Duke Beardsley – Art in the Big, Bold American West

Duke Beardsley – Art in the Big, Bold American West


Duke Beardsley

Duke Beardsley was well on his way to a career in medicine, when, just before med school, he took a hard turn onto a new path when he decided to pursue art as a full-time vocation. Since then, he has become one of the West’s most revered artists, producing paintings of cowboys, anglers, and the Western way of life in a style that is uniquely his own. His work is big, bold, and completely original, and it continues to grow and evolve in ways that surprise even Duke himself.

Thanks to a childhood spent between Denver and his family’s eastern Colorado ranch, Duke has been immersed in cowboy culture for as long as he can remember. He has been drawing non-stop since he could hold a crayon, and as a child (sometimes to the dismay of his parents) he demonstrated a proclivity for sketching western scenes on the walls of his family’s home. Duke is also a committed conservationist with a deep devotion to preserving the West’s landscapes and heritage. This eclectic mix of experiences and interests, combined with a formal art education, allows Duke to produce works that are ambitious, inspiring, and engaging.

I stopped by Duke’s Denver studio earlier this week, where we had a fun and wide-ranging conversation. We chat about his decision to change his career goal from medicine to art, and the value he gleaned from a formal art education.  He explains that life-long obsession with drawing on walls, and he tells some stories about how, as an adult, drawing on walls has led to surprising professional opportunities. We talk about his artistic process, his meditation practice, and how he managed his extroverted personality in the solitary world of creating art. He also discusses why land conservation is an issue that is so near and dear to his heart, and offers up some excellent book recommendations.

This was a lot of fun and I really appreciate Duke inviting me into his studio. Be sure to check the episode notes for links to everything we discuss, and check out Duke on Instagram, Facebook, and his website.

All images courtesy of Duke Beardsley


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

2:40 – How Duke describes his work
3:30 – Growing up between Denver and eastern Colorado
5:15 – Artistic energy in Duke’s family
6:30 – Duke’s early path toward medicine
8:30 – Transition to art school
9:40 – Biggest lesson learned from art school
12:20 – Focusing his art on horses and the West
14:20 – Life post-art school
15:30 – How Duke’s art is different now from 20 years ago
18:30 – Drawing on the wall
20:20 – Why Duke paints big pieces
21:31 – Story behind Duke’s line ups
24:45 – Getting in “the zone” while painting line ups
26:40 – Working on multiple pieces at once
27:50 – Working with galleries
29:00 – Process for commissioned paintings
31:45 – Extrovert or Introvert?
34:30 – Duke’s artistic process
38:00 – Duke’s meditation practice
41:00 – Drawing on the wall at Las Pampas Lodge
44:00 – Working with Fishpond
45:50 – Passion for land conservation
49:30 – Favorite books
52:34 – Favorite films
54:00 – Surprising activities
54:45 – Most powerful outdoor experience
57:00 – Favorite place in the West
58:40 – Best peice of advice ever recieved
59:45 – Duke’s request of the listeners
1:00:30 – Connect with Duke online

Information Referenced

Innovators of the American West Book List

Innovators of the American West Book List


Over the past year and a half, I’ve interviewed dozens of innovators who are shaping the future of the American West—writers and ranchers, athletes and artists, conservationists and entrepreneurs, to name a few. While their vocations and backgrounds vary widely, they’re all connected by a shared love of books. All of my guests read widely and deeply, and they credit books with shaping their outlooks, work, and lives.

On each episode’s webpage, the exhaustive “episode notes” link to all books, authors, and other pertinent information discussed in the interview. So in an effort to consolidate all of this valuable information in one easy-to-access location, I compiled every book mentioned by each of my guests into this single comprehensive super-mega-list—the Innovators of the American West Book List. I’ve tried my best to organize them into logical categories, taking into account that many of the books span several genres.

As you’ll see, the books are as diverse as the guests, with topics ranging from the obvious western history and biographies, to more esoteric subjects such as military history, religion, and philosophy. Each book has played an important role in at least one of my guests’ fascinating lives, so it’s safe to say these books have been vetted and come highly recommended. For curious readers who love the American West, this list is a treasure trove.

