Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Timeless Existence

If I told you that a typical freefall only lasted for 60 seconds or less, you would probably say, "that's not very long at all". But 60 seconds can feel like a lifetime, or at least half of one. Imagine a lifetime where you are completely alive, where your senses are completely in tune and the consequence of a mistake is often fatal. Imagine a lifetime where everything that you do moves you, a lifetime where any deviation of your position will send you off on a different course, where everything is done with impeccable intention. Imagine a lifetime where you are traveling incredibly fast, suddenly slow down, and then maybe travel fast again. Imagine a lifetime where all your thoughts and actions merge together into a beautiful dynamic ballet, dancing through the clouds, flying towards an unattainable goal but still you try your hardest to get there. Imagine a lifetime where you achieve the highest amount of pleasure possible, and your happiness is unprecedented. Imagine a lifetime that is completely emotionally draining and fulfilling at the same time. Imagine yourself in this situation, and then you will realize that the 60 seconds of freefall isn't really 60 seconds at all. Instead it is years and years of happiness and experience and love. These 60 seconds are a quintessential example of life in the way that it should be lived. These 60 seconds are devoid of all worry and pain and discomfort but instead breed unlimited peace. This is living for the moment, and that moment lasts a lifetime. Now you understand how 60 seconds is a very very long time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Weekend of Adrenaline

This weekend was fairly eventful, as normal, but a few notable things happened that are worth reporting. Saturday I dedicated as a skydiving day, which was great because the weather was incredible and the winds were nil. Unfortunately, the dropzone had donated the biggest plane we jump out of (the twin otter) to Eloy AZ for the skydiving nationals, so we were stuck jumping out of the King Air, which only hauls maybe 15 people up to the sky instead of 25. That being the case, it was super packed with not too many slots available and I only got to do two jumps. It was all good though because those jumps were fun as hell. I've been getting really into tracking, which is a discipline that prepares you for wingsuiting. You make your body as flat as possible, with your arms to your sides, and you shoot forward, diving towards the ground, picking up acceleration and lift. I have these inflatable pants that increase your surfacce area for the purpose of making you fall slower and shoot forward faster. They're a lot of fun to play around with. I did a tracking jump with my buddy James and we probably covered 1.5 miles horizontal distance in the 2 miles vertical that we fell. Needless to say, it is a lot of fun.

Sunday was a change of pace for me. I'm so used to pushing my own limits that I rarely get to focus on the limits and boudaries of others, and helping my friends to redefine their limits and bounaries. I brought everyone up to the Golden Spire where I rigged the 30' line and let everyone have their fill. It was a great day and about 15 of us were up there giving the line a go. Lots of people got out and just hung there on the line, others got a few steps, while others were able to walk the whole thing. It was definitely a learning experience for everyone. I've finally gotten past the point of being nervous of lots of people walking on my rigs, and now its somewhat comfortable. Some of Boulder's best slackliners also got to fell the shaking legs, the wind in their hair, and that feeling of blissful weightlessness before the leash catches the fall. It was certainly a great day. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to introduce more and more people into highlining, and grow in my own comfort of the sport as a whole.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brocken Spectre

This rare phenomenon occurs when there is a large amount of fog in your close proximity. The water molecules reflect the light that is refracted by your shadow creating a rainbow-like formation around the shadow of your head. It is called a brocken spectre; it is pretty cool to look at and incredible to think about. It brings to mind all of the complexities of this earth, so many things constantly going on at all once, most of them we aren't even aware of. A drop of rain, a vine growing in a crack in the wall, a leaf floating in the wind, a chip of paint, a reflection in the fog, trash in an alley, a person walking home alone in the cold, a wilting flower. There are things both good and bad. What you notice is important, and is very indicative of the kind of day you are having.

Can we create our own happiness? What does this look like? What if we focus our eyes to see only those things that make us smile and give us pleasure instead of looking at the negative things? People claim how bad their lives are, but is it because of the situations they are put in or find themselves in, or is it because they view the world with negative eyes and see the sad things surrounding them.

There is beauty in everything. From the wind in your hair to the first crisp day of fall, to the birth of a child to the smile from a neighbor. Anything can be positive. Whether or not you perceive it as such is up to you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I was first offered a skydive about a year ago. It was real casual. I didn't really think much of it. Yeah I've heard that skydives can kill you, but its never really been on the forefront of my mind. Anything could kill you right? Whats one skydive going to do in the grand scheme of things? So I took that skydive with mild reluctance and it was pretty enjoyable. I figured if I had done one that it wouldn't hurt to have another skydive. I started skydiving a lot. My friends started to worry and told me that I was addicted. They said "Come on Scott, that stuff aint good for you, you're gonna get hooked." I shoved it off like it was no big deal. "Aw come on guys, its no big deal. I can quit whenever I want." Thats how it always starts. By thinking I could quit whenever I wanted, I did it a lot more, and then after a while, I realized I was addicted to skydiving. And not only that, but it was slowly eating me away from the inside out. I started getting really touchy and jumpy. The only thing that could calm me down was a nice long drag (coefficient) under the skydiving canopy. Furthermore, the amount of money I was spending was ridiculous. I've been going through at least a pack(job) a day, and it continues to get worse. Luckly I'm on the up and up though. It turns out that addiction can be fought. Now I dont need to have a skydive every second. If I get my mind occupied in some other fashion, I can focus on the moment and not on something that can kill me. Thats when I took up highlining.

If you or someone you love suffers from addiction to skydiving, don't wait. Dive headfirst into recovery and contact someone now. Visit http://www.addictionrecoveryguide.org/ for more info.

Pilot Chute in Tow

So last weekend I had a fun little malfunction with my parachute. The pilot chute, which deploys the main parachute, locked up on me during a hop and pop. It had been packed in my rig for a while and was all wrinkled. Despite my ardent efforts to de-wrinkle the thing (anyone who's seen me wearing a nice shirt knows I have no skill with an iron) it hung up on me. During said hop and pop, I jumped out of the plane at 5,000 feet and counted to six. After I pulled, the pilot chute just chilled there, as if to say, "haha, I'm too wrinkled to catch enough air to pull the parachute out" Well damn, I thought, this isn't good. The ground was still about 4,000 feet away, so I had time, so I stayed calm. I hung out there for a little while longer, waiting a few more seconds, but nothing happened, so I reached behind me and yanked out the closing pin, and the parachute deployed flawlessly and to my great fortune, lived to skydive another day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Planning the future

I love living in the present, but sometimes you can't avoid looking to the future. As the seasons change, it is time to start thinking about new possibilities and new adventures. Here are a few things I will be trying to accomplish in the next year:

  • Moab highline extravaganza(s)
  • BASE jumping at the Perrine
  • Reach 100 skydives before Jan 1st
  • Go on a road trip to Lodi, CA (and jump for $13 a jump!)
  • Rainier (unsupported speed ascent)
  • More and more trad climbing (including a bivy on the wall)
  • Ecuador Volcanoes
  • Climbing and Jumping in Switzerland
After this, who knows? Only the future will tell, and I am constantly creating that future in my daily endeavors.