- The Washington Times - Monday, August 24, 2009

When President Obama took his family out West to take in the wide open spaces of Montana recently, one of the many people camping out to see them was none other than world famous rock climber and outdoorsman Conrad Anker.

We caught up with the 40-something ruggedly handsome alpinist at the opening of the new Georgetown North Face, the outdoor clothing retailer for which Mr. Anker is a spokesman.

The guests took time out from their shopping to be regaled by Mr. Anker’s tales of two decades of braving the elements and his fear to climb some of the most daunting mountains in the world. His most recent expedition was to Meru, India, where he lived with two members of his team on the side of a rock wall for nearly a month.

Although Mr. Anker’s camping expedition in his own backyard of Bozeman, Mont., did not yield a meeting with the president, he told us that he’s delighted to see the president take his children on activities that expose them to the beauty of nature and that he thinks it will set an example for other families looking for one more summer sojourn before Labor Day arrives.

An avid activist, Mr. Anker makes the trek up the mountain of Capitol Hill sometimes twice a year to meet and greet politicians and discuss the importance of outdoor recreation and environmental causes.

“The healthier we keep our mountains, lakes and forests, the healthier citizens we will be. It’s also preventive health care. You can’t get the same effects on a treadmill looking out the window.”

When G2 asked what outdoor activities we East Coasters can do in our neck of the woods, he suggested “the Smokies, North Carolina, and skiing.”

Look for Mr. Anker to come back this fall on a project with National Geographic.

No trouble this time

Comedian Wanda Sykes, who caused a bit of a ruckus after making controversial remarks at last spring’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, returned to Washington last week, and G2 hears that she kept the political barbs to a minimum.

Miss Sykes gave two performances at the Warner Theatre over the weekend. The shows were being taped and will be aired on HBO in October.

Miss Sykes delivered some hard-hitting lines at that dinner, many of the jokes aimed at conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. Well, this time she mostly left the Republicans alone.

She did, however, take shots at the health care debate, the controversy over the arrest of scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., immigration, education, the new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and both Barack and Michelle Obama.

Miss Sykes also mentioned her dinner appearance:

“Last time I was here, I got into a little trouble,” Miss Sykes said.

“The president laughed, and he got into a little trouble.

“But the funny thing was, I was holding back.

“Tonight I’m not holding back.

“I am going for one of these beer summits.”

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@washingtontimes.com.

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