I will continue to update this list after each new episode (last update: 9-20-17), adding newly mentioned books or authors to their respective categories. I hope this list directs you to some books that you would not have otherwise discovered and that you will continue to check back as the list grows. Enjoy!


Western History

Biographies & Memoirs

Western Issues

Adventure

Native American History

Land Management & Agriculture

General History & Natural History

Athletics

Personal Development

Fiction

Philosophy & Essays

Specifically Mentioned Authors

Still need more books? Sign up for Ed’s Bimonthly Book Recommendations!

JeffAnnJeff Lee is the co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Land Library, a residential library located on a historic ranch in one of Colorado’s most beautiful and dramatic high country grassland basins. The Buffalo Peaks Ranch, as it is known, will eventually house a collection of over 35,000 books related to natural history, conservation, and the American West. These books will be dispersed throughout ranch in houses and agricultural structures that have been preserved and restored by a growing team of enthusiastic volunteers. The ranch will become a place where individuals can immerse themselves in a natural setting, surrounded by books, for days at a time to read, write, and work on projects related to the West’s unique landscapes.

The idea for the Land Library came to Jeff and his wife Ann (the library’s other co-founder) when they visited a residential library in Europe during the mid-1990s. Given their deep love of books and land, Jeff and Ann immediately saw the potential for a similar concept in Colorado that centered around the history and landscapes of the American West. More than 20 years and tens of thousands of books later, their vision has become a reality—the Rocky Mountain Land Library is open for business and continuing to grow and evolve.

For anyone who has listened to this podcast, you know that the Land Library is my dream come true—it combines ranches, conservation, nature, and books—so I was obviously extremely excited to chat with Jeff. In a little over an hour, we covered a ton of interesting information, including the project’s backstory, the history of the ranch, and Jeff and Ann’s long term vision for the Land Library. Of course, we discuss books, and Jeff has many excellent recommendations that were brand new to me. It’s worth noting that the Land Library is in the midst of the a fundraising campaign, so I encourage you to visit their KickStarter page, watch the video, and donate to the cause… I just did, so you definitely should too! Links to everything are in the episode notes.

If you love the West, love books, and love the land, I can guarantee you will love the Land Library and this episode. Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Land Library


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

2:40 – How Jeff describes his work
3:45 – Back story on the Land Library
4:40 – Jeff’s introduction to the West
7:00 – Lake Powell, water, and differences between the East and West
7:55 – The early beginnings of Jeff’s book collection
10:55 – The initial idea for the Land Library
13:50 – Challenges of storing tens of thousands of books
17:00 – South Park, Colorado described
19:30 – Early search for a Land Library site
23:45 – Unique experience on a ranch versus pristine wilderness
25:45 – Current state of the Land Library
28:10 – Cook’s House restoration – Kickstarter Campaign
29:40 – History of Buffalo Peaks Ranch
34:10 – How Jeff defines “conservation”
35:30 – Interesting people and groups who have visited and volunteered at the ranch
40:00 – How Jeff and Ann were able to take the Land Library from an idea to reality
42:20 – Jeff’s recommended books about the West
44:45 – Recommended biographies
51:00 – The interconnectedness of historical figures
52:25 – Purchase these books at your LOCAL bookstore!!!
53:20 – Books that Jeff has gifted or recommended
57:40 – Jeff’s most powerful outdoor experience
1:00:10 – Favorite location in the West
1:03:30 – Jeff’s request of the listeners
1:04:40 – Connect with the Land Library online

* Please buy these books at your local bookseller!!!

