10 Essential Questions: John Dinh

Meet John Dinh, a family doctor who is passionate about rock climbing and has fond memories of a Chewbacca anchor created in his Basic course.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
August 16, 2019

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: John Dinh
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Member Since: December 2016
Occupation: Family Doctor
Favorite Activities: Mountain climbing, biking, kite flying, wood working, reading.

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Becoming a mountaineer is a journey away from your couch and kitchen; to go beyond your backyard and into the rock, the glacier, and even the water. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest 4 years ago, I was told that there is a great community of climbers that began with an endurance challenging, committing Basic Alpine Climbing class. Exciting! But I started by signing up for a few hours of snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier, and it wasn't for another few years that I took the "Basic" 6-month-long course. Baby steps.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

Rock is the geological foundation and the shoulder of my spirit. It supports me, frightens me, and challenges me. Each corner of the earth has a rock with its own lessons, and history to enrich me. I am motivated to see new formations and discover their history, whether sedimentary like the painted rocks of Arizona, or the igneus lava tubes of the cascades, or the tall crystal shafts of Devil's Tower.

When I climb them I learn their texture; I feel the strength of granite in Yosemite, and the chossy fickle stone of Frenchman Coullee. The rock motivates me to appreciate the strength of the earth. It also motivates me to protect it from the erosion that can make the ground underneath us eventually disappear.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

While taking my basic alpine climbing class we split up into groups for a contest to build snow anchors. Our group got mixed up and one of our new teammates joined us with a Chewbacca figurine, which we used to make a great snow anchor that held several rapeller's weights! Really awesome and creative, although I wouldn’t put my life on it in the future, even if it took a dozen climbers to yank it out of the snow. As we were preparing the anchor we ceremoniously included a stars wars acapella score and sound effects. Someday I will have to design a snow anchor in honor of the lucasfilm hero.

Who/What inspires you?

Kat, my wife, inspires me to slow down, absorb, and reflect. She helps me to see the journey and not just the summit. Sometimes going to the same hike over and over again can seem repetitive, but she refreshes it and makes it new. She will find a new mushroom hiding under a tree, or point out a "cool tree" and a "cool rock" that was probably there the last time, but I never noticed it. Inspiration is always present, but it helps to have it pointed out to me.

What does adventure mean to you?

Friends make every adventure exponentially better. I remember going to one of my favorite crags on "The Far Side" and lowering my friend off of an anchor into the "Winter Block" and then challenging each other to climb our way out without beta. It was a new rope with a lot of dynamic stretch which gave us dramatic drops every time we fell off the route. It took us all day to get up the 3 pitches together. We had food, water, and lights that kept us sustained into the darkness, but we had no radios. We had to invent a rope tugging code to communicate when we were out of sight and sound from each other.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? A camera
What's your happy place? Rock

If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Big wall climbing
 

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