Monday, December 10, 2007

Long Time, No See

It sure has been a while since the last post. Unfortunately my time in the last two months has been spent otherwise employed in my studies, but fortunately I have been having plenty of fun and wild adventures. I guess I'll start where I left off back in September. Since I last wrote here, I have had many adventures. Lots of climbing up in Boulder Canyon before it got too cold, lots of skydiving (I'm up to 25 jumps and still going regularly), lots of slacklining, and lots of kite flying. Mary and I have been having some incredible times together, and have been really living life to the fullest, which is my number one priority lately.

In October Mary and I set up a really cool highline in the trees across the Boulder Creek Path. It was a real blast and the rigging took forever because I was mostly doing it on my own. However, the line was a success and even though we were trespassing, (which eventually was the reason we took the line down) it was still a fun adventure and we both got some great walks in. Mary is really incredible on the slackline. Also in October were plenty of trips to the drop zone to do some skydiving. Mary finally finished her AFF just recently and is now doing solo jumps! Once she gets her A license we can jump together, an achievement which we are both looking forward too.



At the end of October, we competed in the Spot Psychadelia, an annual bouldering competition that takes place with black lights, fluorescent paint, and lots of trippy climbing costumes. It was pretty fantastic, and Mary ended up taking the cake in the womens recreational category. A movie of the event can be seen here. About halfway through you can see me in a prisoners outfit busting some moves on the slackline:


In November we did some hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, ticking off a few more 12ers Flattop and Hallett. These are pretty easy hikes, but I wanted to judge Mary's climbing strength. Just as I thought, she is a beast on the trail and had no problem keeping me winded the whole time.

On November 16th-20th Mary and I headed down to the Sand Dunes National Monument to play in the dunes, fly our kites, and watch the Leonids Meteor Shower. This was an incredibly fun trip, and we got to just escape reality and fly and jump and play. It really was wonderful.


Not only did we enjoy the dunes, but we also went out to Penitente Canyon for a day and did some sport climbing. Mary did her first lead climb, and then proceeded to lead a 5.10 and flashed a 5.11 as well. I couldn't be more impressed and pleased to have such an incredible climbing partner.

The photos of the trip can be seen at the following link:

Sand Dunes Album

Aside from that I haven't had too many adventures, but there are many in the works. Skydiving after my final on saturday is one which I am greatly looking forward too. Also I have great news. I am now the editor of the new and improved Slackline.com and will soon be publishing monthly editorials on the site with updates in the slackline community, events coming up and personal growth experiences on the slackline. This will eventually turn into a push to publish a magazine, and is a collaborative effort of the best slackliners in the country along with the support of slackline.com's wonderful founders. I am extremely excited about this new position, but because of the involvement in the new age of slacklining, my ability to use my love of writing, and the monetary compensation that this position will provide. Anyway, that's whats new. I'll keep this posted more often. Peace.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Position on Life? (don't publish, just archive)

The fact that you're here doesn't mean you are breathing, and the fact that you are living doesn't mean you're alive. This may sound strange. Learn to live again.

Some people don't have dreams. Other people dream and think how fine their lives could be. They don't change anything. This sounds strange.

It is not true when adults think that they don't grow anymore. Some of them even shrink. Growing is an exciting experience. Step by step there is nothing to be afraid of. The universe is endless.

The bare thought of the undiscovered things and adventures in my life make me so excited that my eyes shine and something restless fulfills my body such that I can't wait to see tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dreams


Have you ever had a dream that you thought was so real that you couldn't tell the difference between that dream and reality?

Have you ever had a dream that you were flying above the world?

Have you ever had a dream that so resembled your passions that you can't help but be motivated to live life in a way that emulates that dream?

Have you ever wondered how life could be different if we didn't have bodily limitations and our spirits could roam free on this earth?

Have you ever loved doing something so much and so completely that you devote your life to doing it?

Have you ever seen the smile on someone's face when they are truly satisfied?

Have you ever sat above the world and admired the glory of the human race?

Have you ever reached out your arms and embraced the goodness of humanity?

Have you ever talked to God? Have you ever had an answer?

Have you ever had so much passion for something that your heart cannot contain it?

No? Have you ever lived?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Endless Sky

Tuesday night I worked ground crew for a BASE jump, Wednesday I slacklined for 2 hours and was late to my important meeting, Today I went skydiving between classes, Tomorrow I am going climbing in Boulder Canyon, Saturday I am going skydiving again, Sunday I am having a slackline/bbq with lots of friends. Life is good :)


They say you don't have time to have fun when you are in Aerospace. I am living proof that whatever they say is wrong. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Do what makes you happy and you will find a way to get through the struggles in your life. A passionate life is a successful life. This is what I live by. Have no doubts, no reservations, no skepticism, just pursue what gives you the greatest pleasure, and your life will be much more enjoyable. We didn't choose to be on this earth, nor do we know why. But who we are and how we got here are insignificant matters compared to what we live for. I live for life.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Monastery Movie

This is me walking the line at The Monastery earlier this summer. Total Mind Rush! Enjoy!

Monastery Video


Doubt.

I question all that is questionable in order to find a higher truth where there is none. I strive to discover a meaning to this random manifestation of life on earth. The more I question, the more I realize the answer is unattainable, and this frustrates me. No amount of adventure can make up for the fact that I cannot find a purpose to my existence. Will I find an answer? probably not, but I'll make sure that I give my life meaning and purpose. I'll make my actions and adventures meaningful and this is the beauty of life. We can chose a path of our own design. If I know anything it is that we are capable of anything we desire. The purpose of life is to cultivate these desires to achieve happiness. The paradox of life is that while happiness is easy to achieve it is nearly impossible to maintain, thus leaving us watching our life pass by as we search for something new. But what can be done when all possibilities are consumed? What if there is nothing left to aspire to? Is that the end? This world is too small for the capacity of the consciousness of man.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Linear Ambition

Linear Ambition

Hip cats do flips on tight line
Thinking panting waxing waning
Come and go this freak show

Smooth like soft skin
Tripping some and gripping others
Peaceful Zen you comprehend
Yet flopping like dismal endeavor

High above bright blue sky do I
Search for higher state of mind
Flapping fabric double backed
Crazy antics do attract
Audience of perplexed proportions

