3rd Time is the Charm

Travel Tip: Do not show up at the airport more than 4 hours before your flight. You won’t be able to check your bag and you’ll be extra bored not being able to go through security.

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My history with Fly boys is long and storied. But definitely involves dropped phones flat tires and another San Peligrino on my windowsill. After two failed attempts I added Flyboys to my 30 before list. As if I needed any more motivation to get back to Mazama to climb the 18 pitch sport route. When Nick and I were asked to present on our 20 peaks trip in Seattle I jumped on the opportunity to turn it into a climbing trip and Flyboys sat firmly at the top of my to do list.  I invited Gage, the first person I attempted it with, Jimmy, the second person I attempted it with, Nick who would be presenting with me in Seattle and Kate who had wanting to climb for quite a while. Jimmy bailed, Then Nick bailed. So invited my sister, Sarah. Then Nick was back in. Then Gage bailed. In the end there was 4 of us. Me, Sarah, Kate and Nick. We broke into two teams. I had the most experience and Sarah had the least so we teamed so I would lead every pitch and Kate Nick climbed together so they could swap leads. I took off first and almost immediately I lost Kate and Nick. At the end of pitch 4 I wasn’t having any fun. I was stressed out. I didn’t know how far back my friends were and I wished Gage and or Jimmy was there. I was in this beautiful place doing essentially my favorite activity with one of my favorite people and I wasn’t having any fun. Even then at the top of pitch 4 I realized how stupid that was. It didn’t change my feelings though. I stopped there and let a pair of climbers pass us. And then when Nick and Kate caught up with us I made them pass us. And having the group all together made me feel less stressed. but I still wasn’t present and I still wasn’t really enjoying myself.

At pitch 7 I began to have a bit of doubt about weather or not we would be able to make it through all 18 pitches, before sun down. And started being impatient. Sorry.  Rappelling down would have been a pretty horrible so getting to the top before the sun set was our best option. Once the last of us reached the the top of pitch 7 I felt a little bit of relief, but we still had 3 of our hardest pitches to go. And by pitch 10 we were all exhausted. Sarah was having self doubt. Nick was having hand cramps. I was wondering why I ever wanted to do 18 pitches.

On pitch 11 a made split second decision to go slightly off route and combine the pitch with pitch 12. I skipped past Nick and Kate. I decided I was going to try to make things as easy as possible for every one else. Pitch 14 was going to be one of the toughest pitches. I had Sarah leave the quick draws on route so that Nick could lead it with draws in place. I made my sister lead pitch 15 so I could wait at the top of pitch 14 and encourage the other two through it. I yelled encouragement and sprayed beta. And when the last of us reached the top of pitch 14 I knew we would make it through it, but I still wanted to beat sunset. I put my arm out in front of me and counted my fingers. 6 fingers from the sun to the top of the hills. We only had an hour and half until sunset. We couldn’t slow down. I collected all of the draws so I could just leave them on each pitch through pitch 18. Many consider pitch 18 the toughest pitch, but I moved through the bouldery problems quickly and reached the top with more than half an hour until sunset. I let out a yell, something I almost never do at the top of routes and set my final belay for the day. After Sarah reached the top I set our rope as a fixed line and rappelled down to take a few photos of Kate leading the final pitch as the sun was setting.

At the top we all split my San Pelligrino. Probably the best testing San Pelligrino I have ever had.

At the of the day I was excited to have finally climbed fly boys. I was proud of my myself and my friends for what we had accomplished, but I was unconvinced that I still actually enjoy climbing. Regardless I was a able to cross it off my 30 before 30 list. Here is my updated 30 before 30:

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Wild and Free

We got this trip off to an interesting start. The entire pacific Northwest was predicted to be hit with a snow storm people were calling snopocalypse. The results in Portland were a little bit of snow that didn’t even stick.  Seattle allegedly got hit pretty hard. Our first flight was from Portland to Seattle before taking a longer flight to Frankfurt. but 4 hours before the flight took off I got a good alert that it was cancelled. First I took a screen shot and sent it to Claudia (and posted it to my Instagram story. )img_20190211_114257_6496036848057537681335.jpg

Then I called Alaska Airlines.

