By Hannah Parker
Mira Costa junior Aaron Kissel literally defies gravity, as he uses his mountaineering skills to climb daunting slopes around the world.
According to Kissel, mountaineering is a sport in which participants climb unconventional terrain in order to reach a destination. Kissel began participating in the sport in 2013. His first true trip was with his dad in Maine, who according to Kissel, has continued to join him on trips since.
“I was drawn into this sport because of the challenges that it poses,” Kissel said. “It was difficult when I first began, but now I am learning more about mountains and how I can improve to climb more difficult mountains.”
This school year, Kissel has traveled to Colorado, Wyoming and Montana and the Sierra Nevada mountains to mountaineer and backcountry skiing. According to Kissel, he makes sure that he schedules his trips around school breaks in order to prioritize academics.
“It’s obviously a challenge to balance school and my personal interests,” Kissel said. “In the future I know I will continue to mountaineer so I also keep that in mind. I get to meet interesting people and personally improve which is very rewarding.”
Kissel traveled to the Sierra Nevadas spontaneously over Thanksgiving break with his dad due to the sudden influx of snow. In January Kissel and his dad went to Aspen, Colorado for two days to backcountry ski. Kissel also spent ski-week in Yellowstone, Wyoming and Big Sky, Montana with family friends.
According to Kissel, he has planned multiple exploring-based expeditions for over the summer. He plans on mountaineering Kings Canyon in the Yosemite mountain range in May and travel with his dad to Maine again. He is also planning a scuba diving trip to Anacapa Island off the Coast of Ventura, California.
“I’m really excited for what is to come,” Kissel said. “Each trip I try to challenge myself in a new way so I’m looking forward to this summer to work on improving.”
According to Kissel, he would like to focus on mountaineering in more remote locations. His dream trip is to spend two weeks in the Swiss Alps to mountaineer the peaks that are unreachable during the winter.
“In the future I would really like to focus on going to places where it’s just me and the outdoors,” Kissel said. “Along with that goal, I would like to focus on exploring new mountain ranges in Europe and continue to push myself to try my hardest.”