Eyes closed, body knows
Feels thrill of heightened being, then
Stop. Slip. Spin. Burn.
Yin takes painful turn
but Yang takes care to follow

Focus on nothing equals something
Of a spectacular kind
Clarity, temerity, serenity
Walked the gap of space and time
-sr

Friday, August 3, 2007

One Deep Breath

So much in life can be simplified by a very simple action. One Deep Breath. Fear, frustration, stress, any negative emotion can be quickly expelled by just one deep breath. You become calm, cool, collect, and can start to analyze things with a different and more relaxed mindset. Everything that I do becomes easier when I can control my breathing. This weekend I'm going to be completing my level second and third levels of the accelerated free-fall (AFF) class at the mile-high skydiving center. During my first level I was terrified at first, then I took a deep breath and all the fear cleared away, and I jumped out of the plane. It is amazing what we are capable of if we pursue what we are passionate about, and clear away any negative feelings we or others may have.

Here's another poem I wrote recently:



The storm is rising steadily
Soon it sweeps me off my feet
The wind is blowing past the toll
Slowly rising out of control

I am confused
I’ve lost my way
Please bring me back
Another day

I need a place
Where I belong
Unknown sights
Tell me this wrong.

My ship is sinking steadily
The water splashes at my feet
Will I survive I do not know
Alone in life, where did I go?

My heart is dying steadily
The pumping blood looses the beat
Without someone to share my song
Unloving bodies carry on.

The nature of
My human mind
Needs to confide
Secrets divine

Without a pulse, without a place
Without a pace, the human race
One drop drips down, onto the frown
Turned upside down, start the countdown

Who I was and who I’ll be
The past will breathe tranquility
As what I sought from dusk till dawn
Was found inside me all along.
-sr

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cubicle Daydreams

Sitting here in frigid air
My back hurts from this bad chair
I write reports all stinking day
And never get to live or play

The weekend is so close
Only a few days at most
But until then I must wait
Isn’t the office great?

Cover sheets and paper jams
Sometimes I don’t give a wham
Inside with all these boring types
What’s with all the crazy hype?

I wait and wait and wait all day
Shaking from my lack of play.
If only I could be outside.
To jump and sing and run and climb.

I dream of sky and air and space
Anything to leave this place.
They say: “9 to 5 it shall be”
But "No!" I say, "I shall be free."

Jump out of planes and climb on ropes
Nowhere near these office dopes.
I can choose to live my life,
I will not deal with office strife.

Happy is as happy does,
But happiness is hard because
Inside your heart you must find
What brings pleasure to your mind.

I cannot stand this dreadful place
Where Corporate ladders are the race.
I dream of life in mountain air,
For I am simply happy there.
-sr

Friday, July 20, 2007

Castle & Conundrum

This last weekend mom and I cruised over to Aspen for the day and climbed Castle peak and Conundrum Peak. We had a wonderful time and met some really neat people. The Jeep handled the 4wd road to the trailhead with ease, and we found ourselves camping just below the trailhead before getting an early start the next morning. While we were setting up camp in the failing light a young doe came trotting into the campsite and started eating some of the small plants I had urinated on earlier. I was able to stay really still and she didn't see me even though I was about 4 feet away. Pretty incredible. We started hiking at 6:30 the next morning after giving a ride to three people who didn't want to ruin their rental car, and made it to the summit of Castle by about 9:15. There were a few sections where we had to cross the snow, so I kicked some steps in for mom and then she followed behind me. She was a little worried at first, but it was good to push her comfort level a little bit. Once on the top of Castle, I decided to do the traverse over to Conundrum. I made it across in 20 minutes, and then made it back in 25, with a a round trip time of 45 minutes. I covered about 1.5 miles and +600 feet vertical gain and loss in that time, meaning that I was moving really fast over the class 2+ terrain. We descended from Castle after mom had waited for me, and then glissaded about 500 feet down the snow field to get back to the road. Mom had a blast! It was really fun, and made the descent a lot more interesting. After we got back we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's cabin and hung out for the rest of the day, and then returned on Sunday. It was a really fun weekend. I will post pictures soon.

Tomorrow I am headed out to go skydiving, and the following day I will be meeting up with a few really experienced climbers from the Denver area to do a really difficult ridge traverse in RMNP. I can't wait, and I'll be sure to post a lot of pictures.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Crazy Mountain Goats in Chicago Basin

I had some interesting encounters with some mountain goats in Chicago Basin during my San Juan Showdown. Everyone else couldn't hold their nerves as well as I could, so I went in for a closer look.

Youtube Video

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

San Juan Showdown

This post was so long that I had to host it on another site.

Between June 28th and July 8th I went on a trip to the San Juan range in south-western Colorado to climb a bunch of peaks. I managed to climb 13 14ers in 9 days. The trip report can be found by clicking on the following link:

San Juan Showdown

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sawatch Range Finale

This weekend a couple guys from work, Scott and Kyle, as well as myself traveled to the Sawatch range to bag a couple of 14ers. The plan was to leave from work and head out to Leadville and eventually to the Winfield trailhead to climb Huron the next day. The drive was quick, and we stopped at Wendy’s on the way up. Two words: bad idea. I haven’t eaten Wendy’s in about three years, and it didn’t sit well. Lets just say I had a little extra propulsion from the rear to get me up the mountain the next day. Anyway, we were driving in Scott’s Durango, and didn’t have too much trouble getting to Winfield. After that the road got a little bumpy, and we threw it in 4x4 and made it up another 1.5 miles, just a mile short of the upper trailhead. There’s nothing like cruising down old county roads with the Yonder Mountain String Band blasting away on Scott’s bagillion dollar sound system. We hit the hay at about 9 and set the alarms for 4am the next morning.

