MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 2015 shorts, part 2

This is Part 2 of a recap of the shorts shown at MountainFilm in Mill Valley in mid September.   Shorts varied in length from under 2 minutes to 29 minutes and featured people and their endeavors on mountains, in the surf and much in between.  Some films featured nature, others contoured a human’s spirit.  The group was a subset of the shorts screened in Telluride at the MountainFilm Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and you can find a comprehensive list of those films here.

Mill Valley is a mountain biking nexus and bicycle themed shorts were abundant:

Ashes to Agassiz, 2 minute trailer for a film about an aggressive bike rider.

Beat Down – A couple of millennials tearing up Utah while on bikes.  Viewer discretion advised.  3.5 min.

Dark Woods BMX – In a forest, 3 min. of acrobatic bicycling.

Eddie Masters Gets Fat  5 min. slapstick featuring a fat bike and a “fat” rider.

Taxco Urban Downhill – In Mexico, a bicyclist with a helmet mounted GoPro descends on a varied and interesting urban route.  4 min.

The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon to Patagonia*-  This 4 min. short may be a healthy nudge to take on something new.

Similar but different from the preceding are shorts involving “wheels other than bicycle:”

James Kelly – Burn it Down  A Petaluma native skateboards in the Sierra Nevada.  Scenic and all downhill.  4 min.

No Ordinary Passenger*.  A senior citizen and sidecar champion conveys his skill & love

"Do what you love..."

Demo of “flow” from No Ordinary Passenger

of sidecar motorcycle riding.  An unusual endeavor, historic footage, and a compelling protagonist make this quite outstanding and one you’ll remember.  7 min. and none too long.




Water flowing downhill is a fertile framework for human activity and MountainFilm doesn’t disappoint:

Drainage Ditch Kayak – made possible by GoPro, has had 1.8 million views on YouTube.  The title is a giveaway, 3 min.

A Line in the Sand – Animated, colorful, straightforward and a short 2.5 min.  Animated

From A Line in the Sand

From A Line in the Sand

films have a lot of unrealized potential to influence and be for good, and this film is an example.  By the Grand Canyon Trust.


River of Eden is on a beautiful Fijian river and its place in life.  5 minutes.  More at

When the mountains reach the sea we have the coast:

The Coast, both scenic and thoughtful, is 6 minutes of therapy, courtesy of the ocean.

The Fisherman’s Son, 29 min.  Born and raised at Punta de Lobos, Chile, Ramón Navarro found his passion riding the biggest waves on the planet. But his accomplishments in giant surf are just one part of a bigger vision to protect the culture and environment of the Chilean coast.  By Patagonia and quite good.

Strange Rumblings (Iceland part) 4 minutes of Iceland and surfing.

In Iceland...

In Iceland…

The Right’s centerpiece is a big wave in Western Australia.  2 minutes of beautiful nature and man challenged.

Finally, we have the hard to categorize Moonwalk.   With a rising moon in the

There's Dean Potter pushing the envelope

There’s Dean Potter pushing the envelope

background, recently deceased adventurer Dean Potter tightropes between a couple of rocks.  Feels a bit contrived but well done and interesting nonetheless. 4 min.

Over the past decade or so, the proliferation of devices and software to “catch the moment” has led to an explosion in the quantity and quality of geo-based shorts.  Those noted above are worth a look as are others mentioned elsewhere on this website and accessible from

Over the past few years Mountainfilm has advanced rapidly and its touring program now includes  150 or sites around the world.  Since Banff Mountain Film Fest’s traveling program now involves over 600 sites, the growth and reach of these festivals make it clear there is significant audience demand for what they’re offering, film programming that is geo-based which almost always features a human actor, protagonist, or story.

*asterisks denote those especially recommended

Posted in Outdoors, Books & Films, Film Festivals | Leave a comment

MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 2015 shorts, part 1

Each MountainFilm in Mill Valley program had a feature film along with at least two short films; over the 9 film programs, more than 30 shorts were shown.  Shorts varied in length from under 2 minutes to 29 minutes and featured people and their endeavors on mountains, the surf and much in between.  All films featured the environment to some degree, some emphasized the contours of a human’s spirit.  The group was a subset of the shorts screened in Telluride at the MountainFilm Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and you can find a comprehensive list of those films here.

