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Mountaineer to share stories, photographs


Greg Child, mountaineer and consultant to the North Face sportswear and outdoor equipment manufacturer, will visit Blount County in May, and the public is invited to hear his tales of travel and rock climbing in two separate events.

Friday, May 12, he will show slides and sign autographs in Maryville College’s Lawson Auditorium in Fayerweather Hall. The event, which is free, will be held from 6 until 8 p.m.

“As a world-class mountaineer, he will bring valuable life lessons to the table,” said Bruce Guillaume, director of the college Mountain Challenge program and the one responsible for arranging Child’s campus visit.

For several months, Guillaume has been working with Greg Rowe of the Little River Trading Company, which is bringing Child to the area to help celebrate the outdoor adventure store’s 10-year anniversary.

“Since they opened, the Little River Trading Company and owners Greg Rowe and Chuck Woody have been really great about including us in events and opportunities that might benefit our students and campus community, as well as benefit their business,” Guillaume said. “This is just one more good example of how they involve us.”

Child has 30-year history in climbing

A native Australian, Child was raised on rock climbing. During his 30-year career, he has conquered K2 of the Himalayas, the world’s second highest peak, and Mount Everest, formidably the highest. In fact, he has tackled many of the world’s most challenging climbs.

“It’s a pretty simple thing. For all the complexities that exist in climbing, it’s actually a very primal thing for those who do it,” said Child in a recent interview with MountainZone.com. “It’s true that climbing meets some kind of basic need in me.”

In addition to his passion for climbing, Child has found his niche in both writing and photography through his outdoor experiences. He has written four books, including Postcards from the Ledge, which took home the Banff Mountain Festival Book Award in 1997. He also won an Emmy for his video Hitting the Wall in 1998.

Child has no formal training in writing or photography, but he loves to relate stories about his experiences and has become quite skilled in doing so. He considers himself an “accidental photographer.” Many believe his will be a defining voice in the climbing community for years to come.

Now a resident of Utah, Child finds solace in gardening and has recently turned to exploratory mountaineering, which has led him to remote jungles in Northwest India and Comb Ridge, among other fascinating locales. As a member of The North Face’s Alpine and Rock Climbing Team, Child works closely with the manufacturer’s research, design and development division, “creating innovative designs that push new technologies and inspire cutting-edge products,” reads the company’s website.

More information about Child is available at www.thenorthface.com.

In addition to the presentation at the MC campus, Child will also sell posters and hold a book signing at the Little River Trading Company from 2 until 4 p.m., May 12. The business is located at 2408 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway.

“Ten years ago when we opened our outdoor store, the task seemed somewhat daunting,” Rowe said. “It was as big to us as planning a trip to one of these mountains that Child will talk about. We were experienced in outdoor adventure, but we had a lot of help and were able to resource.”

Rowe said Child’s determination and his reputation for taking risks and succeeding made him a fitting speaker for the company’s anniversary celebration.

“He will give a first-hand and personal glimpse of what it means to plan, organize and successfully reach the summit. Rock climbing is one of the most demanding sports, mentally and physically. If you mess up [in climbing], it can cost you more than the game; it can cost you your life,” Rowe said. “To bring an athlete of this caliber to our area is a pretty big coup for us.”

Proceeds from the poster sales will benefit the local Access Fund, a national climbing advocacy organization, and the East Tennessee Climbing Coalition. To find out more about either organization, visit www.accessfund.org.

For more information about Child’s visit or about LRTC, plecontact Greg Rowe at 865-681-4141.

Located in Maryville, Maryville College is ideally situated between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state’s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South. With a focus on the liberal arts, College faculty and staff are dedicated to teaching the skills and providing the opportunities for students to be successful and make a difference in the world. The College is recognized in the John Templeton Foundation Honor Roll for Character Building Colleges.

and its “Colleges that Encourage Character Development” guide. For 11 of the last 12 years, it has been ranked in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report’s listing of the best Southern liberal arts colleges. Total enrollment for the fall 2005 semester is 1,146 students.

 

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