LA Mountaineers: ‘Trekking Nepal Peaks for Dummies – A Himalayan Adventure’ by Climber Carol Kotcheck

Carol Kotchek in the Himalayas. Courtesy/Carol Kotchek


The September meeting of the Los Alamos Mountaineers will feature a presentation by Carol Kotchek, a staff member at the American Alpine Club who has been climbing for more than 30 years, including a number of years working classic climbs in the Yosemite Valley.

Her presentation, though, will focus on a trek up a 6,100-meter peak in the Khumu region of Nepal. Normally a climber who prefers t-shirt weather and steep rock, Kotchek says that on a whim she decided to get a taste of some Himalayan altitude. She will offer lessons in how an inexperienced and naïve mountaineering neophyte prevailed during her Himalayan trek, sharing both the joys and the pitfalls, the ignorance and the luck, that accompanied her to the summit. 

The LA Mountaineers meeting will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Fuller Lodge. 

Kotchek has been on staff at the AAC in Golden, Colo., since 2002. She started climbing at the City of Rocks, Idaho, in the era of painter pants, rugby shirts, and clanging hexes.

“Having climbed through the leopard skin lycra phase I’m now back to placing trad gear with an occasional foray to sport climbing areas,” she said. 

Her 15 minutes of fame was being the cover girl on the City of Rocks guide book for many years. Kotchek has been actively involved in climbing access issues for many years. She was on the City of Rocks climbing management team, the Las Vegas Climber’s Liaison Council (when she lived in Las Vegas, Nev., for two winters), and is currently on the Flatirons Climbing Council.

“Although working on committees can be frustrating, it is great to see the truly positive results of your efforts a few years down the road,” she says. 

Working at the AAC has provided Kotchek another opportunity to participate in the preservation of the sport of climbing and she says she hopes that efforts put in now will elevate the climbing experience for future generations. Kotchek is actively involved in organizing an International Climbers meet in Yosemite this fall. She spent eight years as an EMT on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team, with 100s of Yosemite rescues, and has climbed Half Dome 16 times.

The monthly meeting of the LA Mountaineers begins with refreshments, reports on recent and upcoming LAM-sponsored trips, a “safety minute” courtesy of one of the members, and a feature presentation.

The Los Alamos Mountaineers, founded in 1952, promotes a variety of outdoor-oriented activities. For information on the Mountaineers and upcoming trip opportunities, including skiing, hiking, biking and horse-packing, visit