Mountain High 

No doubt most boys go through a firebug phase in their youth, some never outgrow it, and many cultivate a great deal of acumen when it comes to fire-building. Just watch grown boys around a campfire: judging, eye-rolling, second-guessing the one who started it. As a youngster I learned many ways to start fires. I had 10 or so of the old plastic film canisters filled with a multitude of fire-making methods—cotton balls covered in petroleum jelly, pitch dipped in motor oil, black powder, magnesium shavings and other more secretive methods that caused more than a few near misses. The draw to fire is undeniable, and lighting one well is still considered a manly pursuit. (Not to leave the ladies out. Why, I once knew a gal who could start a fire with half of a wooden matchstick. We called her Grandma).

Regardless of gender, teaching teenagers how to do anything can be tough. Ask the folks at InnerRoads Wilderness Program: They run a six-week intervention for at-risk teens that combines outdoor activities with family and community building. InnerRoads will also host a course on how to light a fire with a bow and drill at the Missoula REI—basically, the raddest skill on Earth. The store will be taking gifts of gently used outdoor gear for the program throughout the month of December.

Learn to make Fire by Friction with a bow and drill during InnerRoads Wilderness Program Community Night, at REI on Tue., Dec. 13 from 6:30 to 8 PM. 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Go to and click the InnerRoads Wilderness Program tab for more info.

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You'll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center's Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

History dorks unite! The Ravalli County Museum hosts a free lecture with Brian Shovers, Celebrating Montana Place Names. Learn the origins of Old Stinky Trapper Creek or if there is such a place. 205 Bedford, Hamilton. 6–7:30 PM. Free.

Mountaineering ain't no joke, man. Swing by REI and find out what gear you'll need to reach the peaks at their Mountaineering Clinic. 6:30–8 PM. Free.

Get vicarious at UM Geology Prof. Emeritus Gray Thompson's rock climbing presentation, with pics and tales of far away lands and close calls, including the Matterhorn, Denali and the Lotus Flower Tower. UM McGill Hall, Rm. 210. 7 PM. Free.


All of the following sounds awesome: Run Wild Missoula hosts an Aqua Jog Class and Holiday Pool Party at Currents, one class at 5:30 and one at 6:15 PM, then hit the slides, people. 600 Cregg Ln. 5:30–8 PM. Free.

Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club's (formerly the Flathead Valley Over the Hill Gang) weekly meeting to talk about being awesome, past glories and upcoming activities. Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.


Great, you bought a transceiver. You are Mr. and Mrs. Safetytown. Now how abouts we learn to use them, hmm? No worries, the kids down at the UM Outdoor Program are here to help you figure out what all those straps and buzzers and buttons do at their Transceiver Clinic. 9–2 PM. $15. Call 243-5172.

Love taking the kids out into the snow? Don't have the gear? Pay close attention because there is bunch of info coming your way. Missoula Children and Nature invite the kids and the fam along for a Snowshoe Saunter, sponsored by REI (they got the shoes, yo!). Meet at the Montana Natural History Center at 10 AM sharp. Free transport. Free snowshoes. RSVP by Dec. 8 by calling Ellie at 330-410-0236.


At Slacker Mondays, from 6 PM until close, slackline fans can come to Freestone Climbing Center at 935 Toole Ave to test their balance. $13/$10 for students. Visit

Be a better boarder or skier and learn to tune your gear at REI's Basic Ski and Snowboard Maintenance Class. Stay sharp, stay waxed. Leave the boards at home for this one. 6:30–8 PM. Free. Call 541-1938.

The Christmas Bird Count is blowing in my friends, but first the Flathead Audubon Society wants to prep the peeps for viewing and counting and the like, with virtual birding, slides and more. The Summit. 205 Sunnyview Ln., Kalispell. Free.

If your father's voice reminding you that you're not good enough doesn't keep you pumping those legs all year long, check out Run Wild Missoula's Stay Motivated to Run Through the Winter seminar. Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. 7 PM. Free.

Five Valleys Audubon is meeting up to discuss bird research at the 8,000-acre private conservation property, the MPG Ranch. UM, Gallagher Business Building, Rm. L14. 7:30 PM.


You'll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center's Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

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