What to say and do when you don’t know what to say or do

A perk of my job is the opportunity to make connections with people—someone I’m interviewing (often someone I admire), someone who reads something I write, and so forth. Occasionally, I get to see or learn or attend something cool, like last weekend’s Adventure Film Festival in Boulder.

We often disparage groupthink as perilous, but it can have the opposite effect, too. Sitting in a theater full of people who are psyched on adventuring, whatever that means to them, is inspiring.  Continue reading “What to say and do when you don’t know what to say or do”

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A mid-season reflection: What are those turns worth?

As I’ve written before, I’ve spent a lot of the last handful of years thinking about death. Not in an abstract way—what is life; who am I?—but in an all-too-real, terribly concrete way: both professionally and for recreation, the pursuits I’m drawn to require us to undertake a great deal of risk, and lately I’ve read the accident reports of peers, colleagues, friends-of-friends, and role models who bore the consequences of that risk in the most catastrophic way imaginable. Continue reading “A mid-season reflection: What are those turns worth?”

A post where things get heavy: On life, death, and life-and-death matters

Until recently, I’ve spent very little of my life thinking about death. It was pleasantly abstract; a concept with which I was lucky enough to have almost no personal experience. I have four living grandparents. I can count the funerals I’ve attended on one hand.

As my interests in climbing and skiing developed from infatuation to lifestyle, though, I’ve been forced to come to grips with the harsher realities of my chosen professional and recreational pursuits.

I first realized it when I was an intern at the American Alpine Club. As I pored over old editions of Accidents in North American Mountaineering, tallying the ways in which climbers had been hurt or killed in the preceding decades, it dawned on me: Statistically speaking, if you do this long enough, you or someone you know will die.

Continue reading “A post where things get heavy: On life, death, and life-and-death matters”

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” –John Muir

If you didn’t know any better, the pullout at Seward Highway Mile 48 would look like any other makeshift rest area on Alaska’s most dangerous highway. In fact, if not for the half-dozen bumper-stickered Outbacks and Tacomas with toppers, a couple of dirtbags like us might have driven right past it.

Continue reading ““The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” –John Muir”