Sierra Club Outdoors


One of the students who participates in the Chicago branch of Inspiring Connections Outdoors, Leopaldo Hernandez, talks about how ICO has shaped his relationship with nature. Check out his YouTube video!
—Leopaldo Hernandez, Chicago participant, soon to be leader.

 "Sierra Club Military Outdoors is simple and brilliant.  Ice climbing for my first time with this group was everything I could ask for. The contracted guide service was more than helpful, knowledgeable and safe.  We were even fortunate enough to have one of America’s greatest climbers of Conrad Anker to not only give motivation and climb with us, but coaching and assisting in improving climbing techniques. The selected group of veterans was of different back grounds and experiences.  We had a great common denominator throughout us and that was we all were people of strong resilience, military background, a passion for the outdoors and a drive to excel in the path that lay ahead. Using outdoors as your sanctuary is not anything new, throughout the ages this has been a place people of all types have come to relax, think and just find themselves.  The fact that Sierra Club is reaching out to the Military as an audience for this is quite awesome. Hyalite Canyon was a beautiful piece of land with great ice climbing and views to be lost in as you gained the elevation on each pitch. I wish to give a thanks to SCMO for such an opportunity to learn a new skill, enjoy and meet new and other veterans who enjoy nature, and a chance for me to get back to nature in it’s rare beauty."
 Army First Sergeant Mike Pickerel

" For 7 days, the Boston Basin became my home. It welcomed me with frustration, exhaustion, and more than my share of bruises. The mountain took every opportunity to test my physical strength and psychological vulnerabilities. Every night, defeated, I sat under the stars wondering why I took on this journey. Every morning the crisp air of the sunrise reminded me why. Life gets complicated after deployment. Every day for almost a year, I left a piece of myself in the mountains of Afghanistan.  In that void, the sight, smell, and sounds of war followed me home. I thought that I was climbing the North Cascades make a film. But that's not why the mountain called my name. The mountain wanted to return something to me that was left behind on a battlefield on the other side of the world...  My peace. My purpose. My sanity. Words cannot express how thankful I am to the Sierra Club Outdoors and Adventure Film School for giving me the opportunity to heal the wounds of war through fun, friendship, and filmmaking.There is no better place to clear you mind than being in the great outdoors. If you can't see the forest through the trees, then get above the tree line."
— Elle Hansen, OIF, OEF Veteran

From Our Blog

1 month 2 weeks ago
Inspired by Outdoor Afro's call to lead #HealingHikes, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming State Conference and the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter announced a series of Healing Hikes to take place in the coming months of 2015.  ...
1 month 2 weeks ago
Last week, on Thursday February 5th I joined with eighty people, many I had never met before to spend six hours inside, learning about the powerful impact time outside, in nature, has on the human body and why understanding its affects, namely the feeling of awe, is so important for us all. It was...
1 month 4 weeks ago
I had the honor and privilege to attend the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Sierra Club’s Puerto Rico Chapter last weekend. I knew I would see a different sort of Sierra Club – after all it is Puerto Rico! But what I experienced was beyond my expectations. Puerto Rico Sierra Club showed me the...
2 months 1 week ago
With the opening of 2015, we want to tell you what we have tentatively planned for the year. But before we do that, let’s review 2014.This year, over 265,000 people went outdoors with Sierra Club Outdoors' trip leaders and volunteers through Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), Local Outdoors and...