I met Conrad Anker on top of Boulder’s First Flatiron. He was wearing a chalk bag and a pair of rock shoes. One thousand feet off the deck, we occupied a twenty square foot summit point. My friend Matt Dealy and I were inspired to bang off the rust on our climbing skills and gear after seeing Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk in Meru.
You know Conrad Anker. You just might not realize how or why you know him. Let me be your tour guide circa de Conrad Anker’s career mile markers. You will quickly recollect how you already know him. His personal mantra is Be Good. Be Kind. Be Happy. In this podcast interview, you’ll hear how this approach to Work Life Play fits one of the top Alpinists in the world today.
Click to Listen to Podcast Interview with Conrad Anker
The North Face – Alpine Climbing Team
Have you bought anything with The North Face logo on it? Ski Jacket, Tent, Backpack, Technical T-shirt? Chances are that Conrad Anker gear-tested that piece of equipment on some remote Himalayan mountain to make sure it was going to be:
- Warm enough to sleep in;
- Tough enough to keep out the weather;
- Burly enough to stand up against the wind.
Check out his career resume page on The North Face’s team athlete website. The dude is legit.
Ghosts of Everest-1924 First Attempt on Everest
Mallory’s seventy-five-year-old mummified climber’s body at 27,000 feet on the wind-scoured slopes of Mount Everest. In the history of Everest, this was a BIG DEAL. Read more on the Ghosts of Everest.
His Best Friend and Climbing Partner Died
On October 5th, 1999 while climbing together on Shisha Pangma, the world’s 14th highest mountain, Alex Lowe, Conrad’s best friend and climbing partner was killed in an avalanche. Conrad walked away from the avalanche. Subsequently, Conrad and Alex’s bereaved wife Jennifer Lowe-Anker “grew” into love. They’ve been married for fifteen years and are raising their sons together. Beautiful story! Go Conrad & Jenny!
MERU Film-Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, Conrad Anker
MERU documentary film is sweeping the charts on iTunes with a Blu-Ray and DVD Release and a cross-country theatre release stretching from silver screens to sofas. MERU made its debut at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT and w0n the Audience Choice Award. Conrad’s climbing partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk are not only climbing legends but now also suburbia’s heroes. This is a jaw-dropping human story of triumph and suffering. Big mountains are the context in which the story takes place, but you don’t need to know anything about mountains to love this film.
National Parks Adventure IMAX Film
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike”.
John Muir, 1912
Watch the Trailer
MacGillivray Freeman Films brings to IMAX and giant screens everywhere a film to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. National Parks Service and the importance of the wilderness they protect.
Conrad Anker, Rachel Pohl, and Max Lowe (Conrad’s son) are the adventurers that lead us on a tour of the wild places available to us within the National Parks. The road trip spans from Yosemite, Devils Tower, Arches, Redwoods, and Karmai, to Pictured Rocks National Sea Shore in Michigan. Conrad, Rachel, and Max invite us to discover more about our National Parks, some of our greatest national treasures.
Aaron: Welcome to the work life play podcast. I'm Aaron McHugh, your host.
Friends, welcome to episode 45 of the work life play podcast. Today. I actually have a guest for you and I'm pretty excited. It's been a little while since I've had a powerhouse guest like this, his name is Conrad Anker, and you'll know him in lots of different ways. One of them is if you've ever bought anything from the North face company. So jackets, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags. If you've ever gone skiing and a ski jacket with the North face logo on it, or a pair of Gortex pants. Conrad's been a sponsored athlete on the North face climbing team as a Mountaineer and alpinists for, I think it was as we talk about the podcast, somewhere upwards of 30, some odd years. So likely the jacket or pair of pants or backpack that you've used or tent you've slept in or sleeping bag that you've stayed warm in, Conrad was one of the guys that influenced that product design and field tested that product.
You'll know him for a movie that's out right now, it has been out for a little while, that is kind of all the rage in the documentary world. It's a cult movie called Meru, merufilm.com. And two of the guys and he did this three time's a charm assault on this Himalayan peak 20,000 foot shark's fin Ridge featured in this movie called Meru. So you'll know a little bit about him. Jimmy chin and Renan Ozturk, I think is how you say his last name is the other guy that they did this together. And then most recently upcoming is a film that releases actually today on February the 10th as a world premier national parks adventure film is about the 100 year anniversary of the national park service who tend for and care for the national parks here in the U S.
So this film is about Conrad and his son, and one of their friends that go and romp around these national parks, these treasures of ours, and go have these really cool adventures. So really excited to share that interview with you today. And I think you're going to find it really cool as we talk about who is Conrad Anker. The guy, you know, he was on the cover of Outside magazine back in the fall. So if you don't know him, you actually do know him. You'll be able to piece together ways that you've seen him or heard his story. I would say he's pretty you know, normal household type things these days of where you'd run into him and some of his accomplishments and some of what he's done. So I think you'll really enjoy that.
It is a longer interview, which I think is really fun, cause we just kind of take a nice cadence and work our way through a couple of neat stories together. Ways that he and I actually even met last fall, we both happened to be on the summit of the Boulder flat iron up in Boulder a rock climbing. He was there free soloing, which means no rope and you know, no helmet, no gear, any of that stuff as a professional climber, he could do that. Me and my buddy Matt were fully suited up and ready. So we talk about that as well. So before I click on that interview and segue to that, I'd love to give you a little bit of an intro of what I've been up to, and some projects I've been working on and some adventures I've been having and some upcoming podcasts that are in the works as well. So on the topic of projects, my last podcast, number 44 was the release of my new book, titled "Fire Your Boss" and the intention behind that book.
I spell it out in that podcast, but just to give you a quick overview on it in case you haven't checked it out yet, or you're new as a listener to the podcast, "Fire Your Boss" is up at Amazon. So you just type in "Fire Your Boss" and it's available in Kindle edition, as well as in paperback. And it's a manifesto to help rethink how you think about work. And the difference between a manifesto and a full length 300 page book is manifestos are really intended to be succinct, arguing a point, advocating for a point and generally really pushing, promoting, advocating for change. And so the manifesto is intended for change as it relates to our enjoyment of going to work every day. So it's, you'll find there's a twist in the title to what actually is what you might anticipate the title and how that goes, that would function in the real world of firing your boss. And then the mindset related to how you can actually fire your boss and result in enjoying work every day at the job that you have, not requiring you to have to go relocate and find your dream job, but actually that starting your dream job starts today. Wherever you are.