It should be obvious I really enjoy and appreciate the types of shorts shown at geography based film festivals such as Mountainfilm, Banff Mountain FFSan Francisco Int’l Ocean FF, etc.  So, below I’ve listed a selection of those screened at MountainFilm Mill Valley with links to make it easy for them to be seen by more folks including you.  Those I found especially worthy are denoted with an asterisk (*).  Since films mentioned have gone through 3 filters – Mountainfilm itself, Mill Valley, and myself – they will be,  hopefully, worth some of your time.

Kicking things off, Opening Night’s feature, Unbranded, was accompanied by two very different shorts, the humorous Nature RX (1.5 min) and the heartwarming Denali*, a

Denali and his guardian, Ben

Denali and his guardian, Ben

moving 8 minute autobiographical-like tribute by and to man’s best friend.


As one of Wally’s two very fond guardians, and as some readers may justifiably surmise, Denali struck quite a cord with me.

Below and in a forthcoming post on Mill Valley’s shorts, I cluster a selection of the films in a way that may help the reader zero in on subjects of interest.

Starting up on the mountains, our first group of films involve SKIING:

Said to be hailed by some as one of the “most cinematically profound ski movies ever made,”  Afterglow – Lightsuit Segment* is certainly a fresh, unusual take on downhill.  Filmed at night at Alaska’s Alyeska resort, it was a crowd favorite at Mountainfilm and has 10,000+ likes at Vimeo.  I hope you see for  yourself.  3 minutes.

Ruapehu, 9 min.  Culture & history on the North Island New Zealand along with scenes and skiing.

Sundog* is 5 minutes of Argentinian mountains, man, and a dog.  Very well done and not at all redundant with Denali.


Of course there were shorts on CLIMBING:

The Black Binder*, 7.  Analogous to Monet’s many treatments of the same subject such as haystacks and water lilies, Josh takes different routes on his climbs up a wall in Black Canyon.  One of my favorites.

The Force highlights of one adventuresome spirit’s 10 years in Patagonia climbing and experiencing the place.  By Patagonia, 18 min.

Seele Aus Stein (Soul of Stone), 6.  A senior lifelong climber reflects.  Subtitled.

The forthcoming post, MountainFilm Mill Valley 2015, Part 2, will cover shorts on wheeled adventures and those centered on water, both fresh and salt.


Posted in Outdoors, Books & Films, Film Festivals | Leave a comment

MountainFilm in Mill Valley – 5 Feature Film Microreviews

Last weekend Mill Valley, CA’s wonderful Throckmorton Theatre joint ventured with Telluride’s excellent MountainFilm festival to screen 9 programs of stimulating outdoors films.  This was the 4th annual “MountainFilm in Mill Valley” and the most successful to date, with most programs sold out and filled to capacity.  In the endeavor, Throckmorton Theatre joined the other 150 or so venues around the world that are participants in MountainFilm’s traveling program.

MountainFilm’s presence was impressive with David Holbrook, MountainFilm’s Festival Director, and Henry Lystad, Touring Program Director on the scene and tag-teaming on the emceeing.  I attended 5 of the programs and herein offer capsule reviews of several of the films.

Friday evening’s feature film, Unbranded, is both an adventure story as well as an introductory, evenhanded commentary on wild horses in the U.S. West.  There are now 50,000 wild horses in U.S. government holding facilities awaiting adoption along with thousands more the wild. Those in the wild compete for grassland with livestock ranchers, a background theme.   The main storyline is of 4 buddies from Texas A & M who adopted, trained, and rode wild horses on a 3000 mile trail ride through the West’s always  scenic terrain from Mexico to Canada.

From Mexico to Canada, this appears to be in Wyoming with the Grand Teton in the background.