The Three Apostles from Huron's North Flank

We awoke at 4 to severe Wendy’s syndrome, and decided to give it another half hour before getting up so that our stomachs could settle. We hit the trail at 5:15 and were off into the woods. Huron’s trail is short, but makes up for its shortness with steep and relentless switchbacks. The 3 miles to the top covers about 3500 feet, with almost all of the elevation gain in 2 miles of the trail. Scott had a bad knee, and wasn’t in tip-top shape, so we let him set the pace. The alpenglow that we saw on the trail was amazing, and we had a wonderful view of Ice mountain and the three apostles sitting on the continental divide behind Huron peak. Another notable view were all the Alpine Forget-Me-Nots in the area. Starting at about 12,500 feet, they were scattered all over the mountainside, and it might have been the vividness of my new polarized lenses for my sunglasses, but they were vividly beautiful. We made the summit at about 10:??, taking about 5 hours to climb the peak. I was really happy that Scott and Kyle made it to the top, as this was their first fourteener. The top had an incredible view, we could see every 14er in the Sawatch range, as well as Grays and Torreys, all of the Elk range including the Maroon Bells, Capitol, etc, and even Pikes peak. The sky was very clear and what started as a potentially boring climb turned out to be well worth the trouble. I definitely plan on returning to the area to hike up Ice mountain and the three apostles, as the climb looks really technical and fun, plus Ice mountain is a centennial 13er (one of the 100 highest peaks in Colorado). I plan on tackling this goal after I finish the 14ers sometime next year.

We hiked down and had some food, and then drove to Buena Vista to stock up on some food. We also parked at the park and set up a slackline to put on a show for all the families with their kids, and also to see if any raft guides wanted to come over and have a walk. Unfortunately, I was the only one there who could walk it. Kyle gave it several goes and made some good progress, but while I was walking people just came by and asked my if I was in the circus and silly things like that. After a little slacklining, it was starting to get past the afternoon, and we needed to get to the Harvard trailhead. We picked up some food and headed up to the North Cottonwood Creek trailhead. After some moderate 4x4 we arrived at our destination and set up camp. I took some neat close-ups of the trees and a bridge in the dying light, and then we hit the hay at about 8:00 well before dark.

On the way up Harvard with Yale and Princeton in the background

We awoke at 3:00 to a really neat view of the milky way, and to legs ready to rock and roll. Scott was too tired from the hike the previous day, so he slept in and then went fishing later that morning. Kyle and I hit the trail at about 3:30 and were ready to rock. It was about 3.5 miles from the trailhead to treeline with about 2000 feet elevation gain. It is really easy to hike when it is dark out because the scenery doesn’t distract you, and your goal is a lot simpler. You just put one foot in front of the other and make sure not to stumble on the obstacles dimly lit by the headlamp. We made it to treeline in about 2 hours and took a quick break, then continued to hike, motivated by the increasing light. We were able to see some really amazing views of Mt. Yale and Mt. Princeton, lit up by the Alpenglow.

Kyle and I were feeling good, so we kept on hiking, making it to about 13,000 feet before the sun finally hit us. The last part was really steep, but we made incredible time because the trail was so well maintained and because we were already acclimated by the previous days climb. We were able to make the last 1,400 feet in about 50 minutes, finally summitting at 7:32, 4 hours after we started. I finally finished every 14er in the Sawatch range!

On the summit of Harvard at 7:30am

Mr. Marmot on the summit of Harvard

We enjoyed the view, made friends with the resident Marmot, and then started the descent. We didn’t run into more than 10 people on the way down, but they were all moving slow with heavy packs. Kyle and I only packed the essentials and kept our pack weights down to about 15 pounds. We ran down most of the steep sections, using gravity to our advantage, and were back to the car at 10:30, only 7 hours after we left. It was a 13.5 mile round trip with 4,800 feet in elevation gain, and we averaged nearly 2 miles an hour which is great for my standards. I wanted to stop by the cabin to say hi to the Grandparents but Scott and Kyle were spent and just wanted to get back to Denver to shower and sleep. I didn’t blame them. The first 14er is always really taxing on the body, and Kyle did really well for bagging number 1 and number 2 all in the same weekend. Traffic was bad going back and we arrived at about 2:30. All in all, it was a really fun weekend, although I can’t wait for this next week… Look forward to the next mild adventure, as this will be the best one so far…

To view all the pictures from this trip, click on the following link:
Huron/Harvard Pictures

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Highline at "The Monastery": Truly a Religious Experience

On Sunday June 10th, Said, Dylan and I went to set up a highline at “The Monastery”. The Monastery is actually really close to Estes Park. If you are coming from Denver, you take I-25 to Loveland, and then take highway 34 west towards Estes Park. Once you get to the town of Drake, it is a fun drive up a bunch of switchbacks on a steep dirt road until you get to the trailhead. At that point we got out and started the hike. The hike is only about 1.5 miles, but it is really brutal. It is probably close to 1000 feet of elevation gain and loss in the first ¾ of a mile to get through a really steep cliff section and then across the valley to the climbing area. We hauled butt and it only took about 20 minutes. The rigging took a lot longer though. It was about 3 hours before we had a walkable line. The gap was 35 feet long and about 110 feet high, with Longs peak dominating the horizon in the background. I can honestly say that it is one of the coolest areas I’ve ever been to in, and the fact that we were highlining there was even cooler.



Dylan, one of the guys we met up with for this line, is a really good highliner. He has been walking highlines for several years now, and has quite a few significant walks. Two summers ago he walked the lost arrow spire line in Yosemite. This is the highest established line in the US, and the second highest line in the world. Because of the intensity of the exposure, there have only been 20 people in the world who have walked it. Dylan’s highlining has been featured in many different catalogues and magazines, and it was no surprise that while we were highlining, a couple of older guys who work for Scarpa offered to hook Dylan up with a shoe sponsorship right there at the crag (There were a lot of strong climbers working on 5.12s and 5.13s right near us). They wanted him to wear their shoes while he walked the line, and he gladly agreed. It was really cool. Hopefully after I get some more experience in the realm of highlining, I can get sponsored as well.


Because the line was so short, it was really quite easy to walk, so we all tried doing tricks and other fun things to push the envelope even further as we were on the line. I got the knee drop, lay down and sit start. Said was able to pull off a lot of really cool moves that I don’t know the name for. Dylan was really incredible though, pulling off a couple of surfs, no-hands walking, and a lot of really hard sit moves. It was pretty fun.

Dylan with Longs Peak in the background

By the end of the day, we had all walked the line several times, all with very minimal falling. Nobody took a leash fall, which was great.


