The Fiercest Competition of the Year: Battle of the Board

Each year, climbers race through the dining room at Fremont Studios, above the heads of 400+ attendees, to kick off our annual Gala. This year's competition is sure to be fierce, as we pit Board Presidents past and future against one another in the 'Battle of the Board'. Meet our contenders!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
March 30, 2018

You're enjoying your second glass of wine and gabbing with the folks at your table, when the lights go off. A hushed silence comes over the room. All eyes are on the stage, waiting in anticipation.

The curtain drops and three figures, wrapped in lights, emerge from the darkness. They're moving quick, propelling themselves horizontally along climbing ropes 40-feet above your head. Suddenly they are right above you, pulling hand over hand with all their might! The reach the end of the rope. Each contender pulls  the string and you feel like you can breathe for the first time in minutes.

But wait, they turn around and are heading back. They're neck and neck! Your eyes have adjusted and you can see the ropes for the first time. You notice one more dangling string by the front of the stage. That must be where they're going. You find yourself shouting words of encouragement for your team. Your cheers are sure to get him to the finish line. How will this madness end?

The tyrolean Traverse: A Gala Tradition

Each year, climbers race through the dining room at Fremont Studios, above the heads of 400+ attendees, to kick off our annual Gala. This year's competition is sure to be fierce, as we pit Board Presidents past and future against one another in the 'Battle of the Board'.

For the uninitiated, a Tyrolean traverse is used to move between two rock features. Ropes are strung between points on each side of the span, allowing climbers to traverse through the air, attached to the rope via a harness and pulling hand over hand to get from one side to the other. Developed in the Dolomites of the former Tyrol region in Europe, this method was used to approach and descend from spires. Nowadays, it’s commonly used to negotiate rivers or reach a detached pillar. Or, in our case to raise funds for three Mountaineers programs. 

Two years ago, our special guest Alex Honnold was so inspired by the performance of our 2015 winner Stephen Sherman, that Alex harnessed up himself for his first ever Tyrolean. For all the drama, read our interview with Stephen wherein he shares his secrets for success (are you reading this Vik/Gavin/Tab?), and check out our recap of Alex's first Tyrolean

Three Ropes. Three Climbers. Three Funds.

Battle of the Board: vik vs. gavin vs. tab

Representing Conservation & Advocacy, we have incoming board president,Vik Sahney! Vik is one of ~350 people and the first Indian-American to complete the Seven Summits, summiting the tallest peak on each continent, including Mt. Everest. He is a graduate of The Mountaineers Intermediate Climbing and Climbing Self Rescue courses and is a Climb Leader. Vik's present outdoor interests include waterfall ice climbing, trad rock climbing, and skiing. He currently serves as Vice President of The Mountaineers Board of Directors. With two young daughters, Vik also knows a thing or two about creating the perfect princess hairstyle. Watch this guy closely for other secret talents.

Representing the Next Generation, we have former board president, Gavin Woody! Gavin is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a decorated combat veteran and Army Ranger, and an accomplished Ultraneer (combined long-distance running and mountaineering). He has finished over 30 ultra-distance runs, including eight 200+ mile running events, and completed the first Mount Rainier Infinity Loop. He currently serves on The Mountaineers Advisory Council and The Mountaineers Governance Committee. Gavin often runs through the night, and he prides himself on literally competing in his sleep. Keep your eyes on Gavin for other tricky skills to outwit his competitors.  

Representing Inspiration & Education is former board president, Tab WilkinsTab has been an active climber and backcountry skier in the Pacific Northwest since 2000, having escaped from the east coast. He's been active in The Mountaineers as an trip leader in skiing, climbing, and scrambling as well as a volunteer at the committee, branch, and board level. Through his climbing career he's summited three of the Seven Summits and currently serves on The Mountaineers Advisory Council and on the Northwest Avalanche Center Board of Directors. As the oldest competitor, some have been quick to label Tab the underdog. But as we know, Mountaineers live long, full lives, and what Tab lacks in youth he more than makes up for in wisdom. Watch Tab to outwit his competition. 

Trust us, you don't want to miss this.

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Three Funds

Next Generation: Inspiring Young People to Love the Outdoors

Inspiring and connecting young people, especially diverse
youth, with the outdoors is critical not only to their health, but also to the health of our wild places. Your donation will spark a desire to explore and get all young people outside to create deep connections to our wild places.

Conservation & Advocacy: Mobilizing a New Generation of Fierce Protectors

Through transformative outdoor experiences we create a community of powerful voices for our wild places.  Your support will provide the resources necessary to mobilize our outdoor enthusiasts and fiercely advocate for issues and opportunities that matter most.

Inspiration & Education: Giving Back to Share a Passion for the Outdoors

Our coalition of highly trained volunteers teach skills, lead trips and change lives.Your support will enable us to nurture, grow and better support these boots on the ground as they generously share their passion for the outdoors with others.

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