So hope you'll check that out. So "Fire Your Boss" and it's on Amazon, like I mentioned in paperback and in Kindle it is out. And the first couple of weeks are big, I guess, for the Amazon rating system. It's a big deal to how many books that you sell during that early period just for their ratings. So I would make the request that if you can go put in an order for that, if that's something that you're wanting to do even though there's not a timeline for, it would be super helpful just because then it shows up on search engines, better and that kind of stuff. So hopefully you enjoy it and hope you find it of interest and helpful for you and your career.
All right. So transitioning to living adventurously I was on a run with a friend yesterday- give a shout out to Dean- and Dean has given me a good and appropriate hard time of, "Man, you just don't tell these stories very often. How come you don't do more on social media? How come you know, let's go." I was telling him, "Oh yeah, I spent the night in a snow cave," which by the way, I'm really proud of the fact that I get to introduce Conrad Anker after I just spent a night in a snow cave. I'm up on a mountain. So we, me and some buddies were on a father son trip. We went up to 11,000 feet on a pass called Hoosier pass in Colorado, right above Breckinridge Colorado, if you ever get up there.
And here we are, February 7th, eighth, ninth, whatever that was you know, whopping high of 30 degrees. And we're digging in a snowdrift that was 15 or 20 feet tall. And we carved out a big enough snow cave for seven of us to sleep in together. I used to guide back in my young twenties and apprenticed, underneath a guy who his name was Greg and he taught wilderness survival courses and specifically a winter survival course. And one of them was shelter building. So he had taught that polar division of special forces groups in Alaska and all these things. And so it was this kind of dormant skill that I've had that I've been working on dusting off and polishing and re bringing it to my feet, my current life and not just allowing it to be in the archives of my life.
So we went and spent a night in the snow cave and my friend Dean, as we were on a run yesterday he was telling me, he's like, "Man, you just, you don't understand this is not normal. People don't do that. And you need to explain how as a micro adventure that this stuff is accessible." So for 40 and a half a tank of gas me and some buddies piled into a car and they're young 11 and 13 year old sons. We, pre-made a bunch of food and pulled a bunch of gear out. We doubled sleeping bags and brought some tarps to sleep on it. And we dug a snow cave out with a bunch of shovels and it took us four or five hours and ended up in this chamber that you enclose off and you get out of the elements and the wind.
And all of that goes with that we slept up at 11,000 feet and was proud to think of my good friend Conrad Anker, and thought about Allister Humphreys and his premise of micro adventures and the adventures available and it's cheap and easy. And you can get the benefits of a big, big adventure in small doses of time. So recently just completed that. So thanks Dean for reminding me to make sure I share those kinds of stories as I'm living this out as part of the invitation that I extend to you, I'm doing it myself and continue to find great benefits in doing it in friendship and adventure in just physical health and just happiness. So Conrad talks about be good, be happy, be kind and I desperately say that micro adventures are a good way for me to, to work on the, be happy, be good, be kind.
So an upcoming episode, I have recorded, but I'm going through slowly and editing. I actually interviewed my wife. So Leith and I have been married now 22 years and truth be told this last year was pretty bumpy. So making it to 22 years married, we wanted to offer the kind of the mystery, you know, the what's the story. How do you make it that long? What's the highs, what's the lows. So we tell a pretty raw and authentic story that I'll have released, I hope to be in and around Valentine's day. I think it actually makes for good storytelling for couples and maybe a more real version than the hallmark version of what a Valentine's day looks like. But what does living well together look like, and what does not living well together look like? What does surviving life's challenges look like? What was our beginning like? And what does our today look like in terms of our renovation and restoration and do over that we're working on right now in terms of how we blew up our life this summer and sold everything we owned and sold houses and sold all of our wedding china and dishes, and gave away most of our belongings and, and then lived at a camp at 9,000 feet for the summer, and took time off of work.
So all that story we talk about as well. None of that just update for you in terms of just fun and things that we're up to and talk to you guys about how we purchase a 1974 VW bus back in November. It was, we found it up in Portland, Oregon, my brother and I, and his son, 10 year old and 11 year old son. And then my daughter, we all flew up there, met together at the Portland airport. I went and test drove final sign off on this VW bus. And then we subsequently piled in the bus and started making a three day, 1300 mile road trip to get back to Colorado. So the bus is awesome, great shape and really enjoying it. And one of the things we've been working on is an upgrade for the interior. So I thought I'd share this story with you.
This is another guide I'd like to have on the podcast. Well I found a couple of summers ago was a surfing catalog called Herschel supply company. And I was out in Laguna beach and was at a surf shop and just picked up this con newspaper style catalog in it. It had really phenomenal photography. I've subsequently also contacted the photographer and just talked to him and said, man, this photography is awesome. Well, I took this catalog with me.
I've been dragging it around now for, I guess, going on two and a half years. And one of the things in it was this guy named Kevin Butler, and he's a basically professional artists. And does these hand drawn drawings called "Rad Cars with Rad Surf Boards," R A D. And what's cool is he does his cartoon renderings of all these kind of classic vehicles and then hand draws a surfboard on them. Well Herschel supply company had turned that into a product line and everything from beach towels to purses to you know, kind of a little of everything that you'd find in beach wear. So he's got an, a DeLorean, you know, with a surf board on it, and he's got these old school VWs on it. So we contacted him and said, Hey, would you be up for doing a custom pattern for us of the drawings that you've done that are VWs only so VW buses and the thing and bugs, excuse me, single cabs, all these VWs that are these classic 1950s through 1980s era vehicles that he's drawn and asked him to make a custom pattern for us, that we could then turn into a pattern that we'd make curtains out of for the bus.
So we just ordered some swatches for that. Ended up buying that art from Kevin and want to have him on the podcast and talk a little bit about his life as an artist in doing work that you love. And so I've had more of an email communication with him so far, but looking forward to having him on and telling more about the story of his art. So an update about our bus, it's pretty cool. We've got that in motion and we'll head up to my mom's for a weekend and pull out the sewing machine and my daughter, and I will hand make some curtains together to put in our pretty cool bus. So there's my long form intro for today of flushing this out in work and in life and in play. As you I'm trying to balance it all.
And some days I'm up some days I'm down, I keep counting on the laws of averages that it all averages out over time. But any one individual day is probably not worth trying to grade myself on how I'm doing on all these categories, but today Conrad Anker, let me transition into the podcast. Hope you really enjoy. I hope you'll get out this weekend and go check out this new film, "National Parks Adventure" at the IMAX theater. I hope if you're stuck inside that you'll rent or purchase this new film that is out Meru film and learn more about what it looks like to quest after something and pursue it relentlessly to do with friends and all of the, all of the human experience that goes with that. And I hope you'll check out Conrad Anker at conradanker.com and check out what a really solid good dude this guy is. And you see how a lot of the work that he does in the world in the mountains has affected the clothes that you wear every day and the gear that you use if you get outside. Conrad Anker, welcome to the work, life, play podcast. I'm really, really, really stoked that you're here.
