I’ve been racking my brain, typing till my fingers bleed, trying every different angle, but none of it feels right. This fall we cycled over 1500 miles across 5 states to spend 2 weeks climbing in one of my favorite places on Earth: Zion Canyon. A trip report won’t do, and I’m not convinced there are any words or ways to convey to you just how much this life means to me, how much it’s changed the way I climb, live, and see the world. I’d love to tell you about each pitch, each mile, every day and every climb, but I know that’s not how it works. I want to grab hold of your shoulders, to shake you and show you what’s real, what’s important and why this life is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but you’ll just think I’m crazy.
Maybe it’s the easy way out, maybe I’m missing something or just loosing touch with how to tell a story. Maybe, but something tells me this trip was too big, to deep, and too crazy to properly share, and that my attempt with words will only confuse the issue. What happened out there? Sometimes even I wonder, but I rest easy knowing I shared it with my two best friends on earth, knowing they had their minds blown as wide as mine. This time, I’m gonna keep my mouth shut. This time, I’m gonna let the pictures tell the story.
Living in Little Cottonwood Canyon during the winter, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy backcountry skiing in both wilderness and watershed areas, zones that are free (read – prohibited) of snow-machine travel. If you’re reading this, most likely you’re a skier or snowboarder, and even if you use an old beat-up sled to get deep into the mountains, once you’re there you probably trade it for skins and slog your way up the mountainside to earn your face shots. Backcountry skiing is about solitude and isolation, a dance with the wilderness. When not used correctly, snow-machines can create a noisy, hectic, and often dangerous atmosphere. If you value you value the solitude and serenity of a quiet mountain range dressed in white, then you should know this: on June 18th, the Forest Service issued a long-awaited rule for public comment on designating areas as open or closed to winter motorized vehicles, this is a good first step, but comments from our backcountry community can make it stronger! Your help is both needed and essential to capitalize on this opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry. By designating specific trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use may occur, winter travel planning is an opportunity to bring balance to the backcountry. The community of backcountry skiers needs to be heard! Please consider adding your comment to the voices of support for human-powered winter recreation. To get a better grasp of the issues at hand, and help you draft a comment worthy of consideration, the Winter Wildlands Alliance has put together a very helpful page to aid you in navigating this beurocratic issue. Keep reading to see a few links that can help you along, as well as my annotated comment if you’re interested. LET’S DO THIS!!!
In the last year, there’s been a growing trend in bike-to-climb and bike to (fill in the blank) adventures being pursued by professional climbers and athletes and making it into the media.I don’t claim to have any influence over this occurance, it’s an awesome thing, a sign of the awareness our generation is bringing to the table. Seeing this type of stuff in the media is truly inspiring, getting people stoked for bicycle powered adventures is only a good thing. There are also trends going on in the bicycle world I have been trying to influence. My generation is among those who helping to define a new era by choosing to not own a car or hold a drivers license. We are in a unique and optimal position to be able to go car-free, use a bike for transportation, and take part in extended adventures. Although I’m not often obnoxious about getting friends to change their habits or get rid of their car, when I see an opportunity, I capitalize. Engine troubles, transmission problems, and maintenance issues are great times to encourage friends to drive their shitty rig’s off a cliff. For the most part this is received with polite laughter, as in, I’ll laugh at your joke you crazy car-less psycho, but if done well and to the right kind of individual, even this technique can reap rewards. Other angles and tactics can be effective as well, the most useful of which is truth. Looking someone deep in the eyes and telling them the truth has proven to be very effective. “Yo bro! You’re blowing it!” This site is simply a mouthpiece for my musings, a journal in which I feel too critical to even write often, but one I try and keep up to date none the less. But this is also another way that I’m trying to spread the word, to provide a positive and encouraging example of what a bicycle life could look like. With that in mind here’s a look into the current adventure-bicycle scene, and the smaller world I’ve been able to affect. Cheers!Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.