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Life of Adventure

Posted October 03, 2012 in Adel, Community Featured

Brian Block, using some of the equipment from his garage, stands at the top of Mt. Elbrus, the highest point in Russia at 18,510 feet.

Brian Block’s garage may look more like it should be nestled up high in the mountains than on the prairies of Iowa.

Block is a regional distributor of outdoor gear like Osprey Packs and Marmot Gear, and, as such, will often have enough gear to outfit a small expedition piled in the corner of his garage.

He developed a love of rock and mountain climbing when he took a rock climbing and rappelling class from the Iowa Mountaineers in 1992. His passion for climbing and everything outdoors led him to Ames Surplus and Outdoor Equipment where he worked as a manager selling tents, backpacks and limited rock-climbing gear while he attended school at Iowa State.

As one of the early adopters of climbing and mountaineering in Iowa, Block was hungry for more and joined expeditions to climb some of the highest mountains in Mexico, South America and, eventually, the Himalayas.

In 2003, Block opened a Midwest distributorship of outdoor equipment and is a manufacturer’s representative for eight different companies including Osprey, Marmot and Scarpa. Samples of the latest gear comes and goes through Block’s Adel garage, where he and his wife, Vanessa, have lived for more than five years.

“I love Adel,” says Block recently. “It still has the feel of a small town, with friendly people and quiet streets, but we’re close to the metro.”

Still living a life of adventure, Block joined adventurer Charlie Wittmack for the last leg of Wittmack’s World Triathlon in May of 2011, which included an ascent of Mt. Everest in Nepal.

Block, though he made it safely to the top, had trouble on his way down the mountain. In the high altitude, he suffered from a pulmonary edema, a condition in which the lungs begin filling with fluids, effectively drowning the afflicted. With the help of Wittmack and others, Block stumbled his way down to the lower camps on the mountain, where he was ultimately airlifted to a hospital by helicopter.

Shortly after his arrival back in Adel, the Blocks welcomed the arrival of their second child, Andreas. Brian and Vanessa also enjoy the company of their 3-year-old son, Alexander.

Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”

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