“We are currently experiencing long wait times. We can call you back in 56 to an hour and 24 minutes”

We headed to the airport hoping to speak to someone there. With just a few minute before we arrived at the Airport I got a call back. At first it didn’t sound encouraging.

“Oh, that won’t work.” Long Pause “All the flights from Portland to Seattle are cancelled” Long Pause “Okay, I think this will work, how close are you to the airport?”

As we pulled into the Airport we had a possible flight. She put me on hold to get all the details sorted out. We would be flying through San Francisco instead of Seattle and on United instead of Alaska+ Condor. But none of that mattered; we were flying to Frankfurt and we would only be 30 minutes later than we were originally scheduled.

The 9 hour time difference was rough, but we slowly adapted.

After a day in Frankfurt Tanja observed “I don’t think you guys have really changed. Not really” And I think we all knew what she meant. That even though so many things about us had changed. We were still able interact the same way we did 12 years before.

A day or so later Claudia said to Gloria “We really haven’t changed, you are still wild and free and I’m still uptight”

“I think she is trying to say that you have poor time management and stresses her out” I said

“That is the nicest way any one has ever told me I have poor time management”

Gloria, Claudia, and I left Frankfurt by train. There weren’t enough seats so we spent the first half of the ride sitting on the ground. Eventually we arrived in Munich and pulled up directions to our airbnb. “These directions are like a scavenger hunt” said Claudia as she looked of the instructions she had printed out.

I plugged the address into my phone. “It’s this way” We fallowed my phone until we reached the apartment building. “How do we get in?”

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“We need to waive the key near the door frame”

“Where do we get the key?”

“I don’t know, It says we need to find a blue bike”

When we found the blue bike in one of the 9 locations it might have been around the city. We had to crack not, but two safes to retrieve the key. After that we traveled to an extravagant maze to reach our home for the evening.

After a couple of days in Munich Gloria was headed home. Before her train left we grabbed one final drink.

We had finished our beers and were chatting. When Gloria looked at her phone and said “We need to go like now” We flagged down the waiter and paid for our drinks. Then off we ran. Down an escalator. Around and down another. We pilled into the train back to the main station with seconds to spare. “When we to the main station I think I’ll only have 5 minutes to get to my train.” The Main station is huge and she also had to grab her back back from the locker.

The doors to the train opened and and we were off running again. Up an escalator around up another and then another.  “WILD and FREE!!!” Gloria yelled as she darted up the final escalator to the surface. When we arrived at the locker Gloria checked the time. “I think I’m going to make it!!”

And she did!!

The next morning Claudia and I took a bus to Zurich. And the fallowing day I went skiing in the Swiss Alps I told all my friends ahead of time that I was going mostly only going skiing in Switzerland to make them jealous. And I’m sure that I was successful. The skiing was fun the weather was beautiful and the Alps are fucking stunning. Let me just say there is a reason people like to compare mountain ranges to the alps. At the top of the resort there is a restaurant with 360 views. Mountains in every direction.pano_20190220_1235378225183269170582336.jpg

I sat up there with the sun on my back staring out at the mountains drinking a beer and I thought. “This is bliss.” Then I got back on my on my skis and dropped 3000 feet to the bottom. I hopped back on the lift and did the run again.

 

Europe

Two years ago yesterday I got home from my first real international trip. Yes I had been to Canada and Mexico before that, but traveling to Australia and New Zealand felt different. On Monday I leave for my second real international trip and my first trip to Europe.

About 6 months ago I got a Facebook invite to my high school reunion. I’m sure no one is surprised to know that I wasn’t that interested in attending. But it did make me think about the people who I did miss and did want to see. So I got on Facebook and sent a message to two of my best friends from my graduating class Gloria and Leo. I then added in a friend from the class behind ours, Claudia. After a few messages Claudia were planning a trip to visit Gloria in Germany. Leo unfortunately wasn’t going to be able to join.

