Conrad Anker: The Way I See It

By Philip Armour May 5, 2015
Conrad Anker, 52, a longtime professional climber and mountaineer, sits on the board of Montana State University Leadership Institute, Protect Our Winters, The American Himalayan Foundation and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. He calls small-town Montana home and has traveled the globe in search of adventure. He’s practically the poster child for OIA ConsumerVue’s Achiever consumer segment, but when asked about the value of Close To Home recreation, he says “play where you stay, and find adventure where you live.”


The easiest way to find adventure is to camp out overnight.

We live in an area of great natural beauty, so we’re fortunate in that sense.

There’s more open space around here than most Americans have access to, but adventure is pretty easy to find when you sleep outdoors, even in suburbia.

We live in the old part of town to keep schools and grocery shopping close. We commute to wilderness, which isn’t unlike those living in urban settings.

Just today I was trad climbing with a friend in nearby Gallatin Canyon in the Gallatin National Forest. And a few days ago, I was ice climbing at Twin Falls with my 26-year-old son, Max. We were climbing 2.5-billion-year-old metamorphic granite. It predates atmospheric oxygen! It’s the oldest rock regularly climbed on in the U.S. Rock like that gives you a sense of timelessness and your place in the universe.

My family makes an annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone to go winter camping and see wildlife in the Lamar Valley. It gives us as much inspiration and perspective as any of my far-off adventures, and it’s just a two-hour drive away.

Look for more words of wisdom about Close To Home recreation from industry veterans like Conrad Anker in our “The Way I See It” series, part of our ongoing mission to promote recreation in local parks and cities as well as far-off adventures around the globe. And join the conversation on Twitter (@OIA), Instagram (@OutdoorIndustry) and Facebook by tagging us in photos of your favorite #closetohome locales.
Like President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park program and America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, Close To Home recreation fuels the economy and creates jobs by promoting travel and tourism to national parks, wildlife refuges, waterways, forests and recreation areas that are right in our own back yards. Learn more about the impact of recreation economy and OIA’s recreation policy and what you can do to get involved.