This is only my second outdoor highline, but I feel that it was scarier than the first one. In fact, while I was up there I was really questioning my decision to do any sort of intense activity. I couldn’t really find the fun in it for a while. In the words of my Buddy Jeff, “for me I love it...I think that you can never fully understand the beauty of life unless you are scared ****less with the possibility you might die”. Well I’m not so sure that I agree with that, but Jeff jumps out of planes for fun. In my opinion, life wasn’t meant to be drab and boring. God didn’t put us all on this earth to sit on our butts and push the button of a remote all day or complain about everything. It really grinds my gears when people who do nothing with their lives think they have a right to argue about meaningless issues like war, american idol, etc. I think life is so much more worth living if you are on the edge. Of course I make sure that everything is safe on the highline before I do step out onto the void, but at the same time, once you are on the line there is no control whatsoever regarding your fate, except for the ability to put one foot in front of the other. How many people can say that they have simplified their life so much that their entire fate rests on the ability to take a step? Walking is something almost everyone takes for granted and it is an incredibly important human function, but it is never simplified to a matter of life or death. What if everything were simplified in this manner: eating, breathing, blinking, pouring a cup of coffee? Because highlining simplifies life in this manner, I grow an incredible appreciation for everything that I come in contact with. It is hard for people to understand this without having a similar experience, but I feel that I am actually a better person because of highlining, and this is a gift and blessing from God not to be overlooked.



I think that "The Monastery" is an aptly named location.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Kelso Ridge

On June 2nd Kevin Kelly and I decided to go climb Kelso Ridge on Torreys Peak. After Kevin rented the proper equipment from REI (Ice Axe + crampons = $14), we hit it. We left the Highlands Ranch area at about 4:00am and got to the trailhead at 5:30. We were on the trail by 5:45. The normal trailhead was actually not accessible, as there was an avalanche earlier that season that was covering the road in debris. We ended up starting down about ¾ of a mile below the actual trailhead. The initial hike was easy going. We passed about 15-20 people with skis getting ready to ski the north face of Torreys. The sun was just peeking over the peaks behind us as Kevin and I got to the saddle between Kelso peak and Torreys peak. This is where Kelso ridge began. From reading reports we knew that up high on the ridge near the summit there were a lot of steep and dangerous cornices that we had to navigate around. We had mentally prepared for this for a few days and felt ready for it.



The first portion of the ridge is about a half a mile of navigating around class 3 and class 4 towers. Many times we were climbing a lot of vertical rock. I’ve never climbed anything so steep with such a heavy pack before. Just in case we needed to rope up for a few sections, I was carrying an ice axe, a second ice tool, 2 snow pickets, a 30 meter rope, a small rack of 5 cams, 5 slings, a harness, belay device and a few biners. I was also carrying a couple extra jackets and gloves in case the weather got bad. In any event, things were heavy, but the climbing wasn’t too bad. We just threw it into 4wheel drive in a few sections and got through fine. As we were going, there got to be quite a bit of exposure. To the south of the ridge there was about a 1000 foot drop at an 80-85 degree angle, and a steep slope to the north of the ridge. During the towers section we ran into a solo climber. Colin was from Tennessee and had come out to start training for an Alps trip he has planned for the latter part of July. Because he had just gone from 500 feet to 10,000 feet in a matter of 12 hours, he was a little slower than Kevin and I, but a strong climber just the same. We started talking and ended up joining up with him for the rest of the trip. This was his third attempt at the Grays/Torreys group, and he was pretty determined to succeed. Luckily the weather was great and we had no problem cruising up the ridge.



There were a few sketchy sections before we got to the snow cornices near the top of the ridge, but they weren’t really an issue with the ice axes in tow. The last half-mile of the ridge was covered in cornices, however, so we decided it would be best at this point to throw on our crampons for the rest of the climb. I led all of us from this point on, breaking all the trail and cruising up the steep sections. After all, this was Kevin’s first 14er and Colin was still acclimating. We got up a few hairy couloirs and finally got to the crux of the climb. At this point we were about 100 vertical feet from the summit with about 2000-2500 feet of exposure on either side of us. We had to traverse around a final tower on a knife-edge of snow on the ridge. Right at the tower crossing the snow was at a steep 60 degrees or higher. At this point it was about 9:00am and the snow was starting to get a little soft. Thus, our crampons got less and less purchase on the melting snow. I crossed the crux no problem though, and Kevin and Colin were soon to follow. Not too long after we were on the summit of Torreys, joined by the 20+ skiers who had trudged up the normal route and were about to start their descent. It was a little too bad having to share the summit with all those people, but it was fun all the same. I think that was my 5th ascent of Torreys.



After soaking up the view we ran over to the top of Grays and then were headed down. We were back to the car by about 12:30. Overall it was a really fun day. I was a little disappointed in Kelso ridge though. From what I had read, it was supposed to be really scary and difficult as a snow climb, but from my perspective, it really wasn’t all that bad at all. Hopefully this isn’t me being na├»ve, but based on my experience, it was well within my acceptable level of risk. There wasn’t a single point during the climb where I felt uncomfortable. It was definitely a good learning experience though, and a great way to start out the 14ers season.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Castlewood Highline Movie

Jeff finished putting together the footage from our highlining session. He put a movie up on youtube, and it is pretty good. Make sure you turn up the volume a little bit for added drama. Enjoy!

High Boltage Gap

Monday, May 28, 2007

HIGH-adrena-LINE

Let me tell you about the most amazing experience I have ever had.

So you know that I have been slacklining for several years now. Yesterday, however, some friends and I decided to go rig and walk our first outdoor highline. I have walked an indoor highline before, as you can see from this link: The Spot Highline Comp (I'm the last person to go in this movie).

An indoor highline has no comparison to the rigors and intensity of an outdoor highline.

At 8:00 am on 5/27 Jeff, Said and I left from my house to go to Castlewood Canyon. Our original intent was to set up a line at the dungeon area. We arrived at the parking lot at about 9:15 and started the hike up the hill. It is about a mile of class 3 scrambling to get to the Dungeon area, and it took us a good 20 minutes with 50 pounds of gear on our backs. The original spot we decided to set up the line turned out to be a lot shorter than we remembered (I hadn't been there in several years, and what I thought would be a 30 foot gap was actually only 15). After a little searching, we found our ideal spot.