From Mexico to Canada, this appears to be in Wyoming with the Grand Teton in the background.

From the program notes: “What ensues is an epic adventure of self-discovery, friendship, and gorgeous landscapes…”  The film’s producer, Dennis Aig, was in attendance and provided lucid and insightful comments.

Saturday’s early afternoon program featured Les Voyageurs Sans Trace, otherwise known as the French Kayak Film.  This very nice film is based on the first known decent (1938) of the Green and Colorado Rivers by 3 young Parisians.  Much of that trip was captured on color film, a fairly new technology.   That historic footage is interspersed with footage from a more recent decent by the filmmaker, Ian McCluskey, and well selected talking heads to tell an interesting adventure/exploration story.  Well filmed, well edited, and a good story make for a paragon of independent filmmaking on a modest budget.  The filmmaker did insightful Q&A from his office in Portland by Skype and he’s one who I’m sure will gain additional respect and recognition from this and his future films.

The late Saturday afternoon program featured Higher, a bio of big mountain snowboarding pioneer Jeremy Jones.  Although many ski and snowboarding films are long on eye candy but short on substance, that doesn’t apply here.  Using archival footage, this film traced Jones from his youth on to his current, responsible role  as a husband and father of 2 in Truckee.  With judiciously selected comments by those

Award winner, deservedly so.

Award winner, deservedly so.

who know him well, footage of some his pioneering runs such as the Grand Teton, and spectacular footage of recent descents in Alaska and the Himalyas, this film kept one’s attention.  A most interesting person and a very good film that is at the summit of its genre.


Saturday evening’s feature was Racing Extinction, directed by Louie Psihoyous.  I had high hopes for this film as I’d seen its promotional trailer in, of all places, an Orange County movie theater.  And I knew its director  did a film I think really highly of, The Cove, which was awarded the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010.  However, Racing Extinction  disappointed me (and others).  It ran through a far too extensive compendium of environmental problems without much in the way of suggested solutions.  To me the film was disjointed, jumping from one problem in one location to another problem in a distant location.  I believe the filmmaker was sincerely trying to inspire action, but at the end I felt adrift.  What to make of all this and what to do now?  Not much in the way of suggestions.  Mr. Psihoyus was in attendance and joined Mr. Holbrook for a nicely done Q & A session.  They were eventually joined by NASCAR race car driver (!), Leilani Munter who, with a sleek Tesla automobile specially outfitted with complicated equipment to project large images on large buildings at night, was a rather strange appendage to the end of the film.  After Q & A and upon exiting the building, patrons received a festival bonus, a closeup of the Tesla itself, which was projecting on a building across the street (until batteries ran down) along with a well informed docent.

Sunday early afternoon featured Down to Nothing which told the story of a 5 person team attempting to summit an obscure Burmese peak.  This film didn’t do much for me either, although it was well filmed and edited with the support of National Geographic.  The storyline seemed forced and the team members had a faint air of entitlement.  Contrasting their complaints about nature’s conditions and their dwindling food supply (due to their own poor trip planning) with the locals’ modest lifestyles, what I was seeing just didn’t seem right.

Sunday evening’s feature was Meru, named after a formidable peak in India.  (I didn’t attend this screening because I’d seen the film at the Kabuki in San Francisco.)  The storyline is of 3 climbers and their – obsession is as good a word as any – with summiting this most difficult, previously unclimbed peak.

Route taken to Meru's summit (!). Courtesy of

Route taken to Meru’s summit (!). Courtesy of

They tried in 2007 but were turned back a few hundred feet short.  They then individually endured some serious physical mishaps and were discouraged by their families to attempt Meru again.  Undeterred, in 2011 they made another effort and, after a strong dose of mountaineers’ customary hardships and suffering, were successful at summiting and were the first ever to do so.  Stunning scenery and footage, interesting and world class  climbers, and the articulate and well informed Jon Krakauer providing commentary all combine to make this film well worth seeing.

