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.

It’s Time for Adventure

Finally, I’m back. I have been writing, note taking, brainstorming, mental clearing, training, and trip planning over the past few weeks. It is time to get out and have an adventure. To get up from this desk and get outside. Norway, Canada, Joshua Tree, Washington, Smith Rocks; they are all calling, I just need to answer.

March and spring are a little over three months away. Are you training? Are you planning? Are you doing?

It’s time for adventure. Get inspired! Then get out and do what you love.

Guess Where I Have Been

My excuse for not writing on my blog is truly lame: its school. See, told you LAME. My paper on transferring CIA drone strikes to the Pentagon has consumed any time I could possibly devote to writing. The rest of my time is devoted to calculus and economics. Yes, I have no life. If someone wants to offer me a full time writing or photography job, I would seriously consider it.

I do find time to climb, however. I took a day trip out to Smith Rocks and pulled on some great routes and got a few good shots. It was a much needed break after mid-terms and all that mess. Good news, after this class, I am out of writing classes to take; therefore, I will be left to write for those who wonder through the pages of High Sierra Collective (and lab reports and eventually a thesis. That last one is a long way off).

If you are still worried about closing your shutter in a National Forest read this (I just figured out how to link something using a word. How exciting.). Then you can share it with your friends or act like a rebel who takes pictures and breaks the rules (even though you not).

Just please don’t be like this girl. Her “art” was kind of creepy to me any way.