We decided on a 65 foot span which was about 50 feet off the deck. I set all of the anchor points with my gear and anchoring expertise, and in most cases, everything was triple redundant. On the south side we anchored to two trees, two bolts and two cams. On the north side we anchored to three bolts, two rock slings, one cam and one hex. After I was satisfied in all of the placements, we equalized the points, and set the line.


Above is a picture of the equalized anchors leading to the line.

Next we tensioned the line with Jeff's pulleys. After about 6 tensioning sets we were satisfied with the tension and then removed the pulleys from the system and replaced them with 10,000 lb shackles. (The pulley system was only rated to 2,000 lb, so by removing the weakest link we were able to make the line safer).

We were actually walking on two lines, one of which was threaded with a third line. We did this so that if one line failed, we would still have two others to catch our fall, hence the redundancy. After the lines were tensioned, we taped the two together and then were ready to go. Jeff had the first attempt, but wasn't able to go more than 5 steps or so. The line was really loose even though we had tensioned it a lot. After more analysis of the system I concluded that this was due to the fact that the anchor systems were so complex and large, that they themselves had a very consequential spring constant which was allowing the line to move so violently. In order to walk you had to have extremely tight control of your body. It ended up that I was the only one of the three of us who was able to walk it. I bet with a more controlled and static anchor setup, Jeff and Said would easily be able to walk it. After all, Said is one of the best trickliners in the world.

Above is a picture of me with the first walk of this highline, and the first walk of any highline in Castlewood Canyon.

We spent about three and a half hours rigging the line, and about three hours attempting to walk it.


The exposure is a big part of the mental game you have to play. Each of us could easily walk this long of a line two feet off the ground, but up high, the adrenaline is the master. The line calls the shots. If it wants to throw you off, then you fall. To prevent injury, we wear helmets and a harness with a leash attached to the line. I managed to catch the line every time I fell, which was only a few times, but in the event that you can't catch the line, the leash is there to save the day. Even so, there is little you can do to subdue the feelings of dread, nausea, excitement and unavoidable elation as you walk.


With other high risk sports such as bungee jumping and skydiving, there is the same sort of rush. However with Highlining this is much different. For rope and bungee jumping, there is little work required, you simply plunge into the void and hope there's enough tension to keep you from hitting the ground. In skydiving, there is a bit more work involved, mainly keeping yourself oriented in the right direction, and steering your canopy, etc. Highlining isn't even in the same ballpark, at least at first. You can't just plunge into the void and expect to get across. Every step requires so much concentration and control. You have to control your feelings and your breathing and your heart rate, and you have to subdue your surroundings and focus all you've got on the one goal of making the next step. I can honestly say that this was the most mentally, physically and emotionally taxing thing I have ever done. And I loved it.

After all was said and done, it was a thunderstorm that persuaded us to pack up and go. I am really glad that we decided to set this line, and am excited that I was lucky enough to control my feelings for that long, even though it is the hardest thing I have ever done. In comparison, this is a pretty mild setup as well. People have walked lines as long as 180 feet and as high as 1200 meters. I have plans for higher and longer lines than this one in the next couple of weeks.

It is hard to explain to people how and why highlining is appealing. I imagine the biggest reason is that so few people actually encounter situations where their fear dictates their every move. To me, being able to control the fear and emotion is an incredible feat. I can now more easily understand myself and my limits, and I will continue to grow to be hopefully a better person. Once you have found peace with your feelings and emotions, and can still walk the line, I think this is the most spiritual experience you can ever have.


(Nobody has ever been severely injured or killed while highlining)

Picture Perfect Penitente

It sure has been a while since the last post. I've been really busy! Finals ended up going very well, and the summer is finally here! Last weekend I got back from Penitente Canyon in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. It was a really fun trip. I planned the whole thing singlehandedly, and I gained a lot of experience that I will need and use for future trips that I take. There were 10 of us guys from CU and New Mexico Tech who were in the group. We stayed for 5 days, so it wasn't terribly long, but it was really fun. We got a lot of climbing in, including several 5.10's and 5.11's and a few 5.12's. The most memorable route was a really fun crack climb up this really shear face. It was rated at 5.11c, and certainly felt like it!


It started out on a really reachy undercling move and then got really crimpy at the top. Once you reached the roof you had a "thank God" undercling, and then you finished up the finger-crack to the left. It was a very great and aesthetic climb.

Another really fun climb was this 5.10 hand crack that I led on trad. Trad is short for traditional climbing whereas you place your own protection into the wall as you climb rather than clip into the pre-existing bolts in the wall. This was a great climb! Over the five days we ventured to different areas and climbed different routes. In total I think we climbed 30 routes that week. Most of the other guys were only climbing 5.10 max, so we taught them how to lead climb, and then James Sloan and I often went off on our own to pursue some harder routes.

Another great aspect of the climb was the food. I bought many luxurious meals for us to cook, such as peanut butter and jelly, and s'mores. Seriously though, we had steak, baked potatoes, burgers, beef stew, breakfast burritos, anything and everything that sounds good while camping, we ate. The camping was quite spectacular as well. I slept outside under the stars every single night. The view of the milky way was amazing, as the moon was out of phase. The site that we were camping at was spectacular in its own right, as it was right across the valley from the Great Sand Dunes, and above that were the prominent Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak that we all had climbed just this last summer, which was an epic itself.


Overall it was a very enjoyable trip, and I am looking forward to returning again next year. We scoped out several great spots for a highline, and will definitely be setting one up next year. Also, we got on several routes that severely kicked our butts, so we'll get stronger to pull harder. After the week was over we each parted ways. It was a nice transition point between the school year and the summer. We got to blow off some steam from the crazy year, and got a taste of the awesome adventures that 2007 will hold.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Final Stretch

I've been bearing down for finals during the last week. I had my first final yesterday, and have 3 more this week. It really brings the whole year into perspective when you sum up an entire semester into 2 hours of testing. So far it has gone without a hitch. Soon I'll be climbing for a week up at Penitente Canyon. I'm really stoaked about Penitente, last year we climbed for a few days, but now we're staying 3 times longer.