Conrad Anker: Well, thank you, Aaron. It's a treat to be with you here on this nice winter morning. And what is the 3rd of February, 2016?
Aaron: Yeah, yeah. I just spent yesterday, the last three days. We're actually, our kids schools are closed again today. We've got about 18, 20 inches or so. So I spent the last couple of days with a shovel out front, clear the driveway. So right now it's sunny, but there's big, huge I don't know, four foot drifts on either side of the driveway right now.
Conrad Anker: Well, it's time to go sledding.
Aaron: I know, right? Yeah. Or dig a snow cave. Well, what I'd love to do Conrad is start with putting you a little bit in, in the serving up a story part is, tell us a little bit about, I know who Conrad Anker is. I followed your career for a long time, and I'll look forward to sharing that with the listeners, but I'd love for you in your own words to say a little bit about who you are, what you do, what you love, and then we'll get into big topics later on after you intro us.
Conrad Anker: Sounds good. Hi, I'm Conrad Anker. I'm 53 years old. I live in Bozeman, Montana. I'm married to Jenny. We have three boys. My father's side of the family's from Twomey County and central California. My mother, sister, and brother still are at the family property that we have there. They have a little restaurant, so that's kind of the, the family of it. So I attended school at the university of Utah and lived in Utah for a bunch of years. And then in the Bay area I, what else? I wake up in the morning and I'm like, okay, how can I figure out how to go climbing today?
Aaron: Yeah. So say that about, so you're a professional climber professional athlete who's been sponsored by the North Face for 20, 25 years. So tell us that about, about your climbing career.
Conrad Anker: Yeah, great. About the age 14, I realized I was happiest when I was outdoors in the woods. Backpacking a lot of it was what we did in our summer vacations with my parents and going out with a mule and the Sierras, and that was my happy place. So to say, so I kind of figured whatever I can do to be in that space was what I wanted to do. And when I was a student at the university of Utah, I started working at a Holly bar, which was a retail store from the Colorado front range area. So Roy, how you bar kind of a, throw it over some, Pitans some sew it yourself kits. And so that was my beginning with North face and that was 1983. So going on 33 years and they've been a great partner and really been able to make this dream of being a, a climber a reality, a, an Explorer reality.
Aaron: And that's in these days, I mean, it's not uncommon for people to be professional athletes, but the microcosm of professional alpinists professional climbers on the planet is actually a really, give us some qualification of how small a population that really is on the planet.
Conrad Anker: Well, it, it might seem small, but it could be kind of larger if you include people that work in as guides or work in the in the product end of things, or work in the national park service as a as a ranger or something like that. So there's a lot of people that are being able to climb professionally and as a professional sport, it's what we do is experiential. It's not doing it's not running a race and winning a race. It's not competitive. It's not we're not putting metrics of human construct on it. So there's not a time in space. I mean, we create games. So the basketball court is so big and the hoop is so high and the games last so long, and the points are valued, whether you shoot from the three-point line or anything like that. So we create this whole construct to make a game. And if you excel at that, then you are a basketball player. You're a professional basketball player. What we do is a little bit different, we're sort of storytellers and explorers. It's experiential that we go out in the woods, the deserts, places like that, and come back and share our experience with people. So that's pretty much a key part of it. I guess, in, in a way that it differs from most athletic sports.
Aaron: So let me give some context to the listener is Conrad's talking about parallels of basketball. Let me tell you, like, basically Conrad is Michael Jordan of the mountains, so yeah, we're going to use a basketball analogy. So Conrad has climbed Everest numerous times. We'll talk about too the movies that Conrad's been featured in recently that we'll get into in the, in the podcast. He, for instance, where Conrad and I actually had a chance to meet was back in October. And I was just looking through my journal and had some pics in there and some notes I got off the couch, me and a buddy Matt, and we actually just watched Conrad and Jimmy Chin's movie on this peak called Meru, which we'll talk about. So we got off the couch and we dusted off our climbing rack, drove up to Boulder, Colorado and climb the first flat iron.
Well, we'd been up there, like, I don't know, five or six hours. And we had gear and ropes and helmets and the whole deal. And all throughout the day, there were these young guys, they would cruise by us with a chalk bag in a set of rock shoes. And so just as the, for the listener context, this is, I don't know, it's probably a thousand feet tall, five, six grade, nothing super hard by any stretch, but for rusty old mountaineers, like my friend, Matt and I, it was a big deal to get out. So we had these guys cruising by us throughout the day and they'd say, Hey, do you mind if I pass and they have the chalk bag and I said, a rock shoes on and they were free soloing, which means no rope, no protection, no nothing. Well, the very last pitch, we're up at the top, actually, these really two nice guys said, Hey, do you mind if I pass?
And I was on lead and I was finishing off this last section, I thought, wow, that was a really nice that everybody else just kind of wanted you to get out of the way. So as they cruise by, it turns out it was Conrad and his buddy bill. And so they were on this little block summit next to us. And he, they turned around and asked a question. I think there was somebody who had wrapped off the back, Conrad that had some crap gear up there or whatever it was. And you guys were asking, Hey, did you see that crappy bullae or crappy, crappy gear they put in and, Oh yeah, we did see it. And I came unglued because I had just watched Meru and I heard Conrad's voice. And I thought, I said, Hey, Hey, you're Conrad Anker. So this guy who we're talking to today is literally just genuinely, I know you wouldn't say this, so I get to say it about you, is legendary in that world.
So it was a pretty big deal to be on a swatch, a dirt, you know, on a GPS coordinate of, I don't know what it was at 40 feet and all of a sudden then I'm on top with this guy, we just watched do this Epic climb with his buddies in the middle of Himalaya. So that was a really special moment for me. And I resisted asking you to be on the podcast right then and there, but I definitely had to reserve myself as I oozed enthusiasm about your, your accomplishments and especially the movie Meru.
Conrad Anker: Oh, you're far too kind. But yeah, I remember that moment. We were up there with Bill and there was someone who built a belay station and gone to pull their rope and they'd forgot to take the backup, knot out. And so they'd pulled it up. And so there was the half a fishermen's that was wedged up. And I came up to it and asked what is going on here? And it was it wasn't equalized, it was-
Aaron: Crummy cam stuck sideways. It was a death trap is what it was yeah.
