Meet the Team: Nate Penney

This week, we caught up with CAG’s lead climbing guide, Nate! Nate has spent many a day this summer providing fantastic rock climbing experiences for our guests. He loves to teach and help climbers surprise themselves with their own abilities. After an adventure, find him refueling with tacos, reading his favorite author, Jon Krakauer, or listening to the music of Frank Zappa. Read on for more about Nate in his own words.

CAG: What’s the adventure currently at the top of your bucket list?

Nate: The Southeast Face (5.10c) of Lotus Flower Tower in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Northwest Territories—18 pitches of pristine granite in one of the most remote places on Earth. Sign me up! 

CAG: Tell us about your proudest adventure accomplishment.

Nate: Backpacking and canoe packing Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior. I’ve dreamt about it since I was a kid. My partner Sarah and I finally got around to it for our honeymoon, and we saw the most incredible double rainbow of our lives out there! 

Nate on the trail with his newest adventure buddy.

CAG: Tell us about a time you learned an important lesson in the backcountry.

Nate: After hiking ten miles on the first day of a weeklong backpacking trip, I found that a can of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale had pierced and soaked much of my gear. I learned that if I’m going to bring beer for the first night of a backpacking trip, I need to pack it mindfully, or better yet, put it in my buddy’s pack!

CAG: Do you have any pets?

Nate: I have one cat named Cat Stevens, but I just call him Steve. 

CAG: Do you speak any other languages? Have any unusual hobbies? 

Nate: I took Spanish, German, and Mandarin in school but don’t speak any of them fluently. Music is a hobby… I mainly play drums/ percussion, but I dabble in keys, guitar, and ukulele. I home brew my own beer. I brew commercially too, but that is more of a job than a hobby.

CAG: Do you prepare a certain meal or dessert particularly well?

Nate: That’s a tough one because I cook a lot! I am most proud of my pies, but I usually only make them for special occasions. 

CAG: What’s the coolest moment you’ve had while guiding for CAG?

Nate: The coolest moments are whenever I can help someone to overcome a perceived barrier by confronting new challenges. I love seeing the transformation in people when they do something they didn’t know they could do.

CAG: What’s one thing you’ve learned from a guest you’ve guided?

Nate: that it’s never too late to learn new skills

CAG: What’s one source of inspiration for you on your adventures or on the adventure of life?

Nate: I’m inspired by personal growth and development of relationships through shared experiences. I love how an adventure can change our perspective and leave us with more questions than when we started.