Super-fit Jewell preps for her first political ultramarathon
With an ice ax in her right hand and crampons underfoot, Sally Jewell in summer 2010 led five women at daybreak up Emmons Glacier on the northeast flank of Washington's Mount Rainier. Scaling a 14,400-foot peak might be extreme for most CEOs, but it was routine for Jewell, who heads the outdoor retailer REI. The 56-year-old just might be the most physically fit person ever nominated to lead the Interior Department -- or any other Cabinet post. Conservationists, Democratic lawmakers and at least one former Interior secretary said Jewell's lifestyle and love for the outdoors could help her lead the $12 billion department whose jurisdiction includes hundreds of national parks, forests and recreation areas. But Republicans are looking for signs that Jewell might favor hikers and paddlers over energy developers, whose activities Interior also oversees.