 

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Taylor Keen, just before an Omaha tribal war dance

Taylor Keen is a teacher, community builder, and Native American thought leader based out of Omaha, Nebraska.  His back story is as diverse as it is impressive—he’s a member of both the Omaha Tribe and the Cherokee Nation, attended Dartmouth College (BA) and Harvard University (Masters of Public Policy, MBA), and enjoyed a successful stint in corporate America before returning to Nebraska to teach entrepreneurship and management at Creighton University.  His most recent undertaking is Sacred Seed, a project with the goal of preserving Native American heritage and history through collecting, growing, and spreading the seeds of corn and other traditional Native American foods.

Just before planting…

The writer Wallace Stegner theorized that people generally fit into one of two categories—“Boomers” or “Stickers.” Boomers are “those who pillage and run” and want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street.” Stickers are just the opposite—they are “motivated by affection, by such a love for place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”1  Taylor is the walking embodiment of a Sticker.  Given his drive, intelligence, and education, he could’ve followed the path of the Boomer and pursued any number of careers.  But a deep love of his Native American heritage and his community called him back home to teach, lead, and live a life devoted to service of others.  It’s an inspiring story.

…and full bloom.

I could’ve talked to Taylor for hours and I only asked about a third of the questions I had prepared, but we still managed to dig into a wide variety of fascinating topics.  We discussed the history and mission of Sacred Seed and where he sees the project going in the future.  We talked about his path from the West to the Ivy League, the decisions that led him to transition from corporate America to higher education, and some very interesting Native American history.  One of my favorite parts of our conversation was Taylor’s recounting the advice he received from his grandfather soon after graduating from Harvard Business School.

This was a very enlightening conversation for me, and I greatly appreciate Taylor taking the time to chat.  I encourage you to visit the Sacred Seed website and watch the video—you can find links to everything we discuss in the episode notes on the webpage.  Enjoy!

All photos courtesy of Taylor Keen

1 Wendell Berry, It All Turns on Affection (2012)


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

2:55 – How Taylor describes his work
4:00 – Sacred Seed Project
5:35 – Early beginnings of Sacred Seed
9:00 – Discovering the importance of seed banking
10:00 – Threats to native seeds from large corporations
11:45 – Difference between Omahas and Cherokees
13:50 – How Taylor found his first ancient seeds
15:55 – How the plants compliment each other, Four Sisters
20:45 – How Sacred Seed has changed Taylor
22:40 – The link between elders and the ancient ways of planting
25:30 – Fall festival
26:45 – Future plans for Sacred Seed
29:20 – Taylor’s changing approach to the project—MBA to Holistic thinking
33:45 – Similarities between Sacred Seed and the reintroduction of bison
36:45 – The fight for sustainable agriculture
37:10 – Meaning of Omaha
38:10 – Where Taylor grew up
39:00 – Taylor’s journey to the Ivy League
41:15 – Biggest surprise when moving east
43:55 – Harvard graduate school and corporate America
45:35 – Taylor’s grandfather’s wise advice
49:25 – Discussing Sebastian Junger’s Tribe
51:00 – Taylor’s thoughts on the importance of tribes
53:50 – Best books for learning about Native American culture
56:45 – Taylor’s advice to his younger self
58:00 – Other favorite books
1:02:50 – Taylor’s request of the audience
1:06:00 – Connect with Taylor online

My 10 Favorite Books of 2016

My 10 Favorite Books of 2016


As you may know, I send out a brief bimonthly email in which I recommend some of the best books I’ve recently read. This year, I recommended 37 books, which is an admittedly ridiculous amount of reading. In an effort to distill it down to a more user-friendly level, here are my top ten favorite books that I read in 2016. The subject matters vary widely, but I wholeheartedly recommend them all.

I kept the descriptions as brief as possible, so click on the monthly list link to view the original email with my full review. To sign up for the future book recommendation emails, follow this link or just send me an email.


