Savage Dreams

They are the things that keep me up at night. Honestly, they terrify me; they consume me, drive me. They are not comforting, but unsettling. Their inner sanctum shrouded with suffering and fear. To most, this is the description of a nightmare; to me, this is the essence of my dreams.

I dream of mountains. Mountains that ravage you. Mountains that debilitate your mind before you can reach its looming flanks. Mountains that break down your body and amplify every weakness until they destroys you. Some would ask why dream of these things? Why suffer?

To me, the mountain is the ultimate dream, the ultimate objective. When your body has been demolished and your mind broken, you are open; here you can be pure. You are humbled at the foot of a great creation. Your mind has been opened and the wisdom of the mountain may flow in. You understand that you are small; yet, you have a place.

Here you are broken and can see into yourself. You see your flaws and how they destroyed you. More importantly, you see your strengths and how they drive you.

Climbing mountains terrifies me because I know that I am weak. I know that I will be destroyed. The mountains of my dreams slowly dissolve the barriers I have built up in my mind. The barriers I placed to protect myself from change; barriers that keep me comfortable.

The truth is, I’m not comfortable. I am afraid. This is why I climb mountains: because I am afraid. Mountains break down my fear. They show me who I am inside, behind all my barriers. They humble me and put me in my place. They drive me. They grind in my strengths and grind out my weaknesses.

Mountains are teachers. Mountains are sanctuaries for those of us who are hurting and afraid. Mountains are great cathedrals carved in rock and ice that speak to the soul. Mountains are the essence of my dreams.

Coming Up

There is a little bit of a give and take with travel and adventure writing: to write, you need to experience life; experiencing life makes you, well, busy. Which is okay long as you have an outline and a plan for the things you would like to write. Alas, I have said plan!

I watched a great video of filmmaker Mathieu Le Lay scrambling around in the alps (check out the video here). He talked about how working on personal projects helps him reconnect and expand creativity. I’m trying to do the same.

Plans always have a better chance of succeeding when you share your plan with others. So, here is my plan and what I’m working on.

Gear Reviews:

I got quite a bit of new gear for trips I took over the summer and for trips I plan on taking in the coming months. I have also been sent some gear to review on said trips. Here is what is in line to be reviewed.

  • Hedgehog Tactical First Aid Kits – Hedgehog Tactical sent me one of their unique first aid kit that I have been able to put through the ringer over the last two months.
  • Mountain Hardwear Hueco 35 – The new crag pack that spent four weeks in constant use and has taken the beating quite well.
  • La Sportiva Xplorer – Six days in the alpine of Washington and two solid days of (attempted) peak bagging in the Oregon Cascades all synthetic approach shoes have some awesome features worth raving about.
  • Mammut 10.2 Gravity Dry 70m – Some may say a rope is a rope, this is not your ordinary rope.


I went on a six day climbing trip to Leavenworth Washington in early September, which has produced several essays and numerous photographs. Much more on this trip will be coming within the next few weeks.

Thank you all for reading. Get out there and breath the mountain air.

Tales and Stories From Far Off Lands

The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually –their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on –and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same –like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?


Sure, stories of the great alpinists, mountaineers, and explorers captivate us and drive our own quest for a life greater than the mundane; yet, why do we treat these stories as far off possibilities beyond that of us ordinary mortals? Jim Wickwire’s impromptu bivy 450 feet below the summit of K2. Mikey Schafer’s “accidental” first ascent of one of the Sky Line Peaks of Fritz Roy (watch the FORCE here). Alex Honold and Tommy Caldwell nabbing the first ascent of the Fritz traverse (watch here). Emily Harrington scoring an amazing ascent of Golden Gate on El Capitan (watch one of the most pure climbing vids I’ve ever seen here). Those of us who are not climbing 8,000 meter peaks or 5.14 treat these people as though they are Gods. In reality, the only difference between them and ordinary humans is that they had the tenacity to leave the Shire; 99% of humanity is still setting in the garden smoking pipe weed thinking adventure is for a special kind of person.

Here is the truth about a true adventurer: they are ordinary humans. They just don’t want to spend their short life behind a desk wondering about the vastness of the universe; they get off ass and go see. I guess you could say that they have their priorities straight. This does not mean that you must become a narcissist in order to realize your goals; no, you need balance and a hefty dose of stoke.