I’m actually more nervous about this trip than I was for my trip to hike across both islands in New Zealand. For that trip I knew what I’d be doing. I would be walking long distance. That is something I’m good at. I would be eating like a hiker and sleeping in the woods as often as possible. Easy. This trip is different. We have housing already set up for most of the nights and our train/bus tickets already booked, but I have no idea what we will do with ourselves all day. I guess that’s part of the fun. But it feels weird to me to travel somewhere with out a mission.

After 9 day of hanging with my friends I head solo to Spain. I’m excited for that. because I actually really enjoy spending time away from anyone who knows me. Both when I was on the PCT and when I was in New Zealand I got to do a little hiking by myself. After making group decisions for a long period of time it feels incredibly liberating for me to be able to make any decision on a whim. It also makes me nervous though, because I’m not always the most social and I can struggle to make new friends.

I’m sure it will work out. And I am super excited to see Gloria for the first time in years!!!

I’ll to blog about my travels, but I will probably fail. But it doesn’t matter, because no one will read it anyway.

 

Taking a Break from Social Media

About a month and a half ago I completely deactivated my social media accounts. I did this for a few reasons. The first being that I felt I was wasting a significant amount of my time. I would open up Instagram scroll through until it told me I had seen everything from the last few day. Then I’d open up face book and scroll through ads and shared memes until I realized I had already seen everything. Then I’d close facebook and open instagram.

I was looking through the settings on instagram when I stumbled upon a feature that told me how much time I was spending on instagram each day. It was spending nearly 30 minutes a day on instagram. I figured it was probably a similar number for facebook. I figured I could probably use that time more productively. And while that time was definitely spread out over an entire day I felt like it was time not really adding value to my life.

Beyond the wasted time it just feels disingenuous. We share all of the snippets from our lives with the world and together they paint this picture. But that picture doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story. We have all these friends we know so many things about and yet we don’t know at all. And for me knowing all of these things felt as though it was actually a block on real conversation.

I’ve taking time away from social media before and I always come back. I’ve come back this time because it can be a resource to connect with and meet people who have similar interest. I reactivated my facebook so I could find climbing partners in Spain.  And I reactivated my instagram, because I’m going climbing in Spain and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to use these snippets to paint the picture of myself as someone who is always off on some epic adventure.

 

Post Trail Depression

Since I got back from New Zealand nearly 2 years ago I’ve been trying to write this blog post. Sometimes I’ve started typing it up. Sometimes its sat there with nothing but a title waiting for me to miraculously gain motivation to tell a story that has already been told by many others in many different ways. Some people have tried to pin point the causes others have discussed the solutions.

I hadn’t even heard of post trail depression until I finished the PCT. In November of 2014 I reached the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Shortly after that I was back at home in the middle of winter with no job, no money and an abundance of time. When I stumbled upon a blog post on Post Trail Depression I realized it was describing me. I didn’t feel sad exactly just empty.

I found a job and it occupied some of my time. I started being more active again, running climbing and a bit of backpacking. I felt more like myself, but I still missed the PCT every day and wanted to recreate the magic I felt from that hike. I started planning my next hike, Te Araroa, a long trail across both islands in New Zealand. It seemed perfect. I had always wanted to visit New Zealand (I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings) it’s summer was during our winter and it presented a unique set of challenges that I hadn’t had to deal with on the PCT. It was an amazing experience, but it wasn’t my first thru hike and some(most) of the magic was gone.  There was also a cloud hanging over the entire trip; post trail depression was a real possibility for when I returned home. Before I returned from New Zealand I had a plan.

When I got home I immediately made moves toward finding a job. I started running and climbing again. And I made an effort to spend time with friends. I would write a post on Post Trail Depression. The blog post never happened, but neither did the Post Trail Depression. I loved my job and felt respected and appreciated. I kept climbing and running. I had made a decision to do little things consistently to take care of my mental well being rather than live one large trip to the next seeking the magic I had found on the PCT.

Then came the 20 peaks trip. Though the idea dated back to 2015 we didn’t give it life until last January. The pieces all fell into place and we were off. The trip was big, but I felt inspired by it. I had to see if we could do it. We did it and it all the magic I had found before plus a good dose more. I had fought off post trail depression before I would do it again. Dive back into work, run, climb. I did that. Then I got injured, I stopped running. I felt fine, until I didn’t. I’ve started running again, but the emptiness is still there. I want to get back to consistently doing the little things to take care of my mental health, but I also feel like something big might be the only thing that can make me feel genuinely happy. And I’ve upped the ante, because finding a trip as epic as the one we did last year might not be possible.

