Tag Archives: Climbing

Fishing

Perfection is an illusion, and no outcome is ever really certain. At the beginning, there always exists a degree of ambiguity as to the expected results of most every endeavor.  We’re never truly finished, and looking back at any outcome in terms of success or failure is mostly a misconception, and a waste of time. We’d be better off to examine our achievements and attempts through their degree of awareness, their shade of illumination. How much did we learn – how much did we grow? Did I get hurt – or hurt another? No matter what we’re doing, it seems self evident that we should be striving to do it well, after all – half-assed never really sounded that respectable. To approach our lives with this idea of accomplishment takes time and patience, skill, practice, and dedication.

It’s why they call it fishing – not catching, it’s why they call it climbing – not summiting, and why I call it riding – not arriving.

Gunsight Peaks – Trip Report

Over the week of July 25th to the 31st, Liz and myself climbed two routes and reached as many summits in the Gunsight Range of the Glacier Peak Wilderness area.  We climbed the South Ridge route of the South Peak, as well as the West Face of the Middle Peak.  Our ascents were completely free and followed the existing routes over varied terrain, including, but not limited to: splitter granite, steep glaciers, loose choss, devils club, and hot pavement.  The trip was a great recon and an epic adventure in its own right.  The Gunsights should be high on the list of anyone looking for golden granite in an absurdly alpine setting.  In addition to our meager climbing achievements, the significance of this trip lies, for us, in the fact that we undertook the approach entirely by use of Public Transportation. 

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Lessons Learned

We each want to progress, to learn and improve.  Each generation is not only lucky enough to build upon the efforts of those before us, but we too act, practice and refine our thoughts, our crafts, and our lives to be more in line with an evolving world view.  As climbers and adventurers we strike off, in an effort to learn more about life by experiencing it in extremes.  As we scratch the surface, the experiences call us back again and again, and soon we become more proficient and comfortable with the logistics, trouble, and physical hardship that often go along with these trips.  We learn from friends and relatives, books and movies, and of course our own personal adventures.  Certain disciplines call us, whether it be bouldering or alpine climbing, creek-boating or surfing, as the specialists we are we devour this lifestyle completely, striving to understand every angle and aspect of it’s execution.  Along the way we come to understand more about ourselves and the world, and subsequently the relationship between each.

This concept of bicycle-powered adventure is not new, and there are seemingly more and more resources appearing every day on it’s subject.  While I do not claim much experience from my limited adventures, from the meager amount I’ve learned along the way, I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement.  Truth is this is all still so new to me, and although we’ve been living the bicycle-life for about two and a half years, I constantly find myself exploring new aspects that keep it fresh, challenging, and exciting.  This was the first trip I’ve ever done that involved skis, only the second that involved snow, and the first that involved multiple stages of shipping gear.  In an effort to clear away some of the confusion, and help with the logistics of your own ride, I wanted to share as much of this knowledge as I can, in hopes that you’ll be able to take it one step farther, while doing it easier.  While in no way comprehensive, chronological, or even ordered, what’s below is one part trip report, one part advice, and three parts rambling rhetoric, enjoy.

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A Grand Failure

Each day I wake up, unable to sleep, yet hesitant to leave the warmth, I lay and recall my dreams until I cannot see any more.  Shuffling down the hallway, cracks of light escape from beneath a few doors, the rest lie dark and silent.  Outside, I step along the balcony to the small room with the large mirror.  On my mat I stand, and bend, and lie in awkward positions as my muscles slowly lengthen.  Beads of sweat break out on my forehead despite my lack of movement, my breath courses slow and deep through my nose.  I am alone, my mind is never silent unless I find it that way, when again it is surprised into thought.  Each day is lived as it comes, not necessarily in the moment but without thinking much of the before or after.  My forecast is a look out the window, feeling the air on my face.  My schedule is always the same; work, ski, at once.  When I come here, or to the pages in my journal, my mind wanders, looking at pictures of my own I am taken back, memories and emotions tingle at the base of my spine.  Talking with friends, scheming, planning, I look forward and see the future, not as it is or as it will be, but how it exists now in my mind.  Ideas are coming to life once more as the sun returns and the reality of melting snow, warm stone, and open roads grows closer.  The words are on the tip of my tongue, the spark of creativity once more slowly catching hold of the connections that have been made over the last few months.

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A Word on Gear

 
I’m not really one to write about gear.  Talk about it, obsess over it, over-analyze it, yes, but there’s something about personal blogs that feature gear reviews and gear talk that makes me nauseas.  I didn’t start this to get free gear, free trips, whore myself or promote the continuation of our material culture that is leading to the degradation of our environment.  Lest you believe I’m a total cynic about this sort of thing have yourself a read of Craig Childs’ piece of the “Buying and Selling of Nature”, and Dane’s piece about the “Elite” attitude of sporting becoming the norm.  Although these pieces might not actually say much it is a pretty good jumping off point for the conversation of the amazing duality that exists between outdoor enthusiasts and the material “gear” culture that we’re so entwined with.  We rely on our gear, it’s a huge part of what is enabling us to push our boundaries and find new limits.  You’ll not be finding a thousand-word blow-fest about a mid-layer polartec hoody here, we can leave that for the “athletes” with pretty faces who’s job it is to sell things. Mostly themselves.  What I do want to offer you is a glimpse at the gear I use, how normal and average it is, how it fits on the bike, and how easy it is for you to make the transformation yourself.
The impetus for this post is a recently published write-up of our Zion trip to my friend Ed’s site VerticalMinded.com.  If you haven’t yet, check it out, it’s mostly a bunch of pictures but there’s a little bit of the insight and reflections that went into (and came out of) that trip.  I don’t plan on re-posting it here but I thought I would instead include few things that I left out of that posting, mainly, a look into the gear we use, what we brought, and how you can do it too.  In the hopes that others might follow suit, here’s a quick look into our panniers, our minds, our bags of gear, and why packing all of the same stuff into your car is weak sauce.  Enjoy.

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Year of the Bike

For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City’s Year of the Bike.  Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or “inversion” that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC’s Residents.  Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling… Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling.  Claiming anything as “Year of” should mean it’s influence is far greater than any other social or political force.  Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection.  Although those might be titles you’d affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened.  So looking back on the last year, it’s hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake’s transportation hierarchy.  Although I’m not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it’s easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it’s not a bunch of cyclists that’ve caused it.  But while SLC didn’t under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they’ve still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning.  Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I’ve dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.  

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A Call To Climbers

Here I sit, hand bandaged in gauze and cotton, temporarily sidelined and forcibly inactive.  The slightest miscalculation and most seemingly insignificant accident and I’m left with a torn ligament in my thumb, and it’s resulting surgical repair.  After another summer of movement and adventure, I anticipated returning to a relatively sedentary winter existence, one with an abundance of reflection and introspective time, but this is hardly what I expected.  A sense of déjà-vu pervades as I re-live Liz’s recent injury and remind myself that life is full of surprises, their being good or bad depends entirely on perspective, which in turn itself relies upon your grasp of reality, your worldview and your version of sanity.  So as I recline with the subdued awareness I will not be climbing for months, that my work and play in the mountains will be limited equally, I cannot help but feel excitement and optimism for the future, and know I might be a little insane for doing so.

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