The adventurist lifestyle is about living a sustainable life of balance and flow. It’s about realizing that you already make up the stuff people write stories about, you just need to give them a reason to write. Jim Wickwire was an attorney. Alex Honold was not born into a climbing family. Yet, somehow, both of them are among the greatest adventures that ever lived. I think it is time everyone realizes that mythical stories from far off lands are not the deeds of superior humans, all humans are ordinary until they give you a reason to write about them. Leave the garden and give people a reason to write a story.



I wonder why you clicked on this post? What is so fascinating about the word “suicide” that made you want to read about it? Well here is the truth: there is more than one way to die. I know your thinking, “of course there is more than one way to die.” I’m not talking about your heart stopping; I’m talking about your soul dying, you dying as a person. Everyone knows the cliché, “a fate worse than death,” yet, I think, no one really puts much thought into what that really means. Maybe this is it.

Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you staring at your screen? Why do you have the time? Why do you have a screen? I like the last question. How did you get the computer/tablet/smart phone that you are using to read this? I assume a job. What job? Do you like that job? I mean really, is this what you want to be doing for the rest of your life? Is this you? Are you happy working where you are? If you answered “no” to any of the last four questions, then you are dead. Congratulations.

Do you desire more? I would assume so. What is holding you back? Fear? Probably. What type of fear? Fear of the unknown? Fear of failure? Fear of being alone? Tell me, what is worse: fear or killing yourself? Because if you stay where you are, you are killing yourself. You are going to die by what I guarantee you is a fate worse than death: Walking around each day knowing that you have killed yourself, that there is more to life and you choose to let it escape.

I’m done bashing you. I’m in the same place. Well, maybe; maybe not for long. I just finished my first year of college. My last term was 21 quarter hours. It was torture. I did nothing but homework. I didn’t write, hardly climbed, barely biked; I read books and did math homework. That is bullshit. That’s a horrible way to live and a really shitty way to die. Every day I woke up and looked at the pictures of Half Dome and Mt. Whitney hanging on my walls; every time I grabbed a pair of socks, I saw my harness, chalk, and climbing shoes; every time I opened my computer, I saw the mountains posed as my background. I keep my green writing journal in my book bag just in case I have an epiphany – I never did.

Now it’s the end of July, what do I have to say for my summer? I went climbing at Smith Rocks…once. I biked a couple of times at the local State Park. I started a training routine. Why I don’t know, it’s not like I’m climbing hard or have the option to. I decided to put my big girl panties on and get some shit done. I’m going on a climbing trip to Canada.

I’m tired of not getting things done. I’m tired of being weak and only wanting to climb hard or bike hard. I need to climb hard and I need to bike hard. So I am going to Squamish for six days. I’m going to forget the fact that school will be starting three weeks after and that I could very well be stuck in my home for eleven weeks with my eyes glued to books. I’m going to forget everything I fear and everything that I regret; I am going to climb. I am going to live. Maybe we should all do the same.

What Really Matters

When I walked outside this morning, there was only one sound: birds. Hundreds of birds singing and chirping in the trees. How many times have I walked outside my house and been oblivious to this sound? How many beautiful things have I ignored or taken for granted? This is not something that I care to think about, because of the answer: to many.

I consider myself a privileged person. I live with my family in the country on two acres of land, I climb, I have my own climbing wall to train on, I go to college, I am allowed to borrow the car. I can ride my bike for an hour and not see a single car. I spent yesterday climbing at a new world class climbing gym, and came home to dinner with my family. My climbing partner is still willing to belay me after the blow to the head she took catching my last whipper.  Damn I take it all for granted. Even still, I look at people who travel to the Bugaboos or Patagonia to climb and think, “man that guy is lucky.” Yet, I am planning a trip to Yosemite and the Buttermilks this summer.

Maybe it is time for me to be thankful for the things I have at hand, time to acknowledge that the best things in my life are the things I do and the people I do them with. I try and place myself in the lives of others that I deem better than I, forgetting the awe and extravagance found within my own life.

I think the point of all this rambling is to somehow produce some accountability for my life; a call to change, maybe. Find the adventure in my own life rather than looking to Rock and Ice or Adventure Journal for “adventure.” Life is an adventure. Yvon Chouinard so famously stated that adventure is when everything starts to go wrong. Is there a day where everything goes “right?”

After the birds this morning, my sore wrist from yesterday, and reading scores of bloggers 2014 resolution reviews, my thoughts were stirred. I want to focus on my life in 2015, I don’t want to dream up a fantasy or wish myself into the live of another. I am going to be thankful for the journeys I have. I am want to truly appreciate the people that I interact with, because they are what make this life fun. These are the only things I have on this earth: journeys and the people I do them with. It’s a shame I took this long to realize it.