Rock Climbing

Climbing in Fremont Canyon

Up.
Vertical.
Mostly face to off-width.
Fingertips, edge, and arm jam.
Control, breathe,
First ledge.

Up.
Keep moving.
Touching and feeling.
Conserve energy.
Climbing
With your feet.

Up.
Don’t look down,
But do look around
At your world
Within reach.
One move
At a time.

Up.
Thank God hold,
Blocky granite, cold.
Three pitches
To the top.
But first things,
First.

Up.
To the left, a ledge,
Trust your edge.
Shift your weight,
Over your foot.

Up,
Pinch the roundish nub.
Balance and
Trust your instinct.
Think up.

Up,
Only the next move matters.
Everything
Is within five square feet.
One step,
Changes your world.

Reaching for a Hold

Recipe

On the Summit

Water,
Sand,
Snow,
And rock.

Fly fish,
Cycle,
Ride,
And walk

Gravel,
Grass,
Mud,
And scree.

Backpack,
Wander,
Scale,
And ski.

Mountain,
Cavern,
Dirt,
And ice.

Explore,
Trek,
Cave,
And climb.

Talus,
Forest,
Stream,
And crag.

Summit
Surf,
Sail,
And cast.

Tundra,
River,
Lake,
And hill.

Yoga,
Swim,
Camp,
And chill.

Ocean,
Desert,
Cirque,
And peak.

Prepare,
Proceed,
Persist,
And Seek.

Simple,
Treasures,
Pure,
And sweet.

On the Road

Sitting on the Summit

Looking Toward the Conchos

On the top.
Looking out,
Seeing things
You didn’t know
Were there.

Clouds float past,
Racing fast,
Where do they go?
Perhaps,
We cannot know.

But for the moment-
Rest, relax, ponder, breathe.
Soak it in.

Sitting still,
A moment longer,
Thinking harder,
Feeling stronger.

And then……….

A Marmot scampers,
A warm wind whistles,
A crow soars past,
A distant storm erupts,
A Pika chirps,

No mystery has been solved,
No thing resolved.
More questions,
Than answers.

But for another moment,
Rest, relax, ponder, breathe,
Soak it all in.

The Summit of Huayna Potosi- Bolivia

 

The Knife-edge Ridge

Crossing a “knife-edge”

“If we do make it up to the top of Delirium, there’s a knife-edge ridge we’re gonna have to cross to get over to the Cemetery and then down. It’s only about 100 hundred yards long, but it’s got lots of loose rocks and big drop-offs, so watch out. If the other person on your rope falls, jump quickly to the other side of the ridge. That’ll create a counter-balance and keep both of you from getting pulled down on top of each other. Don’t waste any time thinking about it- just do it.”

Continue reading “The Knife-edge Ridge”

Getting There

Nearing The Top

To the top!

Sweat mixed with rain,
Too hot for jacket,
But cold makes for pain.

Take a step forward,
Slide half a step back.
Gentle breeze pulls you onward,
Brutal gust makes you crack.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

If you look up,
The top seems a long distance.
But keep moving forward,
And show your persistence.

The load is heavy,
And it only gets worse,
As the grind gets longer.
So don’t try and converse.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

Each step gets you closer,
Believe it or not.
Rest assured your effort,
Won’t be for naught.

You’re undoubtedly tired,
And perhaps you’re wet.
That your legs are like rubber,
Is a good bet.

More than likely,
Your hands are like bricks,
Your feet have no feeling,
And your arms feel like sticks.

But suddenly, you’re there.

Stop, rest, breathe.
Your goal achieved.
Lookout and remember,
What you’ve received.

Sip some water,
Have a cracker,
And then, move on.

The Summit

Nighttime

The night before Summit Day…..

Climbers in Alaska
The Climb

The night was long and restless. He was cold inside his sleeping bag even though the three of them had worked so hard to make things cozy. And then, there was the wind. It blasted the tent relentlessly, and he was worried about getting blown off the ridge. What would that be like, he tried to imagine? There was no actual sleep. But there was a sort of vigilant grogginess. While his body was mostly still, his mind actively raced in a frenzy of hyperactive speculation. He was uncomfortable, and the situation was damn near depressing. But thankfully, he wasn’t outside climbing toward the summit- yet. That would happen soon enough.

Continue reading “Nighttime”

The Crevasse Rescue

Scott Fair Rescue
The Actual Rescue

      There are three well-known peaks in the Alaska Range—Denali, Foraker, and Hunter. At 14,195 feet, Hunter is the smallest of the three but is considered one of the most technically difficult 14er’s (14,000-foot mountains) to climb in the world. And reaching its summit was our goal for the particular trip this story is about, at least until lousy weather got in our way. We were a group of 13, which included me and several other Outpost Wilderness Adventure leaders along with two other non-OWA guides.

Continue reading “The Crevasse Rescue”

Guaymas, 1971

Adventure lurks………

DSC02434
Unexpected Suspension Bridge

It was Christmas break of my sophomore year in high school when Jake and I took off from Denton. We were geared up and driving his parent’s VW Camper-van (with their permission) bound for Mexico with a stop in Douglas, Arizona en route. The plan was to meet up in Douglas with an older/more mature person, whom I knew from the summer camp where I had worked the previous summer. The three of us would travel from there on down to Guaymas, Mexico, where we’d camp, have some quality beach time, and experience a bunch of “neat adventure stuff.” (Note- years later, and as a father, I’m not sure how we got our parents to agree to the plan. Although I do remember it being a good thing that we were going to be under the supervision of someone older). In the van, there was scuba gear packed away under one of the seats in cardboard boxes, places to sleep, and we must have had some food.

Continue reading “Guaymas, 1971”

The Wrong Mountain

Backpacking

“You’re not lost if you don’t care where you are,” or something to that effect is a famous quote. I repeated it several times to myself as we kept walking into the thick fog, headed toward the summit of Chiefs Head, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. I was bringing up the rear of a group of ten, mostly teenage backpackers. Typically, I was confident about wherever Mike was leading us. But in this instance, one of his Colorado Mountain School guides, Dennis, was at the back of the line with me and kept muttering about how we were going up the wrong mountain, which caused me to be a tad bit skeptical of our route.

Continue reading “The Wrong Mountain”

Adventure Climbing- Wind River Range

Climbing an unnamed buttress in the Winds…..

AUT_4442
Lead Climbing

Deep in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, there’s a place that we called Golden Lake. No marked or named trails go there, and if you look on a map or search a guide book for information about it, you’ll find nothing. While there is a lake there, it has another name. It sits in a glacial cirque, or basin, along with two others at the top of an obscure drainage that leads down to the North Fork of the Popo Agie River. The main lake of the three is full of Golden Trout. Thus, the name.

Continue reading “Adventure Climbing- Wind River Range”