Archive for April, 2010

MSI Adds 2nd Peru’10 Program


Tai Chi, Huaraz, Peru

We’ve decided to add a second program headed to Peru for August. If you’d like to learn more about the program, dates and cost, visit our webpage. The program will focus Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca. This is our twelfth year leading educational programs to Peru.  Before that, R. Richards was guiding high altitude summits.
“It’s not about tourism and snapping images” says founder Richards. “Like all our programs, it’s about learning from the culture, giving back with service, a smile and learning the language, and of course stepping out of your comfort zone.”
We will also be working more with Jorge Martel in the Cordillera Blanca on the range’s east side. Stay tuned to see images of this  region. If you’d like information please contact us.

Snatam Kaur Benefit Concert for MSI


Mountain Spirit Institute announces Benefit Concert with Snatam Kaur

Snatam Kaur

Snatam Kaur will be playing at the Lebanon, NH, USA Opera House on September 1st, 2010 for a evening of meditative music. Kaur is an internationally known recording artist, who’s music is highly soul soothing.

Say Cindy Heath, Mountain Spirit Board Member and Coordinator of the concert, “I happened to be at a Kripalu event and heard her playing for a yoga event. I had remembered her music when we had it playing at a MSI board meeting.” Adds Heath, “When I approached them to see if they’d be interested in Snatam playing under an invitation from Mountain Spirit Institute as a fundraiser concert for the organization, they eventually said yes.”

It took a while, but after the booking person looked at MSI’s website, they deemed our organization has a similar mission to Snatam’s.  Tickets for the concert will be sold through the Lebanon Opera House

Concert in Toronto

“I was first introduced to Snatam’s music by my wife, Amanda, who listened to Kaur’s music while attending meditation and yoga retreats in India during the summer of 2008,” says Randy Richards, director of Mountain Spirit.  “I have just about worn out Snatam’s CD’s, and when we heard from Cindy that she had met Snatam and there might be the possibility of a concert, we jumped at the chance.”

Read more about the upcoming Snatam Kaur/Mountain Spirit Institute Benefit Concert  at our webpage on the concert. To listen and learn more about Snatam’s music visit her website.

Excellent Book on Peruvian Textiles


Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands

Handwoven Fabrics: Living History
Handwoven fabrics are the living history and cultural treasure of the Peruvian Highlands. The weavers who create these extraordinary textiles are the keepers of the culture and sustainers of a noble but difficult lifestyle in tune with the earth.  This book, Weaving in the Peruvian Andes celebrates their authentic, well-crafted work by showing varied and distinctive styles of traditional clothing, the basics of how fabric is created from spinning to dyeing to weaving,  the way traditional crafts are passed from one generation to another, the names and meaning of the myriad textile designs that reflect the culture and history of the people, and the rituals and celebrations in which woven fabrics play such an important role.

N.C. Alvarez

Author Nilda Callañaupa Alverez is founder and director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. She has established weaving associations through the Andean highlands to preserve a tradition of handmade textiles and to promote economic development. She lives in Cusco and in her native community of Chinchereo, Peru.

All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco.

Mountain Spirit Institute focuses on weaving during our educational programs in Peru.  Learn more at

The Mind: “Just Stop It!”


Be Here Now
Being in the present moment is all there  is. This light-hearted skit by Bob Newhart on MadTV illustrates this message with brevity and humor.
Amanda and I attend a wonderful “Open Hearted Listening” group along with other couples, once per month,  facilitated by the wise Don Rosenthal, about whom I’ve written in a prior post.  Last night, some of were talking about first, observing our behaviors that are like useless baggage we’re carrying around, and simply drop the behavior, like one would a hot coal.  Enjoy..

Editor’s Note: Thought I’d include something:  That those with cases of clinical depression and similar diagnosed issues, being told to “stop it” could probably cause quite serious repercussions.  I was talking with a friend today who’s a psychologist (it wasn’t an appointment). I mentioned this skit and the premise. She replied, “That’s funny, sometimes I feel like saying “Stop it” to my clients,” adding, “Who would they be without their stories.”, Indeed, who would each one of us be, without our stories.

Tolle states that the there really isn’t that much difference between a stranger wandering down the sidewalk muttering to himself, and the rest of us, only the rest of us don’t do it out loud. We’ve don’t know to find the “off button”. The instrument has taken us over. Similar to an air conditioner making a background hum, the mind makes background noise with endless commentary and thought. Only  when we “stop it” do we notice the peace. That’s something to think about.

Chimu Inka Yuks It Up


Capt. Guillermo

During their last tour in the U.S., Chimu Inka had some time to check out New England, kick their feet up and have some fun. Here are some images of light moments during their stay with us in Sunapee, NH.

We stopped at a novelty shop in Portsmouth, NH. Guillermo Seminario had time to try on some of of the various headpieces that the U.S. has to offer.

Wachi Taype, stylin'

Wachi Taype also saw some sunglasses that seemed to fit him quite well. At least that’s what we thought.

