new pics


10th reunion

20th reunion

30th reunion









































(Sept ’94 – Aug ‘95)



  • Base Camp: Ziegler’s
  • Climbing: Cedar Rock



  • Luke and Katherine fall in love…
  • During training staff gets naked in the parking lot of the Panda Inn while dancing "The Mighty Corinne" (to the tune of The Mighty Quinn).
  • Jerry Garcia dies during staff training


Favorite Expressions:



Program Staff:

  • Program Directors: Sarah Boonin, Gene Ehrbar (Trip Report)
  • Climbing Directors: Brandon Lampley, Debbie Engle


March Participants

Deb Cades (I)

Kent McIntosh(I)

David Johnson


Anthony Crupi(I)

Karleen O'Connor(I)

Jessica Salsbury


Homi Kapadia(I)

Suzie Rose(I)

Katherine McFather


Paul Logan(I)





August Staff

Jamie Bronner

Katherine McFather

Sarah Wooley


Todd Chaudhry

Kent McIntosh



Ross Christie

Rachel Miksad



Chicky Engstrom

Merc Pittino



Joselyn Fenstermacher

Lucas Rugani



Carolien Gerwe

Jessica Salsbury



Ken Greenberg

Corinne Widico




August Crews

Yvonne Krvwyj






















The Beginning - Luke and Katherine McFather Rugani


            Let’s go back about 9 years to staff training in August 1995.  There we were, relative strangers to each other.  Aside from possible run-ins during the house course earlier that year, Katherine and I really didn’t know each other at all.  Staff training was great, a new experience for us, and eventually we learned that we’d be in base camp together…so our friendship started.  During training, we didn’t really get to hang out that much, each of us more focused on getting to know our co-leaders and completing assigned tasks.  But eventually, we found ourselves in Pisgah at the foot of Cedar Rock.  As crews arrived and crews departed, our group at base camp grew closer together. 

            I remember that year that Brandon Lampley, a climbing director, was always scheming about something.  Near the end of the trip, once the staff had become a close-knit group, Brandon decided to pass some of the after-dinner time with some games…intrusive games.  I believe it was a game of ‘I Never.’ (If you aren’t familiar with the rules of “I Never,” someone there should be able to help you out.)  Anyway, someone (sorry, I forget who it was) jumped into the game with the statement, ‘I never had a romantic interest with anyone in Project Wild.”  Almost everyone in the circle raised their hands, including me and Katherine, and of course, everyone laughed.  Interesting.  I don’t think Brandon expected that level of response – and he certainly wasn’t going to let it go that easily.  The game continued, with everyone else getting a turn.  When it came to Brandon again, he eyed his prey and all innocent, stated, “Okay, I never had a romantic interest with anyone in base camp.”   Sheepishly, a few hands went up – again, including ours.  The night ended with a lot of speculation but no answers. 

            As I recall, all the crews that came through base camp were able to climb that year.  It wasn’t like the year before when tropical storm Beryl created such a memorable – read: wet – trip.  When we’d returned to Cove Creek and all the crews had been accounted for, the base camp staffers filed over to the vans for a trip to Pizza Hut, as had been the tradition at the end of a trip.  Before we loaded into the vans, Brandon asked a few people, mainly those who had been in the “I Never” circle just a few nights before, if they wanted to play another game called “Truth.”  This was some new bullshit game that Brandon made up on the spot.  Basically, if you agreed to play, everyone had a turn to ask a direct question to the entire group. 

            As we got going down to Brevard, I remember I was sitting in the very last row of the van.  Just in front of me was Katherine.  Brandon went over the rules one more time – no matter what the question, you had to answer truthfully.  This was nearly evil.  We were squirming in our seats with anticipation of what might happen.  The questions started at the front of the van, and the first one was relatively benign, obviously not from Brandon.  We responded in turn and then Brandon got his chance, and this time, he didn’t hold back.  We were winding through the woods on the gravel road, normally a loud ride, but for some reason, it was quiet.  Even way in the back of the van, I could hear his question clearly – “Who in PWild do you have a romantic interest in?”  Obviously, Brandon had been plotting a way of finding this out since the game of “I Never.”  The responses worked their way back, but no one else responded with a name of another passenger in that van – an easy way out, I thought to myself.  Should I bail? 

            All of a sudden, it was Katherine’s turn, and there was a definite pause before she answered.  Do you know how much courage it must have taken her to respond?  “Luke,” she said, finally.  Holy shit!!  I’m sitting right behind her.  She knows it.  The whole van knows it.  She hadn’t looked back, however, throughout the whole van ride.  What a blind leap of faith!  I couldn’t bail now.  This was certainly out of my comfort zone.  Risk Night leaped into my mind – perceived risk, actual risk, perceived risk, actual risk.  It was my turn.  A pause…

            My mouth was dry, and I swallowed.  I know I was blushing something fierce.  Finally, I got the name out: “Katherine.”  Everyone in the van was basically cheering.  I was thinking to myself: Brandon is an ass, but not really.  The rest of the game instantly lost its thunder.  Who cared anymore?  We finally arrived at Pizza Hut and Brandon had the biggest smirk on his face. 

            Now what?  I think we’d both admit that having that knowledge made getting together somewhat awkward.  We didn’t know how to proceed.  I’ll spare you the details, but ultimately we figured it out.  Our relationship strengthened over our three remaining years at Duke, and then we both attended graduate schools in the Midwest.  I was at Marquette, and she was at Northwestern.  The 80 miles that separated us didn’t keep us apart.  On September 30, 2000, we were married.  And to give him credit, we made sure to invite that jackass, Brandon Lampley, to stand up in the wedding.



Links to photos.