Every week, we take the reader into the interesting and ever-changing life of an American Alpine Institute guide. Every AAI guide is very experienced in alpine and rock climbing, and all have received professional training in advanced guiding techniques and rescue. Collectively they have one of the highest levels of wilderness first aid, avalanche, and Leave No Trace training among the world's international guide services.
This week, we interview Dawn Glanc. Please keep reading after her interview for information on her involvement in the Big Expedition for Cancer Research.
Hometown: Brunswick, Ohio
Recent trips and expeditions with AAI: I instructed the winter programs in Ouray, Colorado. I guided great clients who experienced the famous ice park and the back country classics.
Upcoming courses with AAI: Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership Part 3. We will either be headed to Waddington, the Bugaboos or the Pickets, depending on the conditions.
How old were you when you first started climbing?
I was first introduced to climbing while in college in Ohio, which was not until I was 21, where I learned to climb in the Black Hills. I was introduced to alpine climbing after I graduated college in 1998. I explored the mountains in Wyoming and Montana searching for long ice lines in the winter and rock lines in the summer.
Who is the most inspiring person in your climbing life?
The most inspiring person in my climbing life is a tough question. Many a belayer have donated their time to my cause. Most of those people have been a part of the many amazing people who have inspired me and encouraged me do my best over the years. I feel that I have a great network of support, much of which comes from people who are not really climbers at all!
What are your other interests besides climbing?
Hanging out with my dog Lucy, and eating great food that my boyfriend cooks.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Where do you hope to travel in the future?
My favorite place to travel right now is France. I love the culture and the mountains. It is a very inspiring place to climb. I plan to travel back to Europe this coming winter-spring. I am planning to enjoy the mountains until the snow melts, then I am heading to the coast to sport climb.
What aspect of climbing are you focusing most on this year?
I have been focusing on a few different techniques and climbing styles this year. I have done a fair amount of mixed climbing this winter, and a fair amount of off-width climbing in the South West as well. I throw myself at these climbs and often have success. I feel that both types of climbing, are by far, the most technically demanding styles of climbing I have ever experienced. I love it though.
What is your biggest strength as a climber? Biggest weakness?
Strength is my attitude. I try to remain positive throughout each day. I also think my sense of humor helps. My biggest weakness is that I have no speed. I have one steady pace, and that is it. Slows things down sometimes obviously.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you'd known when you were just beginning to climb?
I wish I knew that just because a person has climbed for 10 years, that does not mean anything. It does not mean the person is competent, skilled, or doing things correctly. However, if I knew that back in the day, I may not have had so many crazy adventures in the black hills.
When you guide, what piece of advice to you find you give most often to climbers?
Relax, breathe and use your feet.
What are your must-haves? Favorite foods or gear?
Chocolate and my i-pod. That can keep you going for a while.
On June 13th, Dawn will embark on an expedition to climb an unnamed and unclimbed mountain in Alaska as a national awareness campaign for Cancer research and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.
The idea of the campaign is to draw attention to the groundbreaking work being done by FHCRC by highlighting the parallels between scientific research and climbing an unclimbed peak - climbing as a living metaphor for research and discovery if you will. The climb is named The Big Expedition for Cancer Research.
The team is composed of four extremely experienced mountaineers: Matt Farmer, Dawn Glanc,
Kevin Mahoney, and Bayard Russell Jr. They are supported a faculty team and a mountaineering advisory committee. Although the Fred Hutch has held other cancer awareness climbs for the past 10 years, this is the first time that they will focus on an unclimbed peak.
In late May, the team worked together with scientists on a training climb on Mt. Rainier. The next step will be a final team gathering on June 11th, where there will be a send-off reception at the Hutch. Final packing and preparation will occur on the 12th. They fly then to Juneau and on to Gustavus in Alaska. From that point, they take a boat all the way north through Glacier Bay until stepping ashore in Reid Inlet. From there it is a 16-18 mile voyage up the Reid glacier and across the ice cap where they cross several alpine passes to access the subrange which has seen only a group of four climbers in all recorded history. The leader of that trip 30 years ago, Jim Wickwire, sits on the Hutch advisory board. It is on his good authority that the team look s forward to a shot at climbing one of several untouched peaks in the range.
Thus far, there have been many photos and articles written about the climb, and even a short segment on King 5 News. We are very proud to have Dawn as a part of this expedition, and look forward to reports on the team's progress.