I want to be like Lothar Kolbig when I grow up, to have as many adventures around the world as he did. It is quite apparent that the overarching theme of his life was seasoned by a spirit of wanderlust and encouraging other to join in the excitement.
Lothar was a mountaineer and a noted whitewater rafter; the inventor the Corner-Paddle Modification, for paddles used in whitewater rafting today.
He was on the executive committee of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club in the early 1960’s, and founded the Chicago Mountaineering Club, serving as their president in the 1940’s and 1950’s. To honor his work, a rock climbing area is named after him at Devils Lake in Wisconsin – considered by some of the finest rock in the Midwest for climbing.
His list of travel accomplishments are legendary. He documented his adventures in film, journals and travel logs from the 1930’s thru the 1970’s. Lothar chronicled his many back packing trips in Canada, Colorado, and Wyoming; whitewater rafting down rivers in Canada, California, and Peru; mountain climbing in Alaska, Africa, Afghanistan, the Alps, the Canadian Rockies, the High Sierras, India, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Tibet.
Having poured over his archived files at the American Heritage Center, I felt like a sleuth following the footsteps of his life. In my opinion, Lothar seemed to overindulge in everything he found adventurous, but not with reckless abandon, rather he applied a thoughtful scholarly astuteness to his exploits, carefully researching everything he could know about where he planned to travel. I suspect he wanted to make sure that no time was wasted and everyday could be enjoyed to it fill. With mindfulness he documented his adventures, to revisit and share with others later, and perhaps to encourage others to set out on their own escapades.
Post contributed by AHC Senior Office Associate Matthew Troyanek