Conrad Anker: Was we didn't know. I thought it might've been yours. And so I rebuilt it. So it was equalized and it was done proper. And then tied the rope off, not knowing. I was like, well, it would be someone using this as a repel station or something like that, but it was just I didn't want someone walking up the trail seeing a fixed rope and be like, Oh, I'm going to jump on it because it was, Oh,
Aaron: Oh, that's true. It was touching the ground too on the backside, wasn't it? Or the researchers could access it. Yeah,
Conrad Anker: It was fixed, but it wasn't, it was just a knot jam. And we found out afterwards that someone had bailed off it, or there was a rescue or something like that. And that at that key moment, they forgot to pull their safety knots. So when you pull your rope through, you have to take that knot out. Otherwise it jams and that's what happened. So we rebuilt it and it was all bomber with a big knot it's full ice things. And so, but yeah, it was a great it was really nice to meet you and Matt up there. And it was a wonderful whenever I'm in Boulder Denver area, it's always good to get out and get a little bit of nature and
Aaron: That's right. And free solo. Of course, I forgot to add that, that of course, Conrad and his buddy bill had same thing, rock shoes, no rope. And that's what a professional climber can do versus dusty mountaineers. Like,
Conrad Anker: Well, you're making it sound really big, but to put it in context, it has been skied and it has been done with roller skates. So
Aaron: No, which makes it sound even worse. What I did. So,
Conrad Anker: So you guys read there, you had everything you needed and it was and we were in the game, I guess that's the way I view it. And yeah, it, when you get out there, it's better than not getting out there at all. So even if you're in some race and you end up last you're ahead of the person that didn't get off the sofa that day. So, yeah.
Aaron: So to say, I want to hear you say about if, if you look up Conrad Anker on Instagram or look him up on his website, one of the things you'll see is his tagline is be good, be happy and be kind, so say more about that. That, that to me is strikingly unique, especially for the class of athlete that you are in the world. I don't find that very often. So I'd love to hear about that.
Conrad Anker: Yeah, well, it's I don't know how it came to being, but I've had it for probably 20 years, maybe a little bit more, but be good, be kind, be happy. And now there's this meme going around six words that defined your life as like, wow, that is six words. But prior to that, it was always if you're good to people and you're kind to people including yourself, then you'll have happiness. So it sort of you can look at it as three simple words or you can look at it as a a little simple math equation. Goodness. And kindness brings happiness. But I guess it starts out with going way back. I mean, you and I are probably in the same came of age in the eighties and nineties, but Elvis Costello, actual name, Delbert McClinton, or something like that. But to Elvis the musician, he had one album called get happy or be happy or something like that. But it was when the, sort of the, sort of an antidote to the, the punk that was going on at the time and it had five colors. And so we'll have to look it up and, and
Aaron: I'll check it out. My brother, a super big Elvis Costello fan ran into him in New York city and of still out.
Conrad Anker: He's an adventure too. I really met Elvis Costello, but he has gone to Antarctica and he's that's cool. Yeah. So a great musician and yeah, just one of those guys that I have on my music subscription service. So, all right, nice. And your playlist once a month or so ago in there, and
Aaron: I'll have to throw it on a playlist while I'm working on this podcast. So Conrad say a little bit more about related to your career and really what I would say is kind of your, your unique story as friend and family and marriage and kids in the melding of all that. And I know you probably tell that story 6,000 times a year. I just think it's an interesting it's a very human, very real story. And I got to believe that it makes up a lot of who you are today in, in how you approach your life.
Conrad Anker: Yeah, thanks. Oh gosh, I started climbing about the age 14 and being in the mountains and hiking around doing things like that. But it wasn't until I was 28 or 29 at the first time that the downside of climbing struck that is death and mortality. And my mentor Mugs Stump died in the crevasse fall on on the South buttress of Denali. And so that completely changed my world. And when death affects a young person say in their twenties and thirties, it it's, it's, it's far more of a challenge than say it is it where I am now in my fifties. Because I know that it's imminent, it's there, it's going to happen to everyone, not imminent in the temporal sense of a day or a week, but sure, certainly within 20, 30 years for everyone that is associated with us.
So it brings you into living in the moment. And then in 1999, I was on an expedition to Shishapangma, Tibet with a good group of friends. And we unfortunately were struck by an avalanche on as we were acclimatizing and a large ice avalanche came down the mountain and swept David Bridges and Alex Lowe to there killed them both. They were buried. And that was that was it. And so, yeah. And then, so here, it was seven years later, another pretty heavy life-changing event. And this time someone, again, that was really close and it was the first time that I'd actually been on a trip where an accident or fatality had happened right there. With Mugs, I was in Idaho, he was in Alaska and I heard about it through the through phone calls and just someone, it was pre cell phones basically. And I heard about it from someone at the base of the crag. And then this time with Alex, I was right there. So it was it was a tough time and went through a lot of different emotions in the process of bad. And one thing that was a constant and always came back to was Jennifer, Alex's widow and their three sons. And so after that, we grew to love each other. And I think love is something you grow, not fall, we don't as climbers. We don't like falling
Aaron: That's right. Let's not do that. Let's grow. And he said,
Conrad Anker: Yeah. So it was, it's been a great journey and yeah, we've been married 15 years coming in April. So yeah, it's this is a good thing and that the boys are all doing well and enjoying the outdoors, which I guess is what we have. And that they're good, solid young men. And with a sense of decency and respect, I guess that's all that you want to your children or the people that you help raise to be. So, yeah, it's been a great journey. And a lot of that is, is part of the story in the film Meru. So part of the reason that Meru has this connection outside of the world of climbing is that there's this there's an emotional story that people can understand.
