Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10 Places

I'm not sure how to go about compiling this list.  What is my criteria?  I don't know.  My methods for doing this are as haphazard as just about anything I do.  This list is by no means exhaustive nor rank ordered.  Tomorrow it could be a different list, although not entirely (some of these are just indisputable).  But as far as today is concerned, this is it.  This is a list of 10 places you must go...or maybe it's only a list of 10 places that I have been but are unforgettable.

Zion National Park
The first time I felt complete awe looking up - and all around as well
Grand Teton - the summit
The feeling of complete awe looking down
Bonneville Shoreline Trail with Malan's Peak
The daily - right out the back door.  Countless hikes, bikes, climbs, jogs and dog walks.
Brit is on the eternal dog walk up there.
The Entire Southwest Desert Landscape
I tried to pick one part but I couldn't.  All are unique brushstrokes to a more compelling painting 
Wheeler Creek to Snowbasin - biking
Way back when, this was my inspiration.  And then there's the moose and the autumn leaves too
The Cirque of the Towers
Probably heaven
Patagonia, Sudamerica
The epitome of everything
Tidal Pools - anywhere in the ocean
Felt like a kid again
The Redwoods
Mystified in the mist
Little Cottonwood Canyon - climbing
The full spectrum of emotions from total success to utter defeat and everything in between


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Time in Between

I often lock myself out of my apartment.  It usually happens when things get too chaotic or when I am experiencing excessive stress.  I almost did that very thing the morning I took this photo.  Just before locking myself out I realized I didn't have my keys.  I ran back in and grabbed them and returned to look up the steps and see this.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Home Court Advantage

Upper portion of Kamps ridge.
I never thought it would happen in my own backyard.  Everything just seems more casual in a familiar environment.  Perhaps that is why it happened.  Perhaps that is why I experienced my first ever unplanned bivy on, what should have been, a mellow, enjoyable day out climbing.

All things being considered it was a great day.  It was a beautiful setting with fun movement on clean rock, great weather, and a "casual" route.  There were hiccups, of course, but nothing too crazy.  We probably started later than we should have.  My partner and I had never climbed together before.  Route finding was tricky in a couple of sections.  We moved slower than I would have liked since I hadn't been climbing much and I was a bit rusty.  I also hadn't prepared for a late finish, i.e. I didn't bring my headlamp.  These and other factors contributed to our troubles.

If you do the math it all adds up.  We made the summit but there was only about 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight left.  A sense of haste took over as we scrambled to the rappels.  It was quite important to me that we find the anchors with some daylight left given the fact that I had no headlamp (although my partner wisely brought his).  But we didn't find the raps.  Cairns can be great navigating tools when they mark what it is you are looking for.  In the diminishing light we stumbled upon a pile of rocks that seemed right for our descent so it appeared like we would make it to the car after all.  I felt confident having been down those rappels a few times in the past.  Only after wasting a significant amount of time and all of our natural light did I discover that we had started down the wrong chute, one that would surely spit us out onto a steep-enough field of consolidated snow with no axes and crampons . . . in the dark.  We had to return to the ridge.

On the ridge again we continued our fruitless effort to find the rappels.  It became obvious that a decision was warranted which was hard to make, feeling more than defeated by the prospect of being benighted in such a familiar place.  I had been there before.   I had the home court advantage.  On that day I expected more for less for some silly reason.  Much to my chagrin I suggested to my partner that we sleep it off on the mountain.

The weather was good, I had an emergency blanket, and it wasn't a bad night even if it wasn't that restful.  In the morning it still took longer than expected to find the rappels, having more luck finding rattlesnakes.  To boot, below the rappels there was still a difficult field of snow to maneuver through that would have proven nasty in the dark of the previous night.  

I think we made the right decision to bivy.  We got home, thirsty and hungry, and I was late for work but I really can't wait to climb Kamps Ridge again, this time with far fewer complications.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Considerations from Pingora

In my life I have spent more time and energy than is reasonably expected to experience extraordinary places.  It has been one of my primary motivations.  It has also cost me important opportunities and taken its toll on many of my relationships.  Sometimes I struggle to communicate to others why it is so important, often just believing that they understand.  Through my photographs and stories I have attempted to educate others as well as express the value of it all but occasionally I receive criticism for being very selfish and to that I can't argue.  I do derive great personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from my travels but hopefully those with whom I share my experiences understand that it goes beyond the personal.

The world is a pretty remarkable place that deserves better consideration than we give it.  As an integral (and overwhelmingly large) part of the big picture, people should seek every opportunity to think on it more.

These photos are from a recent visit to a place that gave me tremendous opportunities to think a lot more.