Summer Hess

Photo by Summer Hess.

Biomimicry: Learning from Nature for a Better Future

Janine Benyus wanted to capture how processes in the natural world had inspired sustainable solutions to complicated design challenges, so she authored the book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature in 1997. Twenty years later, biomimicry is a key strategy in disrupting the status quo and inspiring innovation across disciplines. Benyus’ website Ask Nature documents hundreds …

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Photo by Summer Hess.

Climbing Agnes

I kick steps into the early summer snow, aiming for the saddle before sunrise. Our fluorescent yellow tent grows smaller on the col, and steep ridges hem in the skyline. In a few hours the sun will fry the bites and scratches from yesterday’s 12-hour standoff with mosquitos and devil’s club. I try to maintain …

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Photo of swimmer by Summer Hess.

Fitness Training with Your Own DIY Multi-Sport Challenges

The number of race options in the world is enough to excite and, in some cases, overwhelm athletes. There are road races, themed races like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Color Me Rad, charity races like Race for the Cure, mud runs like the Dirty Dash, and even more daring events like the Bare …

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Photo by Summer Hess.

Climbing Walls or Community Action? Finding a Balance Between Activism and Athleticism

I took a deep breath before plunging under the overpass on my way back to work after a session at Wild Walls climbing gym. The smell of human excrement and unwashed bodies clogged the back of my throat, as did the bursts of exhaust from the heavy traffic that whizzed by. It seemed rude to …

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Photo of Sierra Jo Sans by Mike Dailey.

Whitewater Mentors: A Conversation with Two River Paddlers

Leah Hillbrand and Sierra Jo Sans charge whitewater in very different ways that both leave me clutching the arms of my chair. Both also hail from Eastern Washington University, where Hillbrand is a whitewater instructor and Sans is a student in the outdoor recreation program. But those aren’t the only things they have in common. …

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Photo of Jon Snyder at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.

The Value of Recreation: a Conversation with Jon Snyder

Jon Snyder, former Spokane City Councilman and Out There Monthly founder, has served as Washington State’s Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development Policy Advisor for over a year now, and I recently caught up with him over a ginger beer at the Elliot Book Company Cafe in Seattle. As we chatted, a softball league played in …

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Explore the Winter Wilds Safely—Be Avalanche Aware

I rolled into the foyer of an outfitter that had inundated Facebook with advertisements about a $5 Avalanche Awareness event. The atmosphere was that of distant relatives conversing at an annual reunion rather than the cinematic and sonic overload and the packed-in crowds at the mountain film festivals. The event facilitator started by showing slides …

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