Aaron: And I think when we were on top of the flat iron and I was giving you my my enthusiastic rant about how much I loved the film and in your career, I had said that, I said, you know, my wife was in tears watching this movie, Conrad, like it was, it's a human story. Yeah. I know it's, the context is climbing into the context is this massive accomplishment, but it was human. It was people, it was people's lives. It was marriage and death and life and passion and disappointment. And those are all human experience things. It just played out in the cinema via this 20,000 massive foot massive sharks fin was the context in which it occurred. But I do think that I've thought about it quite a bit of what made Meru, the film so compelling and why is it seemingly from my view of seeing charts and graphs and on iTunes and Apple TV and all of these places of like, why is this one knocking it out of the park? And that's the best thing I can come up with is it's just, it's not really a film about climbing. Now, if you're a climber, you, you can garner a lot from it, but you don't have to be. And I thought that was uniquely true about what you and Jimmy and team put together in run-on in this movie of, it was so much more than just a bunch of killer athletes making it to the top of something that was really hard. So I'd love to hear more from you on that.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. And yeah, props to Jimmy and run-on for filming on the expedition and then Jimmy and Chai for editing it and pulling it together. And Bob Eisenhardt, the chief editor and musicians that have brought their music to it. So it was yeah, it was, it went far more than we ever imagined it would be. And it's nice in the film that it appeals to the, the core climbing enthusiasts. So it has, it's, it's legit in that sense, there's no scenes that have been recreated there's no no CGI stuff or anything like that
Aaron: After playing Conrad Anker. Yeah.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. No one throwing salt at me with a wind machine or there's no book guides and I mean, yeah, there, and so that it stands on its own. It's authentic climbing and then has the, what it is to be human. The, the loss, the challenge is to love the emotion, all of that is in there. So that's a kind of that combination of both of them. So, and it's, I'm speaking from myself and from the team that put the film together. It it's nice to have a film that actually reflects what climbing is both from under the nuts and bolts of it when you're climbing the ropes and how you get up there and sleeping and, and the difficulty of that, but then also the emotion of it. Because yeah, there are films, fictionalized films that are made for climbing, whether you go back to The Eiger Sanction or the, The Cliffhanger, Vertical Limit, or most recently Everest, and those are the four big climbing films they're fictional ones touching the void is as similar to what Meru is in terms of an experience of being on the mountain.
But the fictionalized ones they're sort of taking the the stereotypes that someone might have of what climbers are and then amplifying them. Yeah. Which isn't really steroids. Yeah.
Aaron: We're here and was it Sylvester Stallone in one of those, right.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. And he's a great actor and see this humor in that, but that is when you go into the movies, you have to understand that they're going to be making things a little more they're going to stretch the believability scale so we can be in argument sake. Right. Yeah. Right. And it was nice to have the film come out as a documentary. And we worked at it. It was a small, independent film. It wasn't done through one of the big major houses and to have a documentary that touches the human spirit is most documentaries are about an issue of social
Aaron: Totally. And social change, corporate change, climate change, diet chain.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. You get through with it and you want to be like, Oh, I'm not going to McDonald's again. Yeah. I feel bad about being a human. I've got to change this. That's a call to action here. And it's just like, wow. For like Erin and Matt, they got out their climbing gear. After that for eight years, it would have been the bottom of the plastic tub. Now that we're doing this first flatty here we come.
Aaron: Right. That's exactly right. Yeah. Well, I love, what I think is beautiful about the movie is, is how much success that you guys have seen. So you guys have won documentary awards at Sundance film festival and other film festivals that in a lot of ways, if correct me, if I'm wrong, it was Jimmy and run-ons first, first full length movie like this as well, too. Right. It's it's first of its kind for their career. That's correct. So that's huge. And then for it to tell such an authentic story where there are those human connections where it doesn't matter if you've ever been on top of a climb or not like that stuck in a snowstorm for four days with your toes frozen and plastic foods, what matters if you ever have felt like, I don't know if I can keep going. I don't know if I can make this.
I don't know if I have it and need to give anymore. Do you want to keep putting up with whatever I'm doing? And I think those are the connections that end up being just the human experience of, Oh yeah. I've never done that, but I feel like that guy feels, or that guy felt, or, and that was where a lot of my, where my wife, I could really tell her as a barometer of where it was really connecting, because she accompanied me to see this climbing movie was really what the story was. But once she saw it, it was a totally different experience because it was her, she was able to connect with it on a human level, unrelated to being anything to do with outdoors.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. That's yeah. To be a humanist, to have understanding and empathy for the, your fellow humans. And so that makes us not unique. There's other animals that have understanding for their, their brother and out there when they when they're in this situation, but that we want to come out and try harder, help them out, be there. And so a lot of that is in the story with run-on and coming back after his avalanche and then the story of Jenny and I that you can, it's okay to do the most, to be that type of person.
Aaron: Well, what you mentioned about losing Mugs and losing Alex, I did have a chance to meet Alex face-to-face would have been not too, I would say within, within a year, I don't remember exactly, but I was working in an outdoor retail shop in Colorado Springs, so intensive backpacks. And he was there by one of his sponsors, whoever he was coming through to do a slideshow one night. And I got a chance to hang out with him at the front and chat. And I had just come off of Rineer a few months prior. And we were snowed in for a few days up at camp Muir. And there was some Russians there that were, were professional climbers in Russia. And they were telling us all about Alex and how they had some speed climbing competition with them. And so then I shared that with Alex, Oh, Hey, I met whatever the guy's name was.
And we were, this is what he chatted about. This is what he said. And you know, here's Alex, I don't know, six-four, what are you? Big, thin tall guy. So anyway, I found him to be very kind and I followed both of your careers, especially when I was working in outdoor retail and doing some guiding myself during that era. So that was another thing that was special to me about the movie. And then having a chance to meet you in person is to say, Hey, I, I've kind of followed these guys. I've followed this story. And I was especially rooting for you and you and Jenny and the boys, when that story then, you know, years later came forward of like, Oh, right on how beautiful is that? So I've been cheering my pom-poms for the Conrad Anker, Alex to Jenny story for quite awhile. I thank you. Yeah. And it's fun to be able to tell you that, I guess it's probably my, my favorite part.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. That was you had a speed climbing competition in on content GRI in 1993. That was that was good fun, Alex and I were over there together.
Aaron : Okay, good. So you knew what I was talking about then? Oh yeah.
Conrad Anker: That we okay. Yeah, it was, it was still, I mean, 89 was when Perestroika changed the landscape of the Soviet union and then it was, and so they had all these ways that Alpine climbing was state controlled and to be a master of sport, you had to do these things and they had competitions in the mountains and so running up mountains. And so it was a content GRI and say 7,000 meter peak. And the goal was to go from Oh, I think yeah, 4,000 meters. So the 3000 meter elevation change, so 12,000 and change feet. So going up to glacier and, but it was a, yeah, a real, it was a pretty crazy thing to go do. That's fun. That's very cool.
Aaron: Well, I also can appreciate too. The story of I had, during those years, I was doing some guiding and a good friend of ours died guiding in Alaska. And so I was young 26 ish, something like that, you know, going to his funeral. And he was buried in a snow bridge collapsed when he was crossing and it was, yeah, it was just an unnerving. And I had probably two kids at the time. So I think that contributed to my gear, collecting some dust, probably in some ways too, like you said, when you're just young and I don't even know maybe idealistic, that just felt like that's something that happens to other people on a buffer around you, but when it creeps in side of that buffer line within your upfront and center life, I wasn't first person there on the expedition with them, like you were mentioning with Alex, but anyway, another just connection of, I can appreciate what that must have been like. And another reason why the, you know, the Meru film is, is so impactful to me as well. I thank you. Yeah. So say mechanically, will you just say a little bit Conrad about Meru, what you guys did, where it's located, how big it is, how many times you went back, just give us some of that kind of beta on, on the peak itself.
