Over the years, the most heroic folks we've ever met share one thing in common...gentleness and humility. What an honour and a privilege it was to attend a lecture, hosted at REI in Seattle, featuring Conrad Anker, arguably the most accomplished mountaineer of our generation. Anker's ascents include the most difficult and challenging places in the world in locations such as Patagonia, Antarctica, and Mount Everest in the Himalayas. The list of his awe-inspiring adventures is endless. He survived a massive avalanche on the 1999 Shishapangma (Tibet) Expedition that, tragically, took the life of his best friend, Alex Lowe. That same year, Conrad Anker was the climber who discovered the body of legendary English climber, George Mallory, who died high on Everest in 1924.
Mountaineering and climbing journals and magazines describe in detail Conrad's extraordinary accomplishments. His specialty is climbing the most technically challenging terrain in the world. A very personal glimpse, however, is revealed in Forget Me Not: A Memoir, one of the most moving and inspiring books either Joan or I have ever read, written by his wife, Jennifer Lowe-Anker.
Conrad was in town to talk about the new National Geographic film, in which the story of George Herbert Leigh Mallory is told and in which Conrad is featured. When The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest comes to an IMAX theatre near you, you might want to check it out. I think you'll be moved, thrilled, and inspired.
Conrad signed our poster with these words: "With kindness and compassion". A deeply caring and gentle person, he very much reflects those words with his warm eyes and easy smile. A respected author, explorer, and environmental activist, he is clearly one of the most accomplished and courageous mountaineers and alpinists of all time. I have a sense, however, that he would never admit to that.