Posted in Outdoors, Terrestrial, Books & Films, Film Festivals | Leave a comment

East Coast, Oct 2014 (continued) – Princeton, Baltimore, Washington

The main reason we were on the East coast was the 50th reunion of Princeton’s 1964 undefeated football team, on which I played.  So on day 4 we caught a bus at Port Authority that took us right to Princeton’s Palmer Square, which is the location of the wonderful Nassau Inn, our home for 2 nights.

The 1964 team had a GREAT reunion, thanks to the ideas and efforts of a small reunion team which included my Berea High School classmate and Princeton star, Ron Landeck.  Turnout was awesome with a very high percentage of teammates returning along with coaches, trainers, and managers.   In many cases it was 5 decades since teammates had been in contact, so it was very special to be able to renew friendships, catch up at least a little and relive some of those moments.

Friday evening the reunion featured an unforgettable reception and dinner, which itself was made totally awesome by short, thoughtful talks by teammates, former coaches, and the University President.  Saturday morning was a meeting of teammates to remember and reflect on those 8 (now 9) teammates no longer with us.

Then it was on to Princeton Stadium for that afternoon’s game (lopsided win by Harvard).  Afterwards, next door at the new version of Frick Chemistry Lab, we had a social hour which included ’64-’66 classmates, leaving time for more socializing in town with friends.

After 50 years it was so rewarding to reunite with guys who were teammates for a great season and who went on to different careers all over the world, in many cases to be seen rarely if at all except, possibly, at Princeton’s world class reunions.

Sunday morning, with the Princeton “Dinky” train station in the middle of being relocated and not in operation, we took a cab to the nearby Princeton Junction train station and caught Amtrak to Philadelphia, where we changed trains for a stop in Baltimore to visit with our dear friend, John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium.

This was a major, major highlight of our trip – John met us upon our entry and hosted a 3 hour tour of the Aquarium, in front of and behind scenes, as well as a most pleasant social hour overlooking Baltimore harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

In the construction zone of a new Aquarium exhibit with John R.

In the construction zone of a new Aquarium exhibit with John R.

We hadn’t seen John for about 3 years – he’d been working in the Bay Area with renowned ocean explorer and spokesperson, Sylvia Earle, but gave that up and moved his family to Baltimore to take what is turning out to be a dream job.  John and I had many one to one conversations over the years, as well as swims, and I am so happy he and the Aquarium connected when the top position opened up, since they’re perfect for each other.

After our visit with John, my wife and I reunited with Amtrak for the quick trip to Union Station in Washington.  As most readers know, D.C. has an incredible selection of world

The Lone Sailor of the impressive Navy Memorial

The Lone Sailor of the impressive Navy Memorial

class public spaces and museums.

Lobby of the National Postal Museum

Lobby of the National Postal Museum











We were especially glad to discover the under publicized and under appreciated Smithsonian National Postal Museum, which traces postal services from before our country’s founding.  At the museum we were Very Fortunate to connect with an extraordinary exhibit, Alphabetilately.  It was created 10 or so years ago by several Bay Area stamp collectors and 26 Bay Area graphics arts shops and merits, I believe, a more permanent home.

Panorama of a portion of the Alphabetilately exhibit, extended to October 15, 2015

Panorama of a portion of the Alphabetilately exhibit, extended to October 15, 2015

After being tourists for a couple days in D.C. with plenty of walking and $1 bus rides, we made our way (by the Metro of course) to Dulles and then United to SFO.

When thinking about your next holiday, consider international destinations but don’t overlook the U.S.!


Posted in Princeton, Schools & Colleges, Museums | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

East Coast, Oct 2014 – New York City

Although this blog is intended to be more than a travelogue, some of the more interesting subjects in my life over the last few years (to me at least) and on which my comments may be of some interest or value to you are related to travel.

So…..last October my wife & I had several most memorable days on the East Coast.  We flew from SFO into Newark and gamely used public transportation to get around:   the bus into New York City for 3 nights there, another bus down to Princeton for 2 nights, Amtrak to Baltimore and on to Washington, then the Metro out to Dulles for our return to SFO.