Conrad Anker: Great. Yeah. Meru is a granitic peak in the Gar wall Himalaya. So that's a slightly Northwest of Delhi. And so it's in the Indian Himalaya and it is one of the peaks at the source of the Ganges river. So it's a sacred peak for the Hindu religion. So the peak that you see across from Meru and the film is Shriveling. So that's the abode of Lord Shiva. One of the Pantheon of Hindu gods that are, that are in there and bugger Roth. He is Shiva's wife and other people along the way, but Meru is this mystical place, the center of the universe. And there's even a temple by the name of Meru that's in Southeast Asia. So it, it really had some far reaching impact and culture going along with that. And then climber is kind of sought after it and they wanted to go do it.
And it sort of came into the forefront with the, a mountain magazine, had a picture of the old English magazine is just sitting mountain and then the number on it. And there was, yeah. So like the classic. Yeah. Yeah. They could probably go find some back issues over at Chesler books there in Colorado, but it was Hey, I'm a peak when it came on that cover of that magazine was really the sort of put it into the, all of a sudden it became something that climbers wanted to go do. So it was, it became a known entity and in 1986 and 1988 Mugs Stump had given it a go had no success. And 88, I was on an expedition with a friend, Kevin several valleys away in Kashmir, but we didn't we weren't in the, in the, in the Gangotri and and over the years, it, it had been climbers.
Conrad Anker: I had attempted it and it had been climbed via the snow, but not the the wall aspect of it. In 2003, I teamed up with Bruce Miller of Boulder and Doug Shippo of Bozeman. And three of us try to Alpine style to thin ropes and five or six I screws and a few camps and go as fast as you can. So kind of more Chamonix style than Yosemite styles. So there's two different styles of climbing that you could look at it and came back, realized that it wasn't gonna work. And 2008, we were set to go on an expedition to China in the Sichuan region. There was an earthquake that year. We didn't get our permit. And so the by chance, I was in the Gar wall at the base of Mount Meru in the summer, the monsoon of 2008 doing a report for PBS about climate change and glaciers and wheat farming and making the connection between wheat farmers in North America and wheat farmers and in the Himalayas, they depended upon mountain fed water. So we were there and I came out and checked in with the Indian mountaineering Federation, which is the entity that gives permits for climbing on the mountains. And they they were like, yeah, it's open go. So we switched plans with like two weeks to go, and that was our first journey in 2008 with Jimmy and run-on and Oh, probably a day and a half into it. We got beat by this four day storm. Just sat there, didn't go up or down.
Aaron: And that's the one that's shown in the film, Conrad holding around, you're sitting in a portal ledge, just soggy and cold. Yeah.
Conrad Anker: And then it got clear. The weather was really clear and cold and the snow was there was probably a meter of snow down at base camp at 14,000 feet. And it was a once in a 50 year sort of really post monsoon storm that came in and it sort of brought winter in early, but the weather was clear but windy and cold. And so we, you can't go down if the weather is clear, you got to keep going up. So we kept going up and the a lot of that climbing on there, this is a Yosemite type climbing. So and there's very, it's climbing. See it as a tree with the, the shared roots are gravity. We're playing with gravity and we find different ways to play with that constant in life gravity. And so you have gym climbing have bouldering, you have sport climbing, you have trad climbing, you have ice climbing, you have aid climbing, you have wall climbing, you have Alpine climbing of Himalayan climbing, 8,000 meter climbing, fixed rope climbing.
I mean, we have all these different ways of interpreting and playing with gravity. And so it's it's always, and because of that, that really brings diversity to the sport. If you're playing baseball, it's always the same diamond. It's always the same. Always the same ball at first base is always 90 feet away or whatever like that. But say, if you want to go climb some Chris Sharma masterpiece over in Spain, I mean, that's going to be super hard. Or if you want to do a, a 1970s, a fright Fest and needles, it's going to be a different type of thing. And if you want, I mean, you look at gyms now. I mean, gyms offers such a great way to train and competition climate thing in that own, in their, their own little view of it. So all those different ways, and this was coming at it sort of with your cemetery type climbing where you're climbing overhanging granite, and making it a little bit more difficult as you do it. So,
Aaron: Yes. Beautiful. Let me do some translation for the listeners. So easy classifications for a couple of these things is, think of when Conrad says Yosemite style climbing, think of heavy steep terrain. So like heavy dragon gear along with you, it's super steep. And the going is really slow. Versus when you mentioned is like Shawnee type climbing, which is like light and fast. It's like, don't carry very much try and go as fast as you can. That doesn't mean the terrain's easy. It just means the way in which you're trying to cover the terrain. And then when he talks about things like Chris Sharma difficult, that may mean that's only 40 feet tall, but it's insane that you're using like the tips of your fingertips to, to climb something that's inverted. Versus maybe something that's more of a endurance event or mountaineering event or mountaineering course may take you three solid days. So there's just a, what, as he's mentioning all these ranges, those applications of what people gravitate towards. So you may, some people like prefer only sport climbing, which is maybe fair weathered a lot of times outdoors in short routes versus people like Conrad. You're going to see on long, long expeditions and a lot of those camps of people tend to stick in their, in their categories. I guess if that's maybe a good way to help narrow that down for the everyday listener, is that fair to say?
Conrad Anker: Yeah, but you want to be diverse and see all of them. And so yeah, my goal is to enjoy all the different disciplines of climbing and whether it's an afternoon at the gym or out crag climbing, sport, climbing, ice climbing, wall climbing. And I'm not an expert in any one of them, but I certainly
Aaron: Craftsman though. That's the difference I think with, with, seems to me from watching your career as a master craftsman, you know, all those disciplines versus a Chris Sharma, like guy, who's going to be extreme on one end of the spectrum. Is that fair?
Conrad Anker: Yeah, that's probably, I probably best is I can, I know how to pitch a tent and keep a stove sputtering so I can stay hydrated because it's all about and love the cold. Yeah. Cold colder.
Aaron: The longer and the crappier.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. There's something crazy up there.
Aaron: Conrad, let's transition to talk about the latest film that you're featured in and I'm enthused about this one as well. So what the title of the film is "National Parks Adventure," and it's an IMAX film that comes out. It looks like, is it February 12th? Is the first release date, is it just in a week or so?