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan – One of my favorite books of all time, and you don’t need to be a surfer to fully appreciate it. A true work of art. (Sep/Oct list)

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger – I think about this book on almost a daily basis, and I believe Junger’s ideas on community and purpose explain many of the societal challenges facing the U.S. today. (Jul/Aug list)

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport – This book reshaped the way I approach my professional and personal projects, and it made me even more skeptical of social media than I had been. (Mar/Apr list)

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight – The best business memoir I’ve ever read. (Nov/Dec list)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – Extremely interesting theories on the evolution of humans, and it actually pairs well with Tribe mentioned above. (Jan/Feb list)

The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko – Part history of the American West and part western water policy primer, all layered on top of a wild, exciting adventure narrative. (May/Jun list)

The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History by Darrin Lunde – I’ve read an absurd number of TR books, so my standards are high—this one not only explores a little known (but super-interesting) part of TR’s life, but it also details the rise of America’s natural history movement. (Jul/Aug list)

Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas – Richard Nixon was a strange, strange, strange man. (Jan/Feb list)

Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch by Dan O’Brien – Conservation, bison, ranching, regenerative agriculture, emotional memoir, and a natural history lesson all rolled into one book. (Nov/Dec list)

End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World by Joel K Bourne Jr. – A cautionary examination of what lies ahead if the we can’t figure out a solution to the coming global food crisis, followed hopeful examples of innovators who are attacking the challenge head on. (Sep/Oct list)





larry-yaw

Architect Larry Yaw

Larry Yaw is a renowned architect based in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley whose work connects people with nature using contemporary, sustainable, conservation-focused designs. Growing up in rural Montana gave Larry a deep appreciation for the utilitarian character of ranch homes and their thoughtful integration into the landscape, aspects that form the foundation of much of his work today.  Through his design, Larry has demonstrated a unique ability to pay homage to the past while boldly pushing beyond preconceived notions of architecture in the American West.

If I had to use one word to describe Larry it would probably be “adventurous”—a quest for adventure seems to guide all aspects of his professional and personal lives.  As you’ll hear in our conversation, Larry has traveled the world many times over, sometimes with his full family in tow, seeking out enriching experiences everywhere from the South Pacific to the Swiss Alps. He is also intellectually adventurous, as evidenced by his deep knowledge of history, conservation, Native Americans, and many other subjects related to the West and beyond.  Physical adventures are a daily occurrence for Larry, whether it’s pedaling single track, stalking trout with his fly rod, hiking in the high mountains around Aspen, or shooting birds on the Montana prairies. All of these experiences provide the fuel that keeps Larry’s professional creative engine firing at turbo speed, decade after decade.

This was a super-fun conversation, and I came away from it inspired and enlightened.  We discussed a broad range of topics including Larry’s architecture, his creative process, and how he has managed to stay consistently creative for so long. We chatted about his early years in Montana, some of his adventures around the world, and his thoughts on conservation in the American West.  Larry is a true student of the West, so he had plenty of book recommendations. There is a lot of great information in this interview, so don’t forget to check the episode notes for links to everything we discuss.

Photo courtesy of Larry Yaw


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

2:45 – How Larry describes his work
3:40 – Larry describes his architecture
5:00 – Montana’s influence on Larry’s work
7:20 – Early years in Montana and Florida
9:00 – College years and path to graduate school
13:25 – Post-grad school early career
15:15 – Decision to move back West
16:30 – Origins of Larry’s adventurous outlook
22:00 – International travel’s influence on his work
23:55 – Around the world family trip
25:05 – Adventures on Aconcagua
26:22 – Cultural influences of travel
27:10 – Rugged individualism versus community
29:00 – Design for an active, mountain-inspired lifestyle
30:20 – Process versus goals
32:45 – His creative process
34:40 – Evolution of Larry’s work
36:30 – Thoughts on conservation
38:30 – Interactions with Native Americans
41:00 – Sustainability and design
42:30 – Interactions with the Blackfeet Tribe
46:30 – “Once Proud” painting series
48:30 – Recommended books on Native Americans
51:15 – Larry’s favorite books
55:20 – Favorite documentaries
56:50 – Favorite outdoor and artistic activities
1:01:25 – Craziest outdoor experience
1:04:00 – Favorite location in the West
1:06:45 – Biggest challenge/opportunity facing the West
1:08:55 – Advice to his younger self
1:12:10 – Larry’s request to the listeners
1:13:50 – Connect with Larry online

