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Jim Kunz: New Mid-Atlantic Section Co-Chair

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by New England Section

By Tom Prigg


Jim Kunz, the new Co-Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Section

Meet Jim Kunz, the AAC’s new Mid-Atlantic Section Co-Chair. Kunz, based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will lead the Section with fellow Co-Chair Barry Rusnock, from Hackettstown, New Jersey. Kunz is new to climbing, but became passionate about the sport almost immediately. His first exposure to climbing was at the age of fourteen when he earned his climbing merit badge with the Boy Scouts. “Sadly, I did not do much climbing outside of an occasional birthday party,” said Kunz. But after returning to climbing last winter, he became aware of the American Alpine Club through his friend Paul Guarino, an AAC member.

“I recognized that the section I live in was missing out on participating with the AAC as well as the AAC missing out on all of the great climbers and climbs here. So I stepped up and sent an email to Sarah [Garlick], the Northeast Regional Coordinator and volunteered myself to do what I can to bring the Mid-Atlantic Section more fully into the fold of the AAC,” Kunz said.

Q and A with Jim:

What do you, or would you like to, bring to the AAC as a leader?

I bring a passion for motivating people to achieve great things. Climbing is a one on one battle between you and the mountain. But, it comes with an amazing support network of your climbing partners, the climbing community and great organizations like the AAC.  I hope that I can help motivate people to take on a greater role in supporting the climbing community and in being ambassadors of this sport to the external community.  


If you could climb anywhere or anything in the world, what would it be?

I always joked in high school that one of my life goals was to climb K2.  I guess now that I have started climbing, that could actually become a reality.  I haven’t given it much thought as of late, I’ve been mostly focusing on just learning more and more about climbing.  But, now that you have brought it up, I guess K2 could become a goal again.  Just don’t ask me any specifics, since I really don’t know much about it.


How do you see the future of climbing?

I think it’s bright.  People are pushing the boundaries of the climbable, places that were previously unexplored are being explored, and every day you are reading stories of epic adventures being had by climbers around the world.  With the internet and sites like I Looove Climbing and smartphones to send updates we can motivate each other with our exciting stories and at the same time, disseminate good and accurate information concerning safety and smart climbing.  This should add up to a great future for climbing.


In the future Kunz has a four year plan with his climbing partner Paul Guarino to climb El Cap’s, The Nose. In true climber fashion, Kunz left off with, “Promises you make over beers!”

Jim Kunz on Seneca's South Summit. Photo by Paul Guarino

Jim Kunz on Seneca’s South Summit. Photo by Paul Guarino

—Tom Prigg is a volunteer writer for the AAC’s Northeast Region. Tom is a former scientist not good enough to become a professional climber, so he career jumped into writing and journalism. He has been published with Alpinist Magazine, National Geographic – Adventure and USA TODAY.

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