BACKPACKER HQ is nestled safely within the shadow of the Front Range mountains of Colorado, where Democrat Mark Udall just won an open senate seat in a tough race against Republican Bob Schaffer. While we don't like to get too political here at BP, it is nice to know that your state rep shares your interests, regardless of political affiliation. You see, Udall is an avid outdoorsman and quite the climbing badass—just try and tell us that isn't cool.
In addition to hailing from a famous family of conservation-centric politicians, he's built an impressive mountaineering resume: Udall topped out on Kanchenjunga, the third-tallest mountain in the world, and he attempted the North Face of Everest before being turned back by vicious storms at 25,550 feet. He's also climbed hard routes on Aconcagua and Denali, and Udall even served as an Outward Bound instructor and later became executive director of the Colorado branch.
While on Denali, Udall came close to disaster when he was pinned by a storm and ran out of food, but he survived and even completed his route. That type of tenacity should help out in Congress—here's hoping a senator who shares our interests keeps them at heart when he votes.