 

Ben Masters is a filmmaker and conservationist whose work explores some of the most important conservation challenges facing the American West today. He was the mastermind behind the award-winning documentary Unbranded, which tells the story of Ben and his three buddies who ride wild mustangs from Mexico to Canada as part of an epic five month-adventure. The film also examines the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Program, a well-intentioned, but now controversial, government program created to protect the wild horses that roam the western U.S. For those who love the American West, Unbranded is one of the best documentaries in recent memory—it combines hardcore adventure with important conservation issues, all while accurately capturing the true beauty of the American West.Unbranded - film

Conservation is the common theme running through all of Ben’s work, and his passion is fortified with a deep knowledge of natural history, public lands, and policy issues related to the American West. His expertise recently earned him a spot on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, the group tasked with solving the challenging issues surrounding the program he profiled in Unbranded. His most recent film, Pronghorn Revival, is the story of Texas wildlife biologists capturing and relocating a struggling herd of pronghorns (i.e. antelopes). Not one to rest on his laurels, Ben is working hard on more conservation projects to be revealed in the coming months.

Unbranded - cliffWhen we recorded this episode, Ben was less than a day away from leaving on a multi-week guiding trip to the area around Yellowstone National Park, so I really appreciated him making the time to chat.  In just under an hour, we managed to cover a wide range of conservation-related topics: the BLM’s Wild Horse Program, invasive species in the American West, thoughts on hunting, as well as Ben’s personal background, favorite books, favorite documentaries, and a crazy horse stampede story… with plenty of other intesting subjects thrown in.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Unbranded. You’ll love it.  In the meantime, enjoy my conversation with Ben Masters.

All photos courtesy of Ben Masters


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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

3:05 – How Ben describes his work
3:35 – Ben’s upcoming adventures
5:40 – Overview of Unbranded documentary
7:45 – Genesis for the idea for Unbranded
9:45 – Overview of the BLM Wild Horse Program
10:15 – Natural history of horses in North America
14:20 – Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act
17:16 – Ben’s thoughts solving the wild horse challenge
21:10 – Political challenges surrounding wild horses
23:45 – More North American natural history
24:55 – What “conservation” means to Ben
26:00 – Ben’s personal connection to conservation
27:40 – Resources for understanding the history of conservation
29:00 – Conservation challenges facing the West in the next 20 years
32:10 – Ben’s thoughts on hunting and conservation
33:45 – Cautionary tale of Texas Screwworms
36:30 – Overview of Pronghorn Revival
38:35 – Favorite books
40:20 – Favorite documentary
41:30 – Ben’s work with veterans
42:23 – Hobbies that Ben enjoys
43:48 – How Ben learned the art of filmmaking
45:00 – Craziest outdoor experience
47:50 – Ben’s favorite place in the West
48:40 – Ben’s request of the listeners
51:30 – Connect with Ben online

Information Referenced

headshot_brooks

Andrew Skurka

Andrew Skurka is a highly accomplished adventure athlete who is most well known for his long-distance solo backpacking trips, including the 4,700-mile Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile Sea-to-Sea Route. He has also completed countless fast and light trips throughout the Sierras, Wind River Range, Zion National Park, and Appalachian Trail, just to name a few. Andrew has been named “Adventurer of the Year” by both Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure, as well as “Person of the Year” by Backpacker Magazine.

Andrew is also a published author, having written The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, and he is close to finishing the manuscript for the book’s second edition. He also writes extensively on his personal blog, which is full of detailed, information-rich articles about backpacking, gear reviews, and other endurance-related content. On top of everything else, Andrew is a guide, speaker, and accomplished ultra-runner, having placed second in the Leadville 100 and third in the Run Rabbit Run 100. Just this past weekend (6/25/16), he placed fourth at the San Juan Solstice 50-Mile Trail Run, one of the most difficult 50-milers in the country.

chugach

Andrew deep in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Brooks Range, AK

Andrew is a great guy, and we had a very fun conversation.  We obviously talk a lot about many of his long-distance backpacking adventures, but we also dig into some of the mental and emotional aspects of traveling through such remote areas for long periods of time completely alone. We talk about his personal background and how he became interested in adventure sports, and also about his decision to forgo a traditional career in finance or consulting to carve out a career centered around the outdoors and adventure. As usual, I ask about his favorite books, favorite documentaries, and favorite locations in the West.

