Here’s My Mountaineering Memory. What’s Yours?

By Lane Brown, Chair, National Alumni Board

Photographic proof of my first peak climb was captured on a roll of Kodak 110 film taken by a camera that looked more like a block of cheese than the sleek phones in our pockets these days. 

Most of the prints from those early mountain trips in the 1990s are stored at my parents’ home in Michigan. As a military spouse, I have left them in one place among other treasured memories to avoid losing them in one of our frequent moves. Even so, I know of a couple pictures I don’t need to hold in my hand to remember.

There is a shot of me and a marmot making friends during a climb. We are nearing the top of Harvard or Columbia (now to remember which peak, I would have to unearth an old diary). In the close-up shot, I am holding a bagel, enjoying a trail snack. Meanwhile, the marmot, almost sitting on my lap, is hoping that I will find it in my heart to share a piece of my lunch with him. Learning proper leave-no-trace ethics at camp, I didn’t take the bait, and so my furry best friend didn’t stick around for long – but that memory still makes me smile almost 30 years later.

Through my years as a mountaineer, both camper and staff, I snapped countless photos. Some are the same year-to-year: a favorite distorted pine tree on the trail to Harvard Lakes; the alpine meadows of Columbia Basin; a shot of Five Fingers from just off the Colorado Trail. These images have a place in my heart so deep I can recall them almost anytime, and often have throughout the decades. Other images, like me and my marmot friend, I’m happy to have caught on film, because it’s a story best accompanied by photographic proof!

Send us your mountain memories in photos!

The Mountaineering Reunion during Adult Mini Camp, August 22-28, is going to be a great chance to reconnect with old friends, fellow mountaineering alumni, and the A/U Ranches that have served as the foundation for so many beautiful mountain memories. We’d love for you to share with us your own peak climb memories — written and photos. Have a story from that one trip when a pack of campers made it to the peak together? Did you meet your own mountain mammal pal amongst the boulders on a peak? Share those images and stories with us, and we’ll share them at the reunion.

Send your peak memories to [email protected]. You can also learn more about attending the reunion and what you can do to support mountaineering programs from home: Mountaineering Reunion  

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