I wasn’t able to write the post before, because I wasn’t feeling it. I feel it now.

In other news: My 30 before 30 list is off to a good start. I have already crossed “start a retirement account” off my list and am 5 days into a month with out alcohol. I’ve taken significant steps toward making Germany Switzerland and Spain happen. I have also been climbing regularly and recently started running again which will set me up nicely toward several of my before 30 goals. I have things to look forward to. I should be exited about those things.

I was having a hard time motivating myself to go for a run today. I didn’t want to drive to run on a trail and I didn’t want to run on the roads. It felt tedious. So I opted to run to the track and run a mile as fast as I could. That wouldn’t be tedious. Stupid: yes. Arbitrary: obviously. But at least it wasn’t tedious!

I was contemplating bailing on skiing with my friends, because that would be good for my mental health…. But thankfully I found the motivation to go.

I plan on blogging a bit more. No one will see it which I have mixed feeling about, but I think its helpful,

30 Before 30

Typically at the start of each year I write a list of a few things I want to accomplish this year. But in 2019 I turn 29. So instead of a few items I’ve decided to write out a list of 30 things I want to accomplish, before I turn 30. I have just over a year to check these things off. A few of the items on my list are cumulative and I wont start tracking those numbers until I turn actually turn 29 on February 8th.

30 Before 30

  1. Run 750+ miles

  2. Run Timberline Trail

  3. Ski 20+ days

  4. Ski in Switzerland

  5. Do a one armed pull up

  6. Climb V9 in Gym

  7. Lead 5.12 outside

  8. Lead 5.10 Trad

  9. Climb Flyboys

  10. Climb North Ridge of Stewart

  11. Climb Serpentine Route

  12. Climb Zion @ Smith

  13. Ride to Whitney from death valley and climb it via east face

  14. Climb in Spain

  15. Build a Kayak

  16. Visit 3 states I’ve never been to.

  17. Visit Gloria in Germany

  18. Visit a New National Park

  19. Surf

  20. Kayak around the San Juans

  21. Get a pedicure

  22. Get a tattoo

  23. Go a month without caffeine

  24. Go a month without alcohol

  25. Read/ Listen to 30+ books

  26. Write a short and submit it to the dirtbag diaries.

  27. Start a retirement plan

  28. Move out of Salem

  29. Start planning next big trip

  30. Create 40 before 40

2018

When I was was younger I use to scoff at New Years Resolutions. The changing of a year is just another day and you aren’t suddenly going to change out all of your bad habits for good ones. I was cynical back then. I’m still cynical, but now I’ve come to appreciate the changing of the year as a time to reflect on your past year and make goals for the next one.

In January this year I wrote down a list of goals for 2018. The list had four things on it:

  • Run a 50 miler or 100k
  • Climb Mount Jefferson and North Sister
  • Lead a 5.12a outside
  • Climb a V8 in a gym

Shortly after writing down this list Mark Nick and I started planning our 20 Peaks sufferfest that would include climbing both Mount Jefferson and North Sister. And so to to prepare for all four of my goals and our sufferfest I started running regularly and climbing regularly. After a finger injury set me back on my climbing it took me a while to get back to where I wanted to be, but in March I was climbing really strong in the gym and I thought I might have a chance to send a V8 before I left for a two month long work trip. But I didn’t have much time. I only had one session to climb the hardest boulder problem I had ever attempted. I found a problem that looked fun and in my wheelhouse and fell off on the first move. 2 hours later I had pulled every move on the problem, but I hadn’t even tried to put it together. I was also very tired, but I wasn’t going to get a chance to work on it after that day so I had to see if I could do. I took a 30 minute break and told myself “I’ve got one go left in me.” I got back on the wall and sent it using everything I had left.

While I was on my work trip I managed to get a bit of climbing in Including climbing the hardest route I ever had outside an 11a I was a long ways off and I wasn’t able to train like had been in March. My climbing fitness was slipping, but I was able to keep a pretty good running schedule as tried to stay in shape for our 20 peaks trip.