Thanks to Andrew for joining me, and thanks to you for listening to the podcast. Enjoy!

kenai_fjords

Andrew preparing his pack raft. Kenai Fjords National Park, AK

All photographs courtesy of Andrew Skurka


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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

3:20 – How Andrew describes his work
5:00 – Overview of Andrew’s notable trips
6:30 – “Short is the new long” trips
8:30 – Alaska-Yukon Expedition and other trips
10:35 – Details of the Great Western Loop trip
14:05 – Details of the Alaska-Yukon Expedition
16:30 – A scary grizzly bear encounter
17:45 – Methods for avoiding distractions, fear, uncertainty
19:35 – Adjusting from expedition life to “normal” life
22:10 – Andrew’s personal background
24:50 – Pursuing an “outside the norm” career after college
27:55 – Advice to folks pursing non-traditional careers
28:25 – Advice to his 22-year old self
30:10 – Specific mistakes that became long-term positives
33:00 – Advice to novice hikers
34:10 – Importance of first-hand experience
36:27 – Andrew’s current life and projects
38:45 – Approach to writing
40:45 – Thoughts on ultra-running
45:50 – Favorite books
48:55 – Favorite blogs and websites
50:25 – Favorite locations in the West
52:50 – Biggest threats facing the West
55:00 – Andrew’s request of listeners
56:10 – Connect with Andrew online

Information Referenced

Brady

Brady Robinson

(L-R) Brady Robinson, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin after their 2001 K7 expedition

Brady Robinson is the Executive Director of the Access Fund, a conservation and advocacy organization that helps to protect climbing areas throughout the United States.  Despite being a relatively small non-profit, the Access Fund’s work has a broad ripple effect far beyond the climbing community and extends into areas of conservation, public lands policy, and general outdoor recreation, just to name a few.  Under Brady’s leadership, the Access Fund has been incredibly effective, and as climbing becomes more popular, the its work will only become more important.

CNV00-40

The avalanche that almost took Brady’s life [33:50 in the podcast]

Brady also has a seriously impressive outdoor resume—he was an instructor for both Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and has done a number of large-scale expeditions throughout the Himalayas.  He still finds time to push himself hard in climbing, mountain biking, and other adventures, while simultaneously leading the Access Fund and being a fully committed family man.

 

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Just seconds after narrowly avoiding the avalanche [39:30 in the podcast]

We had a fun conversation that covered a wide range of topics.  We dig into the details of the Access Fund’s mission and methods, including why non-climbers should care about its work.  We talk about Brady’s diverse career experience, and he tells a few crazy stories from his big-mountain expeditions with climbing partners such as Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker.  Brady also offers advice to young people who would like to pursue a career centered around the outdoors, conservation, or advocacy. [A full list of topics covered is below.]

Even if you’re not a climber, you’ll gain some solid insights from this interview, so I hope you enjoy.

