Home / Archive by category "Blog"



Genius is the intersection of ideas and effort. Thomas Edison famously said that his inventive ratio was one part inspiration to ninety-nine parts perspiration. In CLC, we believe that while anybody may (and does) have good ideas, few put in the work needed to make them seem “genius”. While CLC has been described as “genius”, we think we may look so smart because, from start to finish, we are a place where effort is expected, appreciated and rewarded. We work.

Yes, we have good ideas, and the work ethic to bring them to life. But one more critical ingredient is needed that Edison didn’t mention: collaboration. Our real genius is to take that inspiration plus perspiration and multiply it with collaboration. Ultimately, we look so smart because we work well together. In a great team, we don’t just care about our own success, or “team” success, but also the success of every individual team member. We push, pull and sometimes carry each other to the great heights.

Once our inspiration/perspiration/collaboration approach is churning away, are are a few more guiding ideas to add to the mix:

  • Our outdoor program puts us in locales that motivate, reward, and discipline. Nature inspires but it must be approached with respect. Nature’s rules apply evenly to all, and out there, we receive immediate feedback and real consequences. When you get it right (or wrong) out there, it’s all on you.


  • Every person in CLC rises according to their contribution and ability. While all status is earned, we appreciate that just showing up and trying hard is itself a healthy contribution. New, young and inexperienced members are highly esteemed because they have stepped out and taken the risk to try something new. That’s not nothing; it’s a big deal. Once upon a time, each of us was new to the game. Regardless of seniority or experience, we each face challenges at the edge of our own abilities whenever we dare to learn something new.



  • The notion of fun is always present, but it is “Deep Fun”. Deep Fun means making the choice to enjoy the growth, even in the form of growth pains, because the big results always demand real sacrifice. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, so we have decided that even when the going is difficult, we are having fun. This commitment to fun is contagious, and our people support each other through thick and thin.


This is all to say that “genius” is not something that just shows up for a person. It is a an active quality, not a latent one, and it needs to be worked for. Genius is the result of creativity and effort, and it shows up more frequently when people work together to accomplish difficult things.

We hope you enjoy our new website. It’s filled with images of people discovering their genius. Please come back often because we will keep it fresh and inviting. But mostly, we hope it inspires you to come Out There with us.

-Mark Steelquist




Early on November 15th, 2014, a group of CLC members new and old packed up the van and headed south to the City of Roses. With the intention of being able to enjoy Portland well into the night the team stopped to at Paradise Point State Park and set up camp. With a lightened load and eager spirits, the group headed on to Downtown Portland.

After a brief review of the itinerary, everyone bundled up to ward of the sub-freezing weather and headed out after receiving the all important hipster hunt bingo boards. The initial burst of competition quickly lightened as everyone switched into urban explorer mode. Groups wandered all over downtown, seeing many sites such as the food cart market, Portland City Hall, the waterfront farmers market, before finally ending up back at Powell's Books. Highlights include a beatboxing didgeridoo performance by The Urban Shaman, a very retro arcade, and two adorably yarn-bombed otter sculptures.

The group reassembled for dinner (pizza) and piled into the van to head back to their already made camp. The promise of hot-cocoa and cider lured people to the campfire for awhile, but with temperatures plunging into the 20's it's allure faded quickly.

We awoke to the sound of playful puppy barks. The camp host had two adorable corgi puppies that were desperately in need of love, and we were ever so eager to provide it. In fact we loved them so much that some group members decided to adopt them on the spot, and they ended up in the van with the rest of the team.

With everyone finally awake we broke camp and left for home with our recently acquired canine cargo in tow. After stopping for breakfast along the way we arrived back in Seattle mid-afternoon with high spirits thanks to the CD of The Shaman Man that was on repeat all drive long.




I participated in a great partnership in September. Myself and other youth-whitewater-guides from the non-profit Cascade Leadership Challenge went down the Tieton River with the life coaches from the Seattle area. Here is a link to a blog from one of those life coaches, Gene Gousie, helping to sum up the great conversations we were able to have on this trip: "Someday they'll run into something they've never seen before. And they'll know what to do." Hopefully this relationship with life coaches will continue to inform our philosophy and method of learning in the outdoors.
-Frances Steelquist