“Go out and play!”
I guess that’s what my wife Jody and I must have repeated to our three sons when they were small. Or maybe we just let them be themselves, and they took to the outdoors without much encouragement.
He began hiking and camping alone in the Ozark National Forest of Arkansas when he was 15, in the heat of summer and the dead of winter. He just wanted to be outside, and if nobody wanted to go with him, that was not his problem. Our middle child, he was born in 1982.
He became an avid mountain biker and kayaker. He worked several summers as a rafting guide on the Arkansas in Colorado. As a geology grad student at the University of Arkansas, he volunteered for field work in remote places and ended up traveling around Nicaragua with high-precision GPS equipment and working at a research station on the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica.
In the summers of 2009 and 2010, as a doctoral student in geology at the University of Kansas, Richard traveled to the Himalayan Plateau of Tibet to begin his dissertation research. In the highlands of Tibet, the valley floors are as low as the top of Pikes Peak. Richard’s photos capture the beauty and desolation of this high and lonesome land.
Richard’s blog Rocks and Water provides a window into his world.
In 2013, he married Lydia Staisch, the woman with the scarf by his right hand in the photo from Dominica taken a few days after they met several years ago. After a stint in Ann Arbor, where Lydia obtained a geology doctorate and Richard had a post-doctoral fellowship, they moved to Seattle in the fall of 2014, where Lydia has a post-doc with USGS and Richard has started a consulting practice as a professional geologist.
Cole, born in 1980, attended college in Colorado Springs, where he enjoyed the Rockies.
Cole started rappelling when he was about 14 and was active in many sports in high school and college, including mountain biking, skiing, diving, trap and skeet and rugby. After college, he spent two years on the tiny Japanese island of Ikina, where he taught English.
While in Japan, he hiked and camped on Shikoku. He met Zoe Wilson in Japan and decided to live with her in London, where he attended law school.
While in law school, he started working at Itchy Feet, an outdoor clothing and gear store, and from there learned about another company that has several indoor climbing walls. Cole began teaching customers the basics of climbing. Soon Cole was climbing again, on the cliffs along the English Channel, in Wales and in the Italian Alps near Lake Garda.
Having finished law school, Cole was operations manager for High Sports Group, Ltd., managing its seven climbing walls in London. Zoe was manager of marketing and communications for AlphaSights. In October 2013, they left England, and spent several months trekking in Nepal and India before relocating in southwest Missouri sometime in the spring of 2014. In April 2015, Cole and Zoe moved to Alaska.