All photos courtesy of Brady Robinson


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Episode Notes

Topics Covered

4:10 – How Brady describes his work
5:00 – Specific methods that the Access Fund uses to protect climbing areas (public policy & acquisitions)
10:30 – How does the Access Fund prioritizes projects
10:45 – Correction from Brady: The Homestead is between Phoenix and Tucson, not Phoenix and Flagstaff.
13:15 – Access Fund’s nationwide partnerships
13:55 – Access Fund’s stewardship team
16:30 – Access Fund’s support for landowners and education initiatives
18:40 – Foundation of the Outdoor Alliance
21:20 – Why should non-climbers care about the Access Fund’s work?
26:00 – Early outdoor experiences
27:30 – First climbing experiences
31:44 – Brady and Jimmy Chin learn photography
33:50 – Brady’s near miss with a massive avalanche in Pakistan (see photos above)
41:10 – The closest Brady ever came to dying in the mountains
45:00 – Lessons learned from a life of adventure
46:15 – Memories of the late great Alex Lowe
47:45 – Brady’s decision to pursue a career in education/advocacy/conservation instead of full-time climbing
52:00 – Reflections on finding your passion
57:00 – Advice to young people –  a career in the recreation/conservation
1:07:50 – The Access Fund’s biggest threat and opportunity in the next five years
1:11:15 – Favorite books
1:16:30 – Favorite documentary
1:18:30 – Favorite locations in the West and the world
1:21:00 – Brady’s request of the listeners
1:25:55 – Connect with the Access Fund

Information Referenced


This episode is brought to you by Mountain Khakis. Rugged. Authentic. Reliable. Timeless. What started as a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY has become a top-performing mountain-inspired lifestyle apparel brand. Established in 2003, Mountain Khakis quickly became a staple in the wardrobe of everyone from ranch hands to golf pros, those who travel by jet, as well as those who travel by thumb. The Mountain Khakis brand story continues to resonate as it connects to the enthusiast who believes that freedom and rugged adventure is a way of life. Join the conversation @MountainKhakis and www.mountainkhakis.com

Mountain Khakis

Lloyd Athearn

Lloyd Athearn is the Executive Director of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI), a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the natural integrity of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks through active stewardship and public education.  CFI’s work includes building and maintaining trails, educating hikers and climbers on best practices in the high country, conserving the native alpine tundra ecosystem, and generally helping to ensure that these popular mountains are not inadvertently “loved to death” through overuse.

Much of Lloyd’s career has centered around mountains, so we had a fun and wide-ranging conversation with topics including 14ers, climbing adventures, ecology, books, advice to first-time hikers, and plenty more.  Lloyd is a super interesting guy who’s doing very important work, so I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!


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This episode is brought to you by Mountain Khakis. Rugged. Authentic. Reliable. Timeless. What started as a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY has become a top-performing mountain-inspired lifestyle apparel brand. Established in 2003, Mountain Khakis quickly became a staple in the wardrobe of everyone from ranch hands to golf pros, those who travel by jet, as well as those who travel by thumb. The Mountain Khakis brand story continues to resonate as it connects to the enthusiast who believes that freedom and rugged adventure is a way of life. Join the conversation @MountainKhakis and www.mountainkhakis.com

Mountain Khakis


Episode Notes

Topics Covered

2:50 – How Lloyd describes his work
3:45 – What is a 14er?
4:30 – Officially, how many 14ers are there?
7:50 – Why do 14ers need protecting?
11:55 – How CFI prioritizes 14er projects
14:30 – CFI’s trail inventory project
20:50 – How many people climb 14ers annually?
24:00 – How is CFI funded?
26:40 – Youth crews
28:30 – How private land can impact access to 14ers
33:00 – Specific 14er success stories
35:20 – Explaining the class rating system
36:45 – CFI’s April Fools jokes
38:20 – Lloyd’s personal background and early outdoor experiences
40:30 – Lloyd’s career path
43:40 – Lloyd’s advice to young people who are interested in a career centered around the outdoors
47:50 – Advice for a first-time 14er hike
52:20 – Lloyd’s scary Ecuador lightening experience
54:10 – Lloyd’s favorite 14er
55:15 – One of Lloyd’s (and Ed’s!) favorite books
57:45 – Favorite documentary
58:55 – Favorite non-14er outdoor activities
1:00:15 – Craziest thing that’s ever happened to Lloyd in the outdoors
1:02:50 – Favorite place(s) in the West
1:04:00 – Biggest challenge and opportunity facing Colorado in the future
1:06:10 – Lloyd’s request of listeners
1:07:45 – How to connect with CFI

Information Referenced