Also I wanted to mention that last Sunday James and did a morning ascent of the first flatiron. We started at about 7 am, and were off the top at 10. It was a really great morning, and was a great capstone to the end of a good schoolyear.

My next post will likely be in two weeks time, after I get back from Penitente. We will definitely take loads of pictures, and there is the possibility of maybe setting up a highline. I'm really looking forward to that!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fun in the Sun

These last few days have been great! The weather here in Boulder has been amazing, and so has the climbing. Yesterday after class James and I went to the Sport Park in upper Boulder canyon and had some fun with some of the better sport climbs on "Suprising Crag". We got on some really fun 9's, some really slabby and blank 11s, and a 12. It was really great too, while we were up there, some of my buddies, Said and Gabe showed up. It was entirely unplanned, but it was pretty cool to climb with them as well. I'll put up some pictures soon. The 12 we got on was "Furius Howard Brown". It started out will a really steep overhang, and then transitioned into a really hard, slabby crack climb with all kinds of water seeping out. It ate chalk like a gila monster.

(Sending the Aerogel traverse)

Today we went to the Satellite Boulders and I sent four different V1's on the sputnik boulder, two v5's on the aerogel boulder, worked the turning point and captain hook, and then sent some v4 called original grapple. It was a fun day. Tomorrow morning I'll be climbing the first flatiron with James, then its time to bear down for finals!!! I'll have to put climbing on hold for a week or so, as there's lots of stuff I need to do before school gets out. Then we'll be going to Penitente for a week. I'm really excited for that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

CU Student Arrested

So last night in Kitt West Hall, 2 halls down from mine, there was this kid arrested for having a shotgun, a handgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Pretty scary ordeal considering the 8 year anniversary of Columbine today, and the VT shooting earlier this week. Fortunately police got wind of what he was packing, and he got expelled from the school. I can't even imagine what might have happened, or what he may have been planning, but I am very thankful that everyone is alright, and there were no attacks.


All this violence/potential for violence makes you think so much differently. It isn't really normal to be sitting in a class and be thinking how you could barracade the door, or where you could hide, or what you could use as a weapon against an attacker, but that's what everyone has been thinking about lately. We should be able to think of the college campus as a safe place, where you can learn without dealing with the terrors of the world, but unfortunately, this isn't the case. With people having guns in the dorms, you really don't know who to trust. This is especially scary for us RA's as we could be involved in an incident, and that incident could potentially get out of control to the point where the RA is attacked. I know this has happened before, it even happened at VT earlier this week. I don't think that will be an issue this weekend though, because of the 4/20 festivites in Boulder, everyone will be too baked to even move. That makes the RA job a lot easier. I'll just continue to have a positive outlook on life, and everything should turn out ok.

Climbing

I went bouldering yesterday after class, and then went to the Primo Wall in Clear Creek Canyon today. I finally linked the v4 monkey traverse in flagstaff, and sent the "Gill Swing", another classic v4. Today James Sloan and I went to the Primo Wall for a few hours and did a nice 5.10c, a 5.12a and a 5.12b. It was good to get out in the summer sun that is finally here! There's a 12c at Primo that I have been working on, but didn't get it this time. Maybe next. There's always time for climbing when the sun is always shining!


Finals are coming up soon, so I'll have to slow down this sudden spree of climbing, but the yearly Penitente Canyon trip is coming up, and we have a nice crew this time. I'm pretty stoaked for that! I am slowly getting better, the more gear I buy...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Slacklining

So I just found out today that my buddy Said and I appeared on Boulder TV 54 for our slacklining skills. The links are below:

My moves

Said's moves

Apparently we are going to be doing a lot of highlining soon. We had a nice session today, I'll post the pictures when I get them.

It kind of aggrivates me when the weather models call for 1.5 feet of snow, and boulder gets absolutely none and is sunny all day today and yesterday. I cancelled a lot of climbing plans due to the snow, but I'm glad I got to slackline for a bit, that adds a little light to the situation.

Chilling at the Cabin


Over the last part of Spring Break I got to hang out at the Cabin with Grandma and Grandpa. It was great, and I had a great time. I did a little skiing, but mostly just talked with Grandma and Grandpa, and slept a lot. On the way back I had a fun 5 hour drive though, because it snowed and all the roads were closed.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Red Rock Rendezvous

Over the last weekend in March, my friends James, Caitlin, Ashlee and I went to the Red Rock Rendezvous in Las Vegas, Nevada for the first part of our spring break. It was a very fun trip, filled with fun and adventure. The best part of the trip was that it went from bad, to worse, to amazing in a really short amount of time.

We left Boulder on March 23rd at 10:30 am. The inital part of the drive went pretty quickly, stopping for gas in Glenwood Springs, and again somewhere in southern Utah. I drove for most of the way out there, except for about an hour where James decided to drive. But he got a little carsick, and I took over. The weird thing about Vegas is that it has this aura about it that lets you know when you are getting close. You could see the light pollution of Vegas, and you could see it from about 130 miles out. It was kind of amazing that there is that much electricity in such a small place, but I guess Hoover dam it pretty dam big. We got to Vegas at about 9:45pm or so, and got to Spring Mountain Ranch at about 10:30 (20 miles west of Vegas on Charleston Blv.), and set up camp and hit the hay.


I got up at 7:00 the next morning to an awesome sight. The sun was just rising up over the bluffs to the east, and huge cliffs were looming over us to the west. Although it was only March, it was sure to be a beautiful weekend. We had some breakfast, and did a little slacklining, and then all piled into the truck to head out to the sport climbing area. I was the only one who had ever done any lead climbing before, and I was the driver, and I was the planner for the trip in general, so it really was a stressful time overall with all that feeling of responsibility, but I managed.


There are three main sport climbing areas in Red Rock Canyon, and the other numerous areas are all mostly either bouldering or multipitch trad bigwalls. (Class III-V all day routes). We mostly climbed at the second pullout in the scenic loop, and did a bunch of easier 5.8-5.10c routes. These were at the "Magic Bus" wall. It was really cool getting to this area because the entrance was in this shaded slot canyon full of really interesting geological features and technical obstacles. The wall itself was really exposed. It was a giant boulder about 70 feet tall and 150 feet wide that was just sitting on this 15 degree slope of rock, which eventually dropped another 200 feet to the canyon floor. This added a really neat aspect to the climbing as the fear factor while leading was essentially doubled due to the overall height of the rock.