When June rolled around and our 20 peaks trip got under way I was able to tick off my second goal for the year by summiting Jefferson and North Sister as well as 18 other peaks in a 20 day window. But I’m sure you’ve all heard enough about that.

With 20 peaks completed it was time to get back into climbing shape and running shape. I had signed up for a 100k and was short on time to train for it. My fitness was high from June, but I needed to turn it into ultra marathon shape with no time to spare. The training went really well until 2 weeks before the race I rolled my ankle. It wasn’t too terrible and it was time to recover for the race anyway so I took a step back and let rest be my top priority heading into my race. I started the race off relaxed and easy and before too long I found myself well ahead of my goal time. Feeling good I continued to cruise that pace until my body abruptly let me know that I was not consuming enough calories. I stopped briefly for a caffeinated snack and quickly felt better. When I hit the halfway mark in the heat of the day I took a quick dip in the lake and continued moving. At 36 miles I was feeling pretty good, but by 39 miles my hip was in excruciating pain. When I hobbled into mile 44 I was sure I should stop, but I was also 2.5 hours ahead of the cut off time and I needed to do everything I possibly could at that aid station to give my hip a chance to heal. Minutes before the cut off I tested out my hip. It was still painful, but not like it had been. So I ran on it. Then it got worse and worse and worse. When I hit the next check point at mile 50 it was clear I wouldn’t be finishing the race. I had run too many miles on a slightly swollen ankle and 50 miles was as close as I would get. Reaching the 50 mile mark meant that I did sort of reach my 2018 goal though, but not really.

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After a few days of not being able to walk and a few more of not being able to climb I settled into climbing training again. And once again worked my way back into shape, but I was still a long ways from a 12a. I sent an 11b at Smith, but never even managed to attempt a route harder than that. I set my goal high and I fell a little short, but I still managed to climb my first 5.11 and I got better and more confident, because I was striving for such a lofty goal. I’ll get it next year.

2018 was a really good year. Aside from the goals I set back in January I also managed to accomplish many other things I didn’t even think of. I got accepted to Portland Mountain Rescue and became field deployable. I got a promotion at work, even if I’m not sure if I wanted it. I climbed the longest multi pitch I have ever climbed. I climbed the the hardest trad route of my life, even if I had to aid through part of it. Climbed 20 peaks in 20 days!!!! Made new friends. Spent time with old friends. Visited new places.

All in all a really good year!!!

Here is a graph of where I have slept in 2018:Where I slept in 2018

Summit San Pelligrino

I have a tradition of bringing San Pellegrino’s to the top of mountains. I’ve expanded that tradition to drinking them at the end of long trails and at the top of multi pitches. It has also extended to to my friends group. The San Pellegrino I drank at the top of Rainier the first time I climbed Rainier was possibly the most refreshing beverage I have had. I was exhausted and a bit nauseous, but after stopping and and drinking the San Pellegrino I felt fine. I once carried a San pelli for 600km so I could drink one when I finished my through hike of New Zealand. But I’ve turned back before the summit on many climbs. A couple years ago I started saving San pellegrino from climbs I attempted, but did not summit. I leave those undrank San pellignos on my window sill as a visual to do list.

My San Pellegrino obsession began back in college when I was a part of the Adventure Leadership Institute. I remember on a 5 day rafting trip on the lower deschutes our instructors Josh and Ty were always chilling and sipping on San Pellegrino. San Pellegrino, became a huge part of camp culture at the ALI. So instead of a summit beer I bring a summit San Pellegrino and when I fall short of the summit I add a can to my window sill and I vow to go back to enjoy that San Pellegrino. I’ve been able to drink my Broken top San Pelli and my North Sister, but the collection on my window seems only to grow.

Two weeks ago I added another San Pelli to my to do list. My friend Gage and I set out to climb Flyboys an 18 pitch sport climb in the North Cascades, but we got shut down after only 2 pitches due to rain. With a busy schedule and the wet season upon us I assumed it would be months before I would get another attempt on Flyboys. But less than a week later another friend reached out and wanted to give it a go. I had one free day in the next couple weeks and it looked as though we might have one more good weather window, before the rainy season. And then my busy schedule got even more hectic. When I had to take last work trip to Hawaii. But I pushed a couple other obligations aside to give Flyboys a shot.

