Much like the rest of humanity, Tahoe/ Truckee residents love a good story. But rather than legendary folklore, our anecdotes are truthful accounts of snow-capped peaks in distant lands. They are tales that relate harrowing adventures, challenging summits, and blissful descents. Told by travelers, explorers, and mountaineers, these stories come to life as awe-inspiring photos flash on a screen. Ah yes, the slideshow — it’s become quite the winter tradition.
In its fourth year, the Alpenglow Winter Film Series continues to inspire the Tahoe City community with monthly shows at the Sawtooth Ridge Café. The shows are free, they’re fun, and they also raise money for local nonprofits. ‘I think most mountain towns are pretty proficient in films and slideshows, and that’s why we wanted to be different,’ said Brendan Madigan, general manager at Alpenglow Sports, a Tahoe City backcountry ski and climbing shop that organizes this slideshow series. ‘We wanted to raise money for our customer and the community.’ Teaming up storytellers with local nonprofits such as Project MANA, Tahoe Women’s Services, and Adventure Risk Challenge, Alpenglow sells raffle tickets at each event to raise money for a cause. Their efforts raise between $250 and $1,000 at each show for the sponsored nonprofit. ‘It’s just a good thing to bring everyone together,’ Madigan said. The popularity of the slideshows, where attendees habitually outnumber seats, speaks to the passion for adventure in the area. It’s an event that fosters community, but also motivates and inspires people. ‘It’s very grassrootsy and organic,’ Madigan said. ‘We keep it pretty simple.’
This year, slideshow viewers climbed a first ascent in Greenland with Dave Nettle and traveled into the heart of Ethiopia with local photographer and Moonshine Ink contributor Ryan Salm. On Thursday, Jan. 27, seasoned mountaineer, guide, and founder of Alpenglow Expeditions Adrian Ballinger will take spectators to the roof of the world as he relates his eighth summit of Ama Dablam, a popular expedition in the Khumbu Valley in Nepal’s Himalayas. ‘If you go to the Everest region, Ama Dablam is the mountain you’re looking at the entire time,’ Ballinger said. ‘Everyone dreams about climbing it.’ A major aspect of Ballinger’s November ascent, however, involved removing abandoned equipment, ropes, trash, and human waste from the mountain. Ballinger’s team of sherpas and experienced climbers made multiple trips between the mountain’s base camp at 18,000 feet and Camp 3 at 21,000 feet to pick up a total of 7,000 feet of rope (an average recreational climbing rope is about 200 to 250 feet long) and some 300 to 400 pounds of garbage. ‘I see a lot of the great things we do as climbers, but I also see a lot of the abuse that we bring into these mountains,’ Ballinger said. ‘I want to see routes like this become safe, become cleaner, and become well managed so that more people can experience them.’ Proceeds from a raffle at Ballinger’s slideshow will benefit local nonprofit High Fives.
‘Tahoe has such an incredible group of athletes and inspirational people. I’m constantly blown away by what people do here,’ Ballinger said when asked about community slideshows. ‘I think that so many of them, you never hear their stories … It’s a great attitude, and I respect that humbleness, but at the same time I’d like to hear more of their stories. It’s part of what makes this community so cool.’
Adrian Ballinger’s slideshow ‘Ama Dablam: A Himalayan Tale of Adventure and Responsibility’ will take place on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Sawtooth Ridge Café in Tahoe City. Info: Alpenglow Sports, (530) 583-6917, alpenglowsports.com, Sawtooth Ridge Café, 877 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, (530) 583-2880, Alpenglow Expeditions, alpenglowexpeditions.com
The Back Country Lake Tahoe is hosting another series of presentations with the Lake Tahoe Adventure Slide Show Series. The event will be held once a month at Squaw Valley’s Olympic Plaza Bar. Come listen to Bishop local Dan Mingori talk about skiing in the High Sierra on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. Richard Leversee, a legendary climber, backcountry skier, and photographer, will take the mic next on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. Info: The Back Country, 690 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, (530) 581-5861, thebackcountry.net