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Learn to conquer mountains Saturday

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By Kirsten Laskey

Arno Ilgner offers a philosophy that helps people reach the top of any mountain, both real and metaphorical.

Ilgner will present his philosophy, called “Warrior’s Way,” during a presentation at 7 p.m. Friday at the Los Alamos Family YMCA.

He explained the presentation will include a slideshow and a talk based on his new book, “Espresso Lessons.”

Ilgner added the presentation will be a concentration and practical application of the material he teaches.

The material, he explained, takes an opposite approach to the saying, mind over matter. When encountering a risk, Ilgner said the mind does have intelligence is preparing for the risk, however, when the individual is actually engaged in the challenge there is a need to shift one’s attention to take action with their bodies to do what is required for the task.

Utilizing this method does not mean forcing the body to do something, but going through functions such as breathing, relaxing and moving as you climb.

The approach segments how an individual focuses their attention.

In rock climbing Ilgner said a person is either thinking or doing, but not blending the two together.

Ilgner has taught this approach to rock climbing for about 15 years.

Before publishing “Espresso Lessons,” he wrote “The Warrior’s Way.”

While “Warrior’s Way” is beneficial to rock climbers, it can be applied off rocky cliff faces, too. Non-climbers can benefit from the philosophy as well.

Ilgner said made the discovery at a juncture in his own life.

“When I turned 40, I was looking for a career and life work with what I enjoyed doing,” he said.

Ilgner continued, “I think we all desire to have the work we do be fulfilling and also we seem to not do that … When we all reach the time in our lives of the mid-life crisis, (we) question what we have done so far in adulthood.”

For him, Ilgner was looking for a way to create deeper meaning.

One of things that has been a great love for Ilgner since high school was rock climbing, so he decided to reach out to people through this activity.

He started studying rock climbing philosophies and testing out different concepts. It was a long process and some kinks had to be worked out, but Ilgner stuck to the challenge.

“It was a desire to do something in a field I enjoyed and knew something about,” he explained.

“I was senior in high school and a friend I had was a climber and involved in a lot of outdoor activities and he just took me climbing one day and I immediately loved it. It connected me to my love of the outdoors. … it just seemed like something that really resonated with me,” Ilgner said.

Ilgner said he is happy to host the presentation because it is a chance to get in front of climbers. People interested in climbing can learn how to apply “Warrior’s Way” in their lives and in climbing.

Sylvan Argo, YMCA Adventures programs director, said the excitement is mutual.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to have someone provide the kind of insights he has and help better develop and strengthen our climbing community through learning from him and we hope this is just the start of our relationship with him,” she said.

Argo added that the YMCA is “most excited to learn from his experiences. He has a very unique approach and I’ve heard first-hand from his students, he has completely changed their outlook and approach to climbing in amazing ways.

We’re just excited to share his insights with the community.”

In fact, it was one of his students from Los Alamos, Jason Hundhausen, who encouraged Ilgner to make his presentation in town.

In addition to the presentation, which is free, Ilgner will take a group of eight to the Santa Fe Climbing gym from 4- 8p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  

The fee for the clinic is $69 for gym members and $79 for non-members.