Winter is here

We’re off to a snowy start to the winter term here in Salt Lake City, but that hasn’t stopped us plowing forward with events and programs for the semester. Here are some of the things you can look forward to from IMR between now and the end of the Academic year.

Fireside Chats

Last night we kicked off our winter fireside chat season with a visit from Mike and Lilliana Libecki.

Lilliana went on her first international trip at 8 months old. She has now been to 21 on all 7 continents, including three big expeditions to Antarctica, Africa and Nepal, and she’s getting ready for an expedition to Peru. All of these expeditions are humanitarian/philanthropy based. She has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, she’s the youngest girl to backcountry ski in remote Antarctica, and she has made ascents in Nepal over 19,000 feet while on a 155 mile trek. Lilliana and her dad just finalized a nonprofit organization committed to giving back to the planet, people and animals. Their nonprofit is ‘The Joyineering Fund: In a world where we can be and do anything, be kind and do good.’ Her main goal while traveling and adventuring is to find ways give back to the planet and people in hopes to better the quality of life. Lilliana received the Zack Martin Breaking Barriers Grant from the American Alpine Club twice and the Young Guns Grant. She is now presenting her stories to the public and is always looking for new ways to share her message and help inspire others to get out in nature and care about our planet, people and animals…All of Mother Earth!
Mike obeys his obsession/addiction by exploring the most remote, exotic and untouched locations on the planet to climb big walls, towers, or alpine first ascents, traverses and other mysterious adventures (many of them solo). Mike has received numerous grants/awards/recognitions including the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2013,The Sharp End Award from The Access Fund, Mountaineering Fellowship Award from The American Alpine Club, The Banff Centre Mountain Grant, The Helly Hansen Mountain Award from The American Alpine Club, and the Zack Martin Breaking Barriers Grant from the American Alpine Club.

We are currently lining up additional people for fireside chats throughout the semester and we will continue the tradition of a storytelling contest to close out the year in May. Stay tuned for more details.

The Mountain Stories Podcast

The Mountain Fellows have created a podcast series highlighting mountain stories from around the region. The first episodes are on Soundcloud and feature interviews and audio from the fellows themselves, Peter Metcalf, Joni Adamson, and Peter Boag. If you have a mountain story you’d like to tell, we’d love to hear from you.

Mountain Fair

February 23rd: The Mountain Fair and a multimedia presentation from Jonathan Duncan. We’ll celebrate mountains and mountain cultures on campus on Feb. 23rd with a broad range of events ranging from a mountain-sport focused “multathalon” organized in collaboration with Westminster’s Outdoor Program, followed by a gathering of local mountain oriented businesses and non-profits. This will provide a great opportunity to meet folks who focus their lives on getting people into the mountains, protecting them, and striving to make them safer and more accessible. We’ll round out the night with a multimedia presentation in the Bill and Vieve School of Business auditorium with adventure photographer and ethnographer Jonathan Duncan. Jonathan will be sharing images, videos, and stories from his recent adventures in the Himalayas. We’ll add more information and invites to events for the Mountain Fair here on the blog and on our facebook page.

Curriculum and Professional Development Grants

If you are a Westminster Faculty/Adjunct/or Staff and have ideas for mountain oriented WCORE courses or professional development opportunities we’d love to hear from you and help support that work. We’ll be sending out an announcement calling for applications over the listserv soon, but if you have questions please feel free to contact either Jeff Nichols or Brent Olson.

Student Faculty Collaborative Research

Each year we give out two grants for Westminster Faculty and Students to collaborate on research projects. We’re excited to continue this support for the summer of 2017 (though if you have a research project in mind that would be better accomplished during the school year, we still may be able to help). We’re in the early stages of planning a multidisciplinary Henry Mountains research project, so contact Jeff if that interests you.

Westminster Expedition: The American West

Jeff and Brent are deep into the planning process for next Fall’s academic road trip. We’ll be taking 16 students around the West to examine land use conflicts, Native American issues, the National Parks, other public lands, and the historic and contemporary meanings embedded in Western landscapes. Interested in joining us? Follow the link above for more details, including a rough sketch of the route we’ll be taking. Student applications for the trip will be available online in the beginning of February and will be due March 1st. Interested in meeting (speaking, hiking, etc.) with the class on our travels? We’d love to talk with you ( or Finally, if you are interested in supporting the students on the trip by reducing the costs to them, we encourage you to consider donating to our GoFundMe page.