In New York City we stayed in the Chelsea district – we hadn’t previously spent any time in

Chelsea's attractive Maritime Hotel - note the windows!

Chelsea’s attractive Maritime Hotel – note the windows!

that part of Manhattan, so walking offered the best way to check it out.  We made a beeline for the Chelsea Market, which is full of specialty shops for discerning New Yorkers and tourists.  (Posman Books’s letterpress card selection was superior as were The Lobster Place’s seafood display and offerings.)

Portion of The Lobster Place's large seafood selection

Portion of The Lobster Place’s large seafood selection


A Google sign affixed to the large building (2.9 million sq. ft., 4th largest in NYC) across the street attested to Google’s purchase of the building for its New York office in 2011.

Google's building. Maritime Hotel in background.

Google’s building. Maritime Hotel in background.

Nearby were many top notch retailers and the southern terminus of the spectacular High Line, an elevated 1.5 mile linear park on which we were awestruck by the views of New York and impressed with the variety of the park’s own landscapes and architecture.


Typical view from the High Line












We spent most of day two walking up town, taking in the bustle of the City during a steady rain.  Setting out, we had no particular destination beyond the large emporium of Italian food, cooking, culture, etc., Eataly on Fifth avenue at 23rd.

Eataly's presentation of Italian foods is impressive

Eataly’s presentation of Italian foods is impressive

After a pastry and great cup coffee we continued north on 5th Ave. and, after several short hours of taking in 5th and Madison Avenues, we were on the Upper East Side.  We decided to visit the East 70th Street club house of the Explorers Club, which I’ve been a member for many years.  Immediately upon entry we were very pleasantly surprised to be greeted by President Alan Nichols’s wife Becky, who we knew from the Bay Area and who just happened to be in the lobby as we arrived.

Explorers Club's clubhouse ambiance aided by the Polar Bear

Explorers Club’s clubhouse ambiance aided by the Polar Bear

(Mr. Nichols had just left for a flight back to SFO, while Becky stayed to continue her commitment to improving the clubhouse’s interior.).  Becky gave us a great tour of the building which included a one of a kind coincidence when we happened into one of the meeting rooms to find the Club’s aged tiger pelt being unfurled –it had been away for several months for cleaning and restoration.

Photos of members, all interesting

Photos of members, all interesting








On day 3 we kept near to Chelsea, walking the the High Line a second time as well as finding a crossing to the north end of the Hudson River Park.  Walking south, we couldn’t help but notice a temporary installation of wonderful moving sculptures by artist George Sherwood and were enthralled.   This extraordinary show of 6 pieces was in situ for only 8 months of 2014 and made for one of the best hours of our time in New York City.

See them all in this 2 minute video:

More of Sherwood’ Surf:

Gyres & Memory of Water:


Posted in Outdoors | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Arrogance of Hillary Clinton

“And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”

-Hillary Clinton as quoted in the New York Times on 9/8/15

Does anyone actually believe that statement?  Of course not.  It’s a lie on its face.  And we need truthful politicians, not those who lie.

I was astonished and seriously irritated the moment I heard that Hilary Clinton, as Secretary of State, chose to set up her own email system for her government work.  As a former Naval Officer with an appreciation of classified information and the extensive systems and training around it, it was (and is) incomprehensible to me that a senior government official, a Cabinet head, was doing all government email business on a server in her home.

It’s now 6+ months since this matter came to light widely in a New York Times article dated March 2nd.  During this period the public has endured professionally orchestrated PR efforts to minimize the matter and move it out of the limelight, but her decision looks as calculated and bad (for the public) as ever.  And her shifting positions and terminology, her grudging explanations, and her double-talk about transparency should, for any objective voter, cause doubts about her fitness for our country’s highest position.

Let’s work through this.

