to head into the Hollywood Hills.


Realizing that I had not actually asked what day the hike was going to happen, a quick email exchange cleared up that the meet-up point was at the top of Beechwood Canyon/Sunset Ranch @ 1pm. Paul, Betty and I met up with some Stacy, some Sierra Club volunteers, veterans, and actress, Brooklyn Decker. We were a small but merry band with Betty embarking on her first hike! This is a family-friendly & pet-on-leash-friendly hike with the best views of the sign being from a mid-way point below it. Once you get to the top there is a chain link fence preventing you from getting to the actual sign and you have a view of the back of the sign. Round trip the hike is 3-4 miles and all fire roads.

You may not believe me, but until I Googled her after the hike, I had no idea who Brooklyn was.  During the hike we learned about her volunteer work with the military and veterans, and that she is going to be helping bring awareness to getting youth outdoors as an Ambassador for Sierra Club Outdoors! It was great to form an opinion of someone based on actually getting to know them a little and not have a pre-conceived idea of what they might be like based on their celebrity. Always inspiring to meet someone using their influence for good and supporting a great organization like Sierra Club Outdoors!

The Sierra Club Outdoors is something we believe strongly in. We are instructors for the Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) which is part of Sierra Club Outdoors, as well as volunteers for the Advanced Mountaineering Program (AMP). We are also on the path to become rated Sierra Club trip leaders to bring others into the wilderness. How can we expect people to want to save our natural places if they have never experienced them? Last night at our first WTC class a friend described WTC as "a gateway drug" to the outdoors, we all laughed but it is true. We are teaching outdoor skills that give people the confidence to go out and enjoy nature…. and maybe even bring friends and inspire others…. and so on and so on. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could become addicted to nature.

So here is my shameless plug to check out Sierra Club Outdoors. They have tons of programs and events focused on getting people outdoors!


CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE, BENEFITING BOTHSierra Club Outdoors reaches across economic lines, cultures, and communities, to engage all Americans -- including military and youth -- to explore and enjoy the natural world.

For more info on Brooklyn's involvement with Sierra Club Outdoors, click here!

Sierra Club Rock Checkout & Getting on the Sharp End

This spring we went out to Alabama Hills near the foot of Mt.Whitney and took part in the Sierra Club Rock Checkout, as with all of the Sierra Club LTC (Leadership Training Course) requirements that we have undertaken this year we learned a lot, got to show off our own skills, and met some really cool people. Saveria and I both received our M Rock rating and I got to practice some E Rock skills with great instructors and get some valuable experience. Alabama Hills is a spot you can't miss as it is passed on your way to the Whitney Portal. We passed it ourselves earlier this year on our way to the Mountaineers Route in April. For the first time we got out and played a bit on the rocks saying to each other it would be fun to come back and climb here, a few months later we were back ready to climb.

I got to drive out early with a couple of our mentors, Patrick and Dan, to get an extra climbing day, little did I know a special moment was hours away. There are some fun sports climbs in the Alabama Hills area and we went over to a wall that had a good progression of grades so Patrick and I started climbing and we worked over to a 2 pitch 5.6, Patrick lead up to the first set of anchors and set up a top rope for me. I climbed the fun friction route and I felt pretty strong. When I got down Patrick asked if I wanted to lead it, I looked at him and said yes, yes I do. I gathered my quick draws and Patrick pulled down the rope and I tied in to the Sharp End. I started up and a whole new world opened up, I climbed to the end of the first pitch and clipped the chains. I came down to high fives from some people I really admired which was fantastic I tried to call Bob right away, but he was on another trip. That was the start of the weekend.

The following days were full of a lot of great experiences and great people. Over the two days days we had to show knowledge of a number of climbing related skills and proficiency in using them. Upon demonstrating our ability to perform and use the various skills safely we passed the checkout. We are on our way to our official Sierra Club leader's ratings which feels great!

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Merry Go Round Restaruant, Lone Pine, CA

The surprise of the weekend was discovering great Chinese food in Lone Pine at Merry- Go-Round! The owners went above and beyond to accommodate our large group without reservations even asking other patrons to switch tables so we could all sit together. The food was tasty and a welcome change to pizza or burgers... the normal Lone Pine options.

Norman our Alpinist Dog

As part of our ongoing training for the Forbidden Peak trip we were spending a lot of time in the local mountains. Norman had done so well in Bishop that we took the boy with us on one of our training hikes. He made it all the way to the ski hut on the trail up to Baldy, 2500' of gain in 2.5 miles. We were very proud parents and enjoyed passing a number of very surprised hikers.  

Because he is a Bulldog we are limited in what adventures he can partake in due to the risk of him overheating due to his smooshy face. This weekend we enjoyed a Norman paced weekend making sure our couch was still nap worthy and catching up with friends.

Staying Found With the Sierra Club

We joined the Sierra Club for some navigation practice this weekend. Our class started at the La Canada Carpool point. We loaded our cars up and headed to Eaton Saddle in the Angeles National Forest. The started the hike here and we made our way to Mt. Lowe. There was one instructor per 2-3 students. No map and compass experience was needed to take the class. We were divided into groups based on experience. Then the instructors had us do various exercises to work on our map and compass nav skills.

The class was extremely valuable and was a great way to refresh our skills. Next up our nav check off!

TRAIL SHOUT OUT: We want to give a shout out to new friends. The amazing instructors who volunteer their time to teach others-Diane, Richard and Robert in particular, Cheri our carpool mate and Jeff my navigating partner in crime.[gallery type="slideshow" ids="641,642,643,644,645,646,647,648,649,650,651,652,653"]

Day 1 of Wilderness First Aid

As part of our quest to become rated leaders in the Sierra Club we have to take a Wilderness First Aid class. We are taking a 3 day course with Only getting 4 hours of sleep made for a rough morning of class. Check in was 7am and we class started promptly at 8am and finished at 9pm. Breaking only for food which was AMAZING thanks to a uber talented kitchen staff!!!

I'm hoping my brain does not explode before info to be with soooo much info.






Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course Snow Camp - 2013

After 10 weeks of weekly classes and 3 weekend trips our WTC class was ready to tackle snow camping. Our final trip of the class is a 3 day - 2 night trip in the Eastern Sierras. This year we were at Rock Creek which is between Bishop and Mammoth. Everyone did an amazing job. Spirits stayed high as we hiked at elevation with heavy winter packs. Everyone was well prepared and managed to stay warm through the weekend. We were able to practice our snow travel and navigation skills and enjoy the beautiful weather. It was really an honor to get to know this wonderful group of people. Enjoy the pics!

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