We climbed a few routes the first day, and then came back to camp for dinner. While at dinner, there was a dyno comp happening at the portable wall that mountaingear brought, and I got to meet big climbers such as Lisa Rands, Chris Linder, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, and Chris Sharma. It was cool to be able to hang out with these bigshots. There also was a really cool bluegrass band or rather "newgrass" band, as grandma calls them. We went to bed rather early as we wanted to climb a lot the next day.

The second day we got to the second pullout again, and went to "the gallery" climbing area, and hung out a little while waiting for a turn, but there were way too many people there, so we went back to the "magic bus" area for the rest of the day. We climbed the other routes we didn't have time to climb the previous day, hung out a little bit, and then headed back when we got tired. It was a pretty fun day. After a quick nap at camp, we decided to go to the Vegas Strip to walk around and take in the sights. It was pretty fun, and we went to "Ceasar's Palace" and the "Bellagio" as well as the Coke superstore and "Fatburger". After a few hours of walking around though, we decided to head back. On the way back to the car there was a really neat fountain/water/light show at the lake in front of the "Bellagio" that we watched for a little while.

(The above picture is me slacklining with some pro athlete and the owner of Asana)


The next day we drove back to Colorado after a fun but short trip. We were thinking about going out to Disney Land, but decided against it as we were all plain tuckered out. On the drive back we stopped in Fruita, CO for some gas and James pulled a fast one on me and locked the keys in the car while I was getting some food. I freaked out for a few minutes but it turned out that he actually had the real key in his pocket so we were all good.

It was good to get back and sleep. Overall though it was a really exceptional trip, and I will definitely go back, but hopefully next time I'll be able to stay longer.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Insomnia

I have been having trouble sleeping lately, it is probably either because I am sick, or because I am not happy with the state of affairs my life is in right now. Either way I decided to post about my recent adventures. Last friday, James and I went climbing in boulder canyon and did the classic 5.7 "The Owl" on "The Dome". I really love this route because it forces me to use many different techniques in one fun trad climb. There are a few sketchy slab moves, a hard hand crack, and a huge mantle on the second pitch. It was a really good time on a wonderful day. Unfortunately since then I haven't gotten out due to being sick.

Last night, or should I say Saturday night was St. Patricks day, and boy was it crazy. I must have written up 70 residents for alcohol abuse, and the night's event escalated to some drunk moron lighting a bonfire next to the pond. The fire department showed up and everything, but he managed to run away before we got there. That was fun.

On friday I will be leaving for Nevada to go to the Red Rock Rendezvous for a fun climbing time. James, Caitlin, Ashlee and I will be going over in the big red truck, and hanging out there for the weekend. I'm pretty stoked, Las Vegas has some killer limestone that will be really fun to pull down on.

Alright, time to try and sleep, peace out cruel world...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Mt. Elbert, 14,434'

As planned, this weekend I went to go climb Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado, and the second highest in the lower 48 states. I went on this trip with the great people at 14ers.com and there was a group of about 30 who went. I left at 6:00 pm on Friday the 2nd with my buddy James Sloan, and we took off for the trailhead. It was a really sketchy drive up 1-70 due to the snow and the rear-wheel drive Tacoma that James had borrowed from his mom (not to mention the fact that James is a crazy driver anyway). After we got through the tunnel and down to Silverthorne, though, the roads cleared up. We made it through Leadville and to the Twin Lakes trailhead at about 10:00, and then proceeded to sleep in the back of his truck.

After setting the alarm for 5:30, we got in our bags. Unfortunately, I was the least prepared for this portion of the trip. My 15 degree REI sleeping bag did little to fend off the -20 degree temperatures that night, and I was quite cold. I had to keep moving around in the bag all night to stay warm, and got very little sleep. Fortunately, the night went by quickly and we got up to get ready to go promptly at 5:30. At 6:00 it was still about -11 outside, but my LaSportiva K4S boots kept my toes toasty warm. James and I were going to brew up some water for tea, but the extra gallon of water I brought had frozen solid. We tried using some other water, but my stove just wouldn't work in the cold. I figured it was the lack of outside air pressure due to the cold. The stove works by sucking the fuel out of the canister using a pressure differential, because the outside air, when above freezing, provides enough pressure to do this. Unfortunately, it was about 40 degrees below freezing so we were out of luck. At this point, we just strapped on our snowshoes and were on our way.

We started hiking at 6:30, and reached the 4-wheel-drive trailhead in about an hour (road is closed in winter due to snow conditions). It was looking to be an amazing day so far. The skies were bluebird, without any traces of clouds. Though it was cold, we were moving fast enough to bear it, and had enough equipment to survive. We took a quick break, and then continued. James and I had left the cars behind everyone else by about 10 minutes or so because of the stove problems, but had caught up to the leader after about 30 minutes. After the break, we continued for another mile through the trees to get to treeline. This was probably the most strenuous part of the climb due to the deep snow in the trees. Thanks to my routefinding skills, however, we were able to stay on the trail for almost the entire way to treeline. At treeline, there was a fairly steep section which had some clearly unstable snow. We could hear it collapse with big "thwumps" as we walked by. We avoided this section by switchbacking across a less agressive slope on the southernly aspect of the ridge. After passing this section, the following view awaited us.



The image here shows one of the false summits of the mountain, but it shows a clear view of the ridge we climbed. From this point is was still another 2,500 feet of elevation gain to the top. The gently sloping ridge sections are where I am the strongest, as I am able to pace myself to go for more than 30 minutes at a time without stopping. I quickly passed everyone else in the group, and gained a good 15-20 minute lead on all the other climbers. I took a quick rest and continued onto the steep section of the ridge. At this point, it became rocky, and I removed my snowshoes for the rest of the climb. Another climber (Dan, I think) caught up to me and we continued to push towards the summit. We stayed on the sections of the slope with the least snow, as the slope aspects to the south of us possessed considerable avalanche danger. This section of the climb was not too amazing, just kick-stepping into the soft snow and going up and up. I reached the summit at about 1:15. It was amazing to have the top of Colorado all to myself, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky, and there was no wind whatsoever (I measured the temperature to be hovering around 2 degrees). I could see all the way to Pikes Peak, and the entire Sawatch range, as well as Capitol Peak and Mount of the Holy Cross. It was amazing. James followed about 15 minutes after, and we both soaked up the view.