First, she chose to install her own infrastructure for important government work.  How was that decision made?  On the advice of privately engaged lawyers and consultants of course, who no doubt collaborated with her to decide “let’s just do it and worry about it later.” (If they did it without thinking about it much, that’s even worse.)  Was her decision cleared in advance by any responsible government staffers?  Well, we haven’t heard anything on that, so we must conclude the answer is “No.”  From the get-go, this decision was not only arrogant, but intentionally flaunted then existing government (including State Department) policy and (at least the spirit of) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as reported by numerous media outlets including Politico, the New York Times, and Slate.

Second, the PR output from Clinton’s camp about “nothing was classified at the time” is a complete red herring – it doesn’t matter!  ALL government communications – especially with the Secretary of State for goodness sake –  should be private, confined to those with a need to know.   Try as I might, I cannot get my mind around how a Secretary of State can do the job without sending or receiving info that must be for government eyes only, and therefore on government systems only, regardless of its classification or non classification.

Sidebar:  Can anyone imagine Goldman Sachs or General Electric tolerating individual employees creating and then doing all corporate business on their own independent email systems?  Of course not.  By definition, company business is assumed to be important and is discussed on company resources, not systems jury-rigged by employees operating willy-nilly.

Third, and overarching Clinton’s renegade behavior, there is the major subject of the Freedom of Information Act.  The US Government obviously can’t respond to FOIA inquiries responsibly after the documentation – paper or email – has been destroyed, as over 30,000 emails formerly on her server have been.  And who decided on what to delete? – Hilary’s staff did, blowing us a “Trust Us” kiss afterwards.  Arrogant.

To summarize, Clinton intentionally flaunted government policy by using her own system exclusively and then, audaciously, arrogantly, and without any oversight (yes, secretly),  deleted over 30,000 emails intermingled with government business, said to be personal but evidently the public will never know.  Just awful behavior.

She initially explained  “…I thought it would be easier to carry just one device…”  Which is both lame and laughable.  And arrogant.  What isn’t laughable is that she has not been forthcoming and has, in fact and solely for selfish political ambitions, made many statements found to be inaccurate by independent experts.  (For an accounting, see, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.)

We don’t need public servants who choose to disregard this county’s laws and policy with impunity and then blatantly and repeatedly make misleading statements or lie.  If the Democratic Party’s logic is that she’s not perfect but she’s the best we have, I really worry for this country.


Posted in Best Practices, People of note | 1 Comment

The pals known as The Sharks

In the last post I mentioned the “Sharks,” three energetic senior citizens who reside in California and share a love of the outdoors.   Over five decades they’ve done a lot of mountain climbing together in the U.S. West, Alaska, and overseas.  It’s an impressive collection of accomplished guys who have maintained their friendships and I’d like to give them a little more “press.”

By way of background, in the 1970’s I met one of the Sharks, Hank Skade, through a childhood friend who also left our college town of Berea, Ohio for Princeton & San Francisco.  Then, through Hank, sometime ago I met the other Sharks…I am so fortunate to have connected with them, known them for more than a decade, and hiked with them on several Sierra Nevada mountains in addition to Mt. Morrison (Mt. Sill, Mt. Lyell, Mt. Conness) including a summit of Mt. Dana.

The Sharks met at the University of Oregon roughly 50 years ago and have been climbing together ever since.  They initially took the name “Eat Sharks and climb mountains,” a phrase they found in a summit log book way back when.  Over the years that handle was shortened to simply the “Sharks,” and that’s how they refer to themselves now, proudly.

For most of its history, the Sharks were a quartet and defined a “Shark summit”  as one in which at least 3 Sharks participated.  Using this definition, the Sharks  have summited 6 of the Seven Summits; only Everest is undone but there is some sense the window for them to get on top of it is closing.  Everyone is getting older, plus the commercialization of Everest base camp and summit attempts has served to lessen the Sharks’ interest.

The Sharks are: Les Dewitt, Hank Skade, and Bob Wyler.  (As mentioned in the prior entry, the 4th Shark, Ron Silviera, was taken by cancer last year.)

1985 - Mount Ritter, California. L-R: Bob, Les, Hank, Ron.

