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After the great heights of Meru, there's no place like home

 

Mount Hunter. Vinson Massif. Latok II. Tsering Masong. Rakekniven Peak. Even before the Himalayan expedition documented in the stunning new film, Meru, mountaineer Conrad Anker had amassed a list of first ascents spanning the wildest terrain on the planet. A self-described "climber's climber," he's a master of rock, ice, and snow known for taking on routes that others dismiss as impossible.

@conrad_anker

For those who know him from documentaries and magazine covers (Outside has dubbed him, over the years, an "action hero" with an "obsession" and a "career in overdrive") it may be surprising to learn that Conrad's passions lie not only on storm-blasted summits—but also in some quieter spots close to home.

Home is Bozeman, Montana, where Conrad and his wife, Jenni Lowe-Anker, are longtime advocates for local parks. Most recently, they've joined The Trust for Public Land's effort to build Story Mill Community Park, a unique open space being designed by the friends and neighbors—like the Ankers—who will use it.

 The Trust for Public Land is working to transform 55 acres in Bozeman, Montana, into the flagship Story Mill Community Park. Photo credit: Christi Cooper-Kuhn

When we asked what makes Story Mill so important to someone with his climbing resume, Conrad explained that local parks are his place to rest and recharge after expeditions abroad. "When I come back to a park, I still have that essential feeling of being away from civilization," he told us. "It's a place that I can rejuvenate."

Jenni, an artist, has drawn her creative inspiration from Montanan landscapes and wildlife from a very young age—she knows the value of an early start in building a connection to nature."It's so important to have nature at your back door," she says. "We're raising stewards of future generations when we bring kids out into places like this."

Conrad agrees. He's got the same message for everyone who values the opportunity to get outside—whether on a weekend family camping trip or a 21,000-foot peak. "If you enjoy the outdoors, it's your responsibility to care for it.“

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