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Spotlight Employee: Katie Wade

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016


Katie Wade Joshua Tree

Katie Wade climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Backpacking and rock climbing are tied.

How long have you been doing it?

I went on my first backpacking trip at a summer camp near Yosemite in high school and rock climbed for the first time at the climbing gym on my college campus freshman year.

Tell us about the most rad experience you ever had?

This is a hard one because every outdoor adventure has had its own rad elements. That’s actually one of my favorite parts of spending time outdoors is that the conditions are unpredictable and often surprising—whether you happen upon a whale breaching not far from where you are sea kayaking or see a baby bear run by the creek you stopped at for a drink (both I’ve had the good fortune to witness). Every trip has its moments of rad-ness. If I have to pick one experience, it would be my recent two week trip to Ecuador for my honeymoon where I got to summit the tallest point on the planet from the center of the earth, Chimborazo volcano at 20,400 ft. It was challenging and thrilling, a great way to start the adventure of marriage.

What is the scariest experience you have had?

One backpacking trip in college I brought my favorite old sleeping bag instead of my newer one. The group decided to sleep outside under the stars instead of in our tents and the night ended up getting very cold. It was too cold out for my old sleeping bag and I barely slept. In the morning my group tried to get me up, but I was mumbling, stumbling, and fumbling—all signs of hypothermia. It was an out-of-body experience where everything seemed to be moving in slow motion and I felt like I had no control over my mind or body. It was terrifying. My friends recognized what was happening right away thanks to many of them being Wilderness First Responders and they took action to warm me up. It was almost an hour until I was back to normal and I realized then how pivotal a single piece of gear can be to your survival. Needless to say, my old sleeping bag was retired from backpacking after that trip.

What do you take with you?

On every backpacking trip I’ve taken in the last few years I carry my Granite Gear 55L backpack with my trusty Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag and my Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight 0.9 Kit. The rest of the gear varies on conditions, location and the length of the trip. I try to go as lightweight as I can with all of my gear, but still like to bring some comforts like my inflatable pillow and electric toothbrush.

Where’s your next climbing adventure?

The next climbing adventure will probably be locally here in the Bay Area as I try to get out as often as possible—the next big adventure in general is a week-long backpacking and canyoneering trip in the Grand Canyon this spring.

Any advice for people interested in taking an adventure?

I think all adventures are great because they come in all shapes and sizes from trying a new fruit you’ve never tasted to wind surfing for the first time. I highly encourage everyone to spend time outdoors, whether it’s sitting on a park bench reading or climbing vertical ice—breath in the fresh air, smell the flowers, listen to the birds, and remember that you’re a living part of this world that is full of things waiting to be discovered.