As I mentioned earlier, we were blessed from the start with an incredible day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the wind didn't pick up until we were on the descent. We left the top at about 1:45, and then made the long haul down back to the car. On the descent the wind picked up to about 30 or 40 miles per hour, bringing the wind chill down to -30 degrees or so. We just kept moving and once we were down in the trees, the wind died down and we were able to hike in peace. When passing through treeline, we again heard the undeniable "thwump" sound of collapsing snow, and it was reported that a small portion of this section actually did slide as one of the heavier climbers descended after James and I. It wasn't anything to be worried about though.

James and I made it back to the car at 5:30 pm, and we were thoroughly exhausted. Overall, the trip was about 13 miles, with just under 5000 feet of elevation gain. I summited first, in 6 hours and 45 minutes, and we descended in 3 hours and 45 minutes, with a break of 25 minutes at the top, totaling 11 hours for the day. It was a really good time, and a good exposure for myself in questionable avalanche terrain, and good training on how to avoid potential avalanche terrain in order to have a safer, and clearly successful climb.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Summer 2007 Climbing Itinerary

I posted this on another site, but I'll just archive it here:

"So the summer is rapidly approaching, and I am itching to get on some good alpine rock. I have plenty of items on my ticklist, and probably won't get to all of them this year, but I'd like to keep my options open. I also need partners to go with. If you are interested, and feel competent with the grades and exposures of these climbs, let me know. I will be available almost every weekend starting from May until September. These are the routes I am looking at:

Longs Peak - Alexanders Chimney (5.5)
Mount Ypsilon - Blitzen Ridge (5.5ish)
Blanca Peak - Ormes Buttress (5.6)
Quandary Peak - Inwood Arete (5.4-5.7 depending)
Crestone Needle - Ellingwood Ledges/Arete (5.7)
Lone Eagle Peak - North Face (5.7)
Vestal Peak - Wham Ridge (5.4)
Mount Sneffels - North Buttress (5.6)
Sharkstooth - Northeast Ridge (5.6)
Spearhead - North Ridge (5.6)
Longs Peak - Keyhole Ridge (5.5)
Hallett Peak - Great Dihedral (5.7)
Apache Peak - Kasparov Traverse (5.7)
Mt. Alice - Central Ramp (5.8)
Lizzard Head - Southwest Chimney (5.8)
Storm King Peak - North Face (5.8)
Petit Grepon - South Face (5.8)
Long's Peak - Keiners Route (5.3)
Long's Peak Diamond - Casual Route (5.10)

Information about these routes can be found on www.mountainproject.com and www.summitpost.com

I am also planning on doing a 10 day trip to the San Juan range where I will attempt to climb all fourteen 14ers in that area of colorado. If you are interested in that trip, again just let me know.

If I forgot to tag you, I'm sorry, just let me know and I'll include you. And again, just send me a message or comment here if you are interested in any of these routes for this summer. Peace."

Hopefully some of the above mentioned routes will be a part of my mild adventures within the next year.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spot Bouldering Series Finals

Last night was the Spot Boulder Series Finals here in Boulder, CO and boy was it awesome. It started off with a rocking citizens comp, with plenty of problems to go around. The setters did a great job creating a variety of different routes, but many of the elite problems seemed a little on the hard side. I flashed the top 6 "hard" problems, but only was able to send elite 2. This summer will be a good time to put my new plastic strength to work outside in the real world. Said and I did some serious slacklining and Said came really really close to landing the backflip. He ended up landing it with two feet on the line, but his angular momentum threw him off and he ended up doing some sort of frontflip dismount. It was cool, but he still has to stick it!!


I met a bunch of the other top slackliners in Boulder last night, and we will have a really great crew to set up some highlines this summer. I am getting really excited about this. With the incredible skill around here, and the leadership of myself, we will be able to get a regular highlining crew together this summer, and this will be a big accomplishment not only for myself, but for the sport of slacklining in colorado.

I am hoping to get a digital camera soon to document these adventures, but for now, you will just have you use your imagination, or come find me and see for yourself. Next weekend is the Elbert trip, and it is a definite "go". I'll post a trip report after the climb next weekend. Peace

Friday, February 23, 2007

No recent adventures

So it was my new years resolution to go on some sort of adventure every weekend this year. Inevitably, I did not live up to this resolution, just like every other resolution I have ever made. During the recent weeks I have been busy with my aerospace labs, which take up almost all of my life these days. We just finished a lab mapping the absolute gravity of the earth at different latitudes. Did you know that the solid part of the earth has tide fluctuations in addition to the oceans? The ground actually moves about 10-15 cm outward (from the center of the earth) every day.

Anyway, I have had many plans to go on different adventures in the last month, including a few 14ers and such, but these fell through due to the fact that none of my friends are hardcore enough to drive up to the mountains. I've been blown off too many times, so it's time to find some new mountaineering partners. After I get a truck this summer, this will all change as I won't have to depend on anyone for a ride.

I do have some fun plans coming up though. Today and tomorrow I am judging at the final climbing competition of the season, as well as competing. The following weekend, if everything goes to plan, I'll be climbing Mt. Elbert. I know, this isn't that incredible of a peak, but regardless, it will be good to finally get out into the cold and do some climbing. During the last weekend in March I will be in Nevada at the Red Rock Rendezvous, doing some serious highlining and lowlining, as well as some sport climbing. I will also be meeting up with a friend in Salt Lake, so that will be great.

I'll keep everyone posted as my mild adventures of 2007 unfold, and hopefully I'll see you all out at the crags!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hello

Hey everyone. I don't expect many people to ever visit this blog, its more of just a personal thing to record all of my adventures through life, whether those be outdoor or whatever. Because I hate keeping a journal thing, (thats just too damn girly for me) and I am always on the computer, I suppose this is a good place to achieve what I am trying to accomplish. I'll just do whatever I feel like on here, and you can reply if you want. Right on, this will be a fun journey.