Back to basics

No one is ever going to ask me to describe my climbing style in a single word, but if they did, it would be “serviceable.” As with most activities I take on, I am a profoundly mediocre rock climber.

This also goes for skiing, which I’ve been doing for something like a quarter-century. Despite skiing many hundreds of days, I am still a “Well, I can get down just about anything, but it might not be pretty” skier. After nearly a decade, I am an extremely intermediate mountain biker. I’ve been distance running since I was a freshman in high school, yet here I remain, the slowest marathoner you know.  Continue reading “Back to basics”

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No goals allowed

I have a small stack of journals sitting on my desk. I don’t write in them regularly; they’re mostly for keeping notes while I’m traveling. I’ll often go weeks or months between scrawled, barely-legible entries. In the back of each one, there is a tally of annual nights spent in a sleeping bag (tents, yurts, huts, cabins, hammocks, and truck beds all count). I’m usually in the thirties by mid-May, and, for the last few years, I’ve broken 100 nights by September or October.  Continue reading “No goals allowed”

How to make a resolution

“What a great New Year’s resolution!” says no one to me ever, “How thoughtful and creative!”

My hypothetical admirer is right. I’m great at making resolutions. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been known to resolve such bold and commendable things as “Drink more water,” “Finish your damn thesis, already,” and, one I’m still working on, “Expend less energy on self-loathing.” (That one’s a work in progress.) Continue reading “How to make a resolution”

Red Hot lovin’

Around this time last year, I started a new job. In an office. I’d spent most of the previous five years working mostly outside: as a backpacking instructor, conducting field research in grad school, a brief stint as a whitewater raft guide. The closest thing I’d had to an office job still allowed me to ski, on the clock, a few times a month. This was a big shift. Continue reading “Red Hot lovin’”

Who’s rooting for you?

“Did you send it???” My text message whooshes into the vast internet netherworld. Seconds later, I’m greeted by the familiar dancing ellipsis, and the anticipation builds as I wait for my friend Pat to tell me if he’s finally sent Sonic Youth, a route described on Mountain Project as “one of Clear Creek’s best climbs.”

“Did you send it???”

My text message whooshes into the vast internet netherworld. Seconds later, I’m greeted by the familiar dancing ellipsis, and the anticipation builds as I wait for my friend Pat to tell me if he’s finally sent Sonic Youth, a route described on Mountain Project as “one of Clear Creek’s best climbs.” Continue reading “Who’s rooting for you?”