Conrad Anker: Yes, that's coming. Yeah. It's the premier will be February 10th, Wednesday at the Smithsonian IMAX theater. So the title of the film "National Parks Adventure" it's was created by MacGillivary Freeman films, the same company that did the Everest IMAX film, IMAX films tend to be about 45 minutes in length. They screen at IMEX theaters, which are often tied to UCMS planetariums. It's not a movie theater, it's not your flat screen TV at home, it's the giant screen. And so they tend to have a longer shelf life. And they're also designed as with an educational aspect to them. So you'll have a lot of fourth and fifth grade students that come in go Curt them in the yellow bus. And here's your field trip. You're going to go learn about planets and you're going to go to the science museum and they're going to catch a movie at the same time.
And so in that sense, it's really good. And to be asked to be part of this the Centennial of the national park service, which is as a documentarian, Ken Burns said, America's greatest idea. This was a real honor. And so we traveled around starting in we climbed in arches Canyon lands Zion devil's tower. And so we experienced the park firsthand it's with our son Max and his friend Rachel. So the three of us are on this list, discover the parks type thing. Cool. Yeah. And then we finish up ice climbing at a pictured rocks, national Lake shore in the upper peninsula of Michigan, which is a place I'd never been to. But yeah,
Aaron: I saw it looks super cool. I would have never guessed Michigan for ice climbing, but this is wonderful, cold and nasty.
Conrad Anker: It's great to be there. It's amazing. The how beautiful it is. It in great people, they're a wonderful group of people, the people, the Ubers, good sense of identity and a great place to be. Yeah. So I like to go back and go sailing in the summer and I'd like to go back in the winter and go ski touring through the woods sometime in winter camping. But it was a great, all of those things built together made for a a nice film that well, hopefully people will come away inspired and want to take time off and visit our national parks, not just citizens in the United States, but the whole planet. So to be able to see them everywhere. So yeah, and a huge thanks to Greg McGilvery who owns McGladrey Freeman films. He's the director of it. And his son, Sean, is the producer, a fantastic team of people that we've worked with. They brought in Robert Redford as the narrator and powerhouse Bruce Springsteen for music. So
Aaron: I didn't know that the
Conrad Anker: Hashtag I'm not worthy. I'm like,
Aaron: That's it, that's you rolling in a big crowd there?
Conrad Anker: Yeah. I'm not worthy. So there, but yeah, there, it shows that those gentlemen believe in our park system too, which is, which is pretty cool. And that people can take time off and no matter where you are in the United States and in Canada and Mexico, there's some park or the other, it doesn't need to be a national parking, be a state park. It can be a regional park, it can be a city park. But there's some sort of park that's nearby that you can visit in find rejuvenation app. Yep.
Aaron: Let me read a couple of things about the national parks. So I've been one of my life goals is to visit all of the national parks in the 50 States. And I haven't figured out my exact punch list, but I've got a pretty good, pretty good one started. So John Muir famous for leading the efforts for these places being preserved. Here's a quote that he wrote. So everybody needs beauty as well as bread places to play in and pray in and where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul like. So John Muir is this. So this movie being the celebration of the hundred year anniversary of the national park service themselves, the national park services, who actually are the caretakers for the national parks. So when Conrad had mentioned a Ken Burns documentary, what is, that's probably like that's got to be a 15, 20 hour different episodes, right?
Aaron: The Ken Burns is phenomenal and it's all this history of, so they talk about how in Europe, they have the cathedrals, but we have the national parks. We have Yosemite, we have the grand Canyon. We have you know, devil's tower, these places, we have arches and Canyon lands and they are these mind-blowing places. And so for you, the listener as I talk and share and bring other people here. So you can hear from them about the idea of micro adventures. I think the national park system is a perfect place or state park system to have these micro adventures, their land that's carved out in the premise of the national parks. Was it so that rich guys don't own everything. It gives us a fair and equal access to everyone regardless of age or socioeconomic standing. Whereas in Europe, if you go and you go to the palace of Versailles, that was some Kings land.
Aaron: And there was one guy in all his fat and happy friends who could come, but here in the net, in the United States, we have the national parks that carve that out and say, no guys like John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt said, not on my watch. We're not going to do it like that. We're going to let it be for every single man. And so as many of you have probably visited national parks as a family vacation, it's a perfect place is super affordable. It's super easy to access. There's over 400 of them in the U S I was looking up. So whether it's national monuments or if it's national parks, if it's rivers, lakes, valleys, climbing, it doesn't matter what you do if you like being outside. And if you like to play and pray, as John Muir says there, there's definitely a part for you. So I think this film is going to be a killer opportunity, and it sounds like a great chance to take young kids to, to expose them to the wonders of what's outside in our backyard here in the U S
Conrad Anker: That's a great way of looking at it. And it's a great concept micro adventures. And so get out for the weekend, get out for the afternoon. And yeah, the beauty of being outdoors is that it's a random and it's nature. I mean, if you look around the human, what we live in as humans, it's salt, right? Angles, it's glass, plastic, concrete, automobiles.
Aaron: It's very true, Conrad.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. I mean, just looking behind and then I see the door there and you see, like, the frame is a picture of Yosemite. It's just absolute just wildness and, and, and things are, they're random. There's sort of the chaos theory of nature is there. And every leaf is different. Every river is, is changing on a constant daily basis. And that same water is you'll never step in the same river twice. And all of these great things that now that we are on this planet with seven plus billion people and a very oversubscribed over over-scheduled, over-scheduled over overbuilt eyes, getting that chance to go outside and just take a big deep breath and say to yourself, wow, I'm back here in nature. That's a pretty good thing.
Aaron: Yeah. And one of the things I love about the national parks as well is that they really preserve the timelessness of nature. And so that when in our modern life, everything is lived in nanoseconds of what's on Instagram, what's on Twitter, what's on TV. What's, what's the next email that comes in it's. So micro-cosmic in the time that we measure, but you step outside and it's not effected by any of that. It's really long, long, long, long in terms of its view of things. So I got a chance Conrad, to go do a sea kayaking trip over in Scotland back in may. And I couldn't believe how, just how not far from a road, you could get to be in an ancient place where the land is still named in Gaelic. And they could tell you what it meant in Gaelic, which was that's the orange rock.
That's what, that's what that means because somebody has been calling it an orange rock for like, I don't know, 2,600 years or whatever it was. And it really helped me feel small in a good way. And I've found that national parks are that way, too. If you want to feel small in the context of a whole, have really realize that your life's not as important or as, as a big deal, as you think it is. When you get all worked up in a negative way, go stand in the Yosemite Valley, right. Go stand in the middle of the grand Canyon, go, go, go look at devil's tower. These things are featured in the movie. So I find it really helpful if it orients me in, in steadies me in a way that I find that the modern world is more disruptive than helpful.
