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UMW professors featured in the Montana Professor

UMW News Bureau

Steve Mock in Nepal with Krishna Gopal ShresthaThe mountain climbing and educational passions of University of Montana Western Professor of Chemistry Steve Mock were profiled in the spring 2011 issue of The Montana Professor by Mock’s colleague, UMW Professor of English Alan Weltzien.

Mock has been climbing since 1981 and teaching chemistry and rock climbing at Montana Western since 1991.

Weltzien took all three rock climbing classes taught by Mock as well as an ice climbing class and “knows firsthand Mock’s gifts as a hands-on teacher.”

“He continually teaches care and prudence, habits of continually checking equipment, so that new climbers learn discipline along with climbing’s peculiar adrenaline rushes,” Weltzien wrote.

Mock’s reputation as a skilled climbing instructor recently afforded him an invitation to Nepal in January 2008 to join other Western climbers in teaching annual climbing courses at the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC).

Famed Bozeman, Mont.-based climbers Conrad Anker and Jenny Lowe-Anker founded the KCC in 2003. The KCC is funded by the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation and has offered annual climbing courses to Nepalese climbing guides since 2004.

The KCC courses teach guides safer and more effective climbing skills, which are vital to their tourism-based economy.

The grandeur of Mount Everest provides the backdrop for Nepal’s Khumbu region, which is where the KCC courses are taught. Mock was one of KCC’s lead instructors and the director of the basic class in January 2011. In winter 2012 he will again return to Nepal to be KCC’s director.

When not teaching rock climbing in the Himalayas, Mock can be found both in the classroom and out in the mountains with his rock climbing students.

Mock also helped found the UMW Climbing Club with several students during the 2010-2011 academic year. Nine members of the club travelled to the Red Rocks west of Las Vegas, Nev. during Montana Western’s 2011 spring break. Mock joined the students for their climb, bringing his dedication to climbing and teaching far beyond the walls of his classrooms.

“He is great as a constant teacher and someone to do big things with,” Montana Western alumna and former club member Katie Redfield said. “He has amazing faith in you.”

In Weltzien’s profile, Mock’s inspirational qualities as an instructor are infectious.

“Not many individuals fuse a talent for climbing with a talent for teaching as thoroughly and gracefully as Mock,” Weltzien concluded.

The Montana Professor

A journal of education, politics and culture — is published biannually and offers a forum for individuals within higher education and greater Montana to discuss issues of common concern and interest. Weltzien also serves on the journal’s editorial board. His profile of Mock appears in Volume 21 Number 2. All issues of  The Montana Professor can be accessed online at mtprof.msun.edu.

Editor's note: Click here to read more about Mock's most recent trip to Nepal, including his Khumbu Climbing Center collaboration with fellow Montana Western Professor of Geology Rob Thomas.