1985 – Mount Ritter, California. 13,150′.  L-R: Bob, Les, Hank, Ron.

Les Dewitt has been deeply involved with non-profit ventures for the past 25 years, especially those focused on education programs for underserved middle school students.  He has also become a committed advocate for policies that mitigate the proliferation of nuclear weapons, concentrating on connecting the corporate sector to that issue, and founding the Fund for Peace Initiatives.  Les is a  native of Kalamazoo, MI and a 51 year resident of Atherton, CA.  He has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and had a 30 year

1997 - Aconcagua. Hank, Bob, Les.

1997 – Aconcagua, Argentina.  22,841′. Hank, Bob, Les.

career in sales and investments prior to turning to non-profit work full time.  Les is an avid open water swimmer and a former member of the Dolphin Club and the Explorers Club.  He has served on many  local non-profit Boards and has spent over 15 years in youth athletic coaching.  He an his wife Lezlie have parented three young adults.   By the way, Les has scaled 5 of the Seven Summits and 13 of California’s 14 14,000′ summits.

Hank Skade is an entrepreneur in real estate, founder and owner of Tiburon Ventures, and co-founder and former CEO of Haiku Vineyards.  He has more than 30 years experience in real estate investment and development. Hank has entitled and developed land in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, the wine country of Northern California, and in the “Silicon Forest” corridor of Portland, Oregon.

In addition, Hank has a long history of involvement with environmental organizations

1990 - Hank, Ron & Bob on Kilimanjaro

1990 – Kilamanjaro, Tanzania.  19,341′.  Hank, Ron & Bob.

including San Francisco Bay Keeper (Board of Directors), the Denali Education Center in Alaska (Board of Trustees), the Headlands Institute in Golden Gate National Park, the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, and the Explorers Club.

Hank received his B.S. from the University of Oregon, where he also did graduate work in Environmental Studies.  He received his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and served on its Board of Visitors for two decades.  (The Law School’s alumni magazine published another tribute to the Sharks with many interesting details here.)  In addition to mountain climbing, Hank’s interests include cycling, wines, photography, and helping his daughter, a high school senior, navigate the college selection process.

Bob Wyler, a resident of Southern California before and after his student days at Oregon is an authentic waterman and raconteur.  He’s surfed his entire life and continues that from his home just steps from the Pacific’s shore in  Manhattan Beach and over the winter in Baja California.  He open water swims of course and was a world champion paddle board racer.  Early in his career Bob was a ski “bum,” assiduously following his father’s advice to continue that profession as long as possible.  Since retiring from his roles as high school social studies teacher and career counsellor, he’s mostly given up hang gliding in favor of golfing, which takes at least 3 mornings a week.  Bob participates in or volunteers for several historic athletic contests in his hometown;  his commitment to equal opportunity has had a large impact on the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, a 32 mile race from Catalina Island to Manhattan Beach that is said to be the premier and most historical paddleboard race in the world.  Readers shouldn’t be surprised that a local paper reported that Bob is “an all-around fun connoisseur” who’d “rather have the time than the money.”  He’s also grandfather of 2!

1995 - Dinner at 17,200 feet on Denali. Les, Hank, Bob.

1995 – Denali, Alaska.  Dinner at 17,200 feet.  Les, Hank, Bob.

As mentioned I feel very fortunate to have crossed paths with the 4 Sharks, each a unique personality with his own interesting life path.  What is incrementally impressive is how, in planning or while on the mountain, they’re able to blend their different egos and problem solving approaches while holding the team’s welfare and mission paramount.  This is of course important while off-trail route-finding and, especially, when dangling on the side of a mountain.  Most impressively, despite the challenges of their activities and goals, they all appreciate, enjoy, and celebrate the journey.

2005 - Mount Dana. Ron, Bob, Krist, Les, Hank.

2005 – Mount Dana, Yosemite.  13,061′.   Ron, Bob, Krist, Les, Hank.  Mono Lake in background.



Posted in People of note, Outdoors, Terrestrial | 4 Comments