When we visited the Statue or Liberty, Mario Montalvo was jumping for joy over his opportunity to visit the Big Apple.  When we last saw the group in Cuzco, Wachi reflected on his U.S. experience – “Randy, our visit to the U.S. seems like dream”, adding, “Did it really happen?”

Mario, enthusiastic in NYC

I assured him it had, and with providence, it will happen again! We can’t wait to have these bright souls back in the U.S.A., and of course for a tour to New Zealand when we’re there.

Chamonix Ice


Ice bouldering near Chamonix

By D.R. Richards


I got some shots of this ice climber practicing on the glacier just near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel in Chamonix, France. It’s a great place to practice with good top-rope sites.

There are more images but these two seemed the most dramatic, especially with the gaping circular crevasse below. It reminds me of the threat of circling the drain.

Where do you start? How do you  lower to flat ground? Not to worry, there was a good ice ledge where climbers can tie in. Ykes!

Inbox: Ho’Oponopono Works


Hopono'ono (Sp!)

Ho’O What?
Old Hawaiian system of communication and engaging with the universe that actually works to make a better world.

I’ve been meaning to write about  this book for a while, and a recent email prompted me to follow through. On one hand, while the cover, and some of the book’s precepts are a bit hokey, such as getting the woman and car you want, I doubt I’d be married to the wonderful woman that’s my wife, had I not actively engaged the universe and actually asked for what I want. I was using this technique during the summer just before we met. I was leading a mountaineering course in Alaska at the time, and while in the mountains, practiced the technique about 30 times per day. This book illustrates a technique that has quite a track record and impressive story behind it. Below is an email from a good friend to whom I recommended the book and technique.  As Tolle says, “Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess?” This technique helps you do your part to clean up the mess.

Hi Randy,
I really enjoyed our conversation today.
Shortly after our conversation, I Googled some reviews of “Zero Limits” as well as several pages of the book itself in the form of a preview. In it are perhaps the most potentially life changing ideas I have ever encountered. I thank you very much for introducing it to me. I am going to order copies for several friends and myself.

Dear J,
Yes, this technique of simply saying “I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you”, is still working wonders in my life. It’s time to raise the bar for all of us, isn’t it.
Thanks for the link to Meninger. I’ll check it out.
Looking forward to seeing you.
Warmest regards,

Sustainability and the American Mind


Another Tear-Down

Seminario, performing in Keene, NH

Guillermo Seminario, the director of Chimu Inka, the Peruvian band came to the U.S under invitation from Mountain Spirit Institute to run a program to perform and teach about Peruvian folklore music in 2008.  In one Vermont town, we were being housed in a very nice old residence in one of the more ritzy parts of town. At one point during the evening, Guillermo turned to me, shaking his head, saying, “In Peru, there are children without food, and a place to sleep.” He queried, “It confusing me, seeing such wealth in your country when Peru is so poor in many parts of my country.”

Our Peruvian Guests on the Coast, NH

We  have thought and discussed this much since that day. Tearing down a perfectly good house just doesn’t seem right.

It’s more than, “Finish your broccoli, there are people starving in other countries,” but it stems from the same disconnect. It’s true the U.S and other 1st world country’s inhabitants are happily oblivious to our role in contributing to The Empire’s excesses. It’s time to think small, and stop the waste. I have a gut feeling this level of living will not continue, mostly due to peak oil. It’s actually quite obvious.

Eastern Alpine Ski Touring


I’d grown up, skiing every spring, on Mt. Washington’s east side – Tuckerman’s, Gulf of Slides, and Great Gulf. Once,  I think I took one run, years ago on the west side,  but last week Junji Itagaki suggested we head up to his favorite haunt. I don’t often get in ski touring mode when back east, but the west side of Mt. Washington is as close as it gets to a wonderful alpine touring experience on the east coast of the U.S.
We climbed up Munro Gully, then headed to the Lake of the Clouds, then over to the summit of Mt. Washington, for a nice descent down Ammonoosuc Ravine, on thick but great snow. I think we had record-breaking temperatures that day. (See my earlier post on getting kids outside, which was filmed in Ammonoosuc Ravine).

Mt. Washington's West Side

Pictured above, Junji Itagaki, Lake of the Clouds and its Hut, Mt. Washington to the right.

Children in the Mountains


Mountain Family Doesn’t Stop Exploring When Kids Enter the Picture

Junji Itagaki, Mt. Washington, NH, USA

Junji Itagaki and I were backcountry skiing from Mount Washington’s summit last week, and descended down Ammonoosuc Ravine when we passed by family encamped in the base of the ravine. They were still setting up camp in a safe area, off to the side of the avalanche zone,  when I asked them for a short interview.
The families in many cultures don’t stop going outside, hiking or backcountry skiing in the mountains when their children are born. They intentionally introduce their children to camping, hiking and skiing. Here’s a great example of that in New England….