“Dear Mother” - A Climber's Transracial Adoption Story

Climber and transracial Asian-American, Cody Kaemmerlen, searches for connection with his birth parents after a near-death fall leaves him shaken and grasping for answers.

A Louder Than Eleven Production

Presented by American Alpine Club

In Association With Mountain Hardwear

With Support From A-Lodge & Pro Photo Rental

Directed by Jon Glassberg

Assistant Director Sophi Rutherford

Starring Cody Kaemmerlen

Written by Jon Glassberg, Jessica Glassberg

Edited by Jon Glassberg

Assistant Edit Saraphina Redalieu

Video by Jon Glassberg, Jessica Glassberg, Sophi Rutherford, Cody Kaemmerlen

Photography Sophi Rutherford
A product of the “Pull Focus Grant” through the American Alpine Club and Louder Than 11.


Cody Kaemmerlen is a climber adopted out of South Korea in 1984, into rural Tillamook, Oregon. He was raised by a loving family, and thrived in his small town, not fully comprehending what it was like to be a person of color in a white world. After reaching out to the adoption agency, he was left with an email stating his birth mother had no interest in meeting her son. He struggled in adulthood, as he started to experience adversity which produced a cycle of anger, divorce, car accident, and finally a near-death free-soloing fall which became a catalyst for change.

A few years later, the agency reached out with an apology about a file mix-up, stating his birth mother and father would love to meet. Soon after, he begins to process his adoption and identity with the help of the climbing community and close friends.

We follow Cody to South Korea on his mission to meet his mother and father, in hopes of finding resolution and inner peace.

October 2023

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