Conrad Anker: That's a great way of looking at it. And if you're a climber, you are the medium that you practice on rock is it's pretty amazing. It they here in Gallatin Canyon, the nice is 2.5 billion years old. And so that rock predates atmospheric oxygen. So whenever I go there and I touch that rock, I'm just like, wow, this is a, B, B. Yeah. So I, I grabbed that rock and I'm like, at one point, this was granted and it was above ground and it got subducted. And then it got cooked under pressure and heat and folded, and then pushed up again and then weathered through glacier. And then every afternoon in the summer when it rains, it's changing that and that that timelessness yeah, climbing on old rock and then looking up to the stars. They're like, okay. Yeah, the universe is a big place. We can't change it, but we can certainly be part of it and enjoy it.
Aaron: Yeah. So tell us, Conrad, what's next. What's, what's next for Conrad Anker. So films and these life, you know, passion projects completed and cover of outside magazine and you know, what, what, what, what, now I know that you're, I've heard a lot more from you on leadership and mentorship film. And that really seems, that seems neat, like a new season. And, you know, even in the film, as you pass the rope over to Jimmy, you know, to say, Hey bro, it's your, it's your turn? You know, you, you take the lead. So tell us more about, and I'm not trying to lead your, your answer there, but I am curious about the mentorship piece and then as well as just what's in the future for you.
Conrad Anker: Yeah. It climbing is something that you need to have someone help show you the rope. Literally it's not a pun. So, and so that that's who you pass on from one generation to the next. And yeah, certainly with the strong climbers out there, I mean, I'm not going to be able to mentor Alex and Alden to be a better climber. He's a way better climber than I am, but there is maybe some life experience or maybe not, but there are some being able to share that with the next the next generation is pretty good. I mean, that's how it's human nature, it's human development. And so we've always taken this ball of knowledge and from one generation to the next added to it and then passed on what it is. So the more that you can add to that knowledge and the less that you covet it, and the more that you want to share it, I think the better off you'll be as a person and that humans can collectively we benefit from it.
One of the projects that's real close to what Jenny and I like to do is the Khumbu climbing center. It's a vocational training program and it's been running now for 13 years. And so we offer vocational training for high altitude workers in Nepal. So the the, the men and women that work on the high altitude peaks, like avarice, something like that. So, yeah. Look it up. Alex lowe.org Khumbu climbing center. Oh, cool. Yeah. So we're Jenny and I will be going over there and this coming April to, to, to work on the project there, it's kind of a neat, a neat way to give back because climbing and Himalayas has created my career in climbing on Everest specifically has been a great help to us. So being able to give something back to these people, and it's nice to teach climbing in the context of it being an avocation rather than a vocation.
So a lot of the Nepalis come into it as a vocation. This is work. This is what they have to do. It's a way to do it, but the, this generation now they're like, they want to go climbing. They're totally site. There's climbing gyms in Katmandu. They compete in the Southeast Asia climbing competition every year, they're seeking out hard routes. Just this past spring, there was in the in the gory Shankar region, there were three first ascents that were done by all Nepali teams. And so there's, that's cool. Yeah, really neat things going on there. And so it's always fun to be over there and it's really spectacular mountain range, so it's beautiful if I can and to help out with them. So that's, I'm sort of in a it's ongoing and it'll be great to see year 15 come around and your 20.
And so we've had over we were partner with the national park service, Yosemite and Denali. We have ranger exchange. We have students that go to national outdoor leadership school. So really cross pollinate with that. And one of the benefits of it is that the people that attend the school communicate with each other in a non commercial guiding seasons setting. So they then when they are on the mountain, each of the, this group of shrivel might work with one outfit and other one with a different outfit, they now communicate and they have the same practices and they use the same techniques are wearing helmets in the Icefall there, they're having
Aaron: Proper rescue gear on them. So it's like a standardization of safety for them.
Conrad Anker : Yeah. And it's been great because it's, it's sustains itself. We usually have six Western that go over and there'll be usually 80 students and another 16 instructors and then a group of students Nepalese that teach English. There's also we teach earth sciences and sort of nature. I say, if you're a tracking guide, how can you then learn more about this? How can you make yourself? So it's a sought after course program that the students attend. They are they have to bring their own equipment. They have to cover their room and board and they have to pay their insurance, but the instruction is is gratis. So that's super cool, kind of a neat thing to do. So
Aaron: Paying it forward in this, in a season paying back for sounds like all of the benefits you've received in that region and seeding into that for the future of sustainability, for the people that are helping make all that happen, as well as for their own future livelihood and adventure, it sounds like. Yeah,
Conrad Anker: Exactly. And here's like a, a fun, little, not so secret is that there's really good cracking. And so everyone's like they go there to climb the big, big ones. Yeah. Some stand on the top. There's a bunch of rocks in the Valley too. And I just climbed. Yeah. And so cool. We've got sport climbs. There are tried climbs ice climbs. And so that combination of all of them really makes a it's a beautiful place to be. That's awesome.
Aaron: This has been really fun and I am super grateful, super grateful to have a chance to connect on all these stories and share your story with other people. I think it is very encouraging and is very human and like going back what we talked about in the intro of, you know, you're another guy that from my view is doing work. You love living the life that you want to live in a way you want to live it. And I know that that doesn't mean that it's all perfect and it's riddled full of its own unique set of challenges. But you're also, you know, living a life of adventure in your case, it happens to be, you know, what you do for for, for a job, but I'm sure some of that some day maybe feels like a job. But I really appreciate you sharing these stories with us and giving us a chance to just learn from what you've seen your 53 years in the mountains.
Conrad Anker: Thank you, Aaron. I appreciate it. And thanks to all you listeners out there. I mean, you guys it's good that you tune in and hopefully there's something meaningful from the last hour or so of listening to two friends talk, and you're a computer.
Aaron: You films go see Meru film. So you can purchase that online and at iTunes Meru film, M E R U film.com. And then also the upcoming film, the "National Parks Adventure," the IMAX film that releases on the 10th of February. And then I think standard release, maybe in other theaters starting on the 12th. So that's definitely a worthwhile take away from both of these. Check it out, have fun, be good. Be kind, be happy. That's right, man. Be good. Be happy. I love it.
I hope you'll accept my invitation to do your best work, to live the life you want to live and play a whole lot more. If you thought this was fun and you'd like some more visit work life play podcast.com.
*We've done our best for this transcription to accurately reflect the conversation. Errors are possible. Thank you for your patience and grace if you find errors that our team missed.
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