I flew back in to Portland late on Friday and On Saturday I made to long drive to the North Cascades. We went to run shuttle and Shelby’s Jetta got a flat tire. Normally a non issue, but Jettas have special lug nuts and we were without the key. After driving down the hill to get service we called AAA, but they would be unable to help on a gravel road. Shelby and Kevin would have to deal with the flat the next day instead of climbing. So to make things simpler and quicker Jimmy and I hoped on Prime Rib instead. Prime rib is an 11 pitch route on the same wall.

The climbing was fun and the weather was perfect. We topped out and drank San Pellis. But I’ll have to leave my Flyboys San Pelli for another time.

Summit Selfies

It’s been a month since we finished our sufferfest. Which means I have been trying to write this blog post for an entire month. I guess that has given me time to reflect or whatever. More than anything though I haven’t had much time. I’ve been so busy since the trip that I really haven’t done much reflection. A couple days after we all reflected with a bit of disbelief “we actually did it” Fallowed shortly with “I’m definitely done with long sloggy glacier routes for a while though” Fallowed by making plans to climb rock routes the fallowing weekend.

Way back in January I wrote down a list of goals for 2018. The list had four things on it:

  • Run a 50 miler or 100k
  • Climb Mount Jefferson and North Sister
  • Lead a 5.12a outside
  • Climb a V8

So back in March I managed to climb a V8. I was super stocked. Also back in March I signed up for a 100k. That 100k happens to be in a month. So after completing my second goal for the year by ticking off the North sister and Jefferson as part of our sufferfest it was time to train for my last 2 goals.

So long story short here is the entire summit self collection. I would say more about the trip, but I don’t have time I have to go for a run!!!

 

5 Days 7 Peaks

We wanted to Suffer. We wanted to be a little miserable and yesterday delivered. After 5 Mountains in 4 day it was time for another 2 peak day. We settled on two similar peaks. Washington and Three Fingered Jack both require a little bit of rope work, but the approaches are typically relatively easy. The approaches yesterday were anything, but easy.

 

After Climbing Lassen on day 1 we were feeling great and plenty of time to get our selves sorted for a big day on Shasta. The original plan was to climb Shasta and Shastina on day 2, but after reaching the summit of Shasta we decided to skip Shastina because “It looks a little lame” in its place we decided to add in Diamond Peak. To stay on pace we needed to added in another peak that day. Next in line was McLaughlin. We started up Mclaughlin and 4 pm and with a little trail running on the way down we managed to make it down without even needing to turn on our head lamps. It was huge day and we felt surprisingly good when we were done.

Mount Thielsen is a fantastic climb and it could not have gone any smother for us than it did. At the end of the climb we felt better than we did at the start.

Next up was Diamond Peak and since it was a recent add to the trip we had done less research on it than the others. Google Maps gave us directions that took us essentially due North from Thielsen down a gravel road. It seemed like the best option so we headed down the road. As we got closer the road continued to get worse and worse until we encountered a downed tree. There would be no getting through on that road. We back tracked a bit and went around. After a couple more turnarounds we reached our trail head. The climb itself was a wonderful climb, but the drive out was more of the same.

Day 5 we took off for Washington in decent spirits, but the way down was a slog and none of us were particularly interested in getting out of our lawn chairs after we sat down to eat at the Three finger Jack trail head.  When we finally built up the courage to get started the mountain didn’t have any interest in making it easy on our tired legs. The trail soon became covered in patchy snow. The up and over the snow patches was making all of us a little irritated. The patchy snow turned into consistent snow as we traversed around the mountain to the climbers trail. We were struggling and our energy was dropping. When we finally made the ridge our spirits began to raise again. Reaching the summit we were only half way there, but the way back was far more enjoyable as we took the ridge as far as we could. With the end in site we finished the climb completely ready for a rest day!

This is what we asked for so I guess we can’t complain.