Mountaineer bares his soul in Berkeley

TUE 11/8

David Roberts has more than a nodding acquaintance with sudden death in the outdoors. Several times in his life as a mountaineer and adventure writer he has watched his climbing partners fall to their doom -- the first as an eighteen-year-old, when his high-school buddy died in Boulder, Colorado. But Roberts evidently had the right stuff. He carried on, and in his 35-year career has scaled peaks all over America, especially in Alaska and the Southwest, and written more than sixteen books. Now Roberts is evidently in a reflective mood. His new memoir, On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined, puts his expeditions -- from the first ascents of the north face of Denali to the southeast face of Mount Dickey -- in a mature philosophical perspective. He shares his observations about living on the edge Tuesday (7 p.m.), in a free slide show and talk at REI Berkeley, 1338 San Pablo Ave., 510-527-4140. Go to to learn more. -- Kelly Vance

SUN 11/6

Giant Steps

49ers Faceful

This week, the 49ers might have found a team they can beat. The New York Giants drop into Monster Park Sunday afternoon (1:05 p.m.) as an iffy team in the midst of a lackluster season behind quarterback Eli Manning and running back Tiki Barber. Compare that to the floundering 49ers, who will take just about any break they can get as rookie QB Alex Smith faces another brutal baptism of fire in the NFL. If things go badly Sunday, there's always a silver lining for the red and gold guys: next week they travel to Chicago to play the even more pathetic Bears. If only the Niners had more NFC Central teams on their schedule. -- Kelly Vance

11/4, 11/6

Bear Footing

The San Jose Earthquakes may be at the top of their game, but they don't have a lock on the footie action in the Bay Area -- the Cal men's soccer team is out there scuffling. Usually ranked about twelfth nationally, the 2005 Golden Bears, led by senior forward Calen Carr and senior goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, head into the fall season's home stretch with a chance to improve their Pac 10 standing against two conference foes. Friday at 2 p.m., San Diego State comes to call, and then Sunday afternoon (also at 2), it's UCLA's turn. Cal victories in these two matches could turn an ordinary season into a magical one. Both games are at Edwards Stadium on the UCB campus. To find out more about Cal's men's and women's soccer football programs, go to -- Kelly Vance


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