Monday, December 14, 2009

Catching up with the blog, but mostly with myself.

I realize it has been a while since my last blog updates, to those of my persistent and very supportive blog followers (I'm talking to you Mom and Dad) I am sorry. I know you're excited to see the evidence of my latest adventures and escapades, and it's not that I've been too busy to post. In fact, I've got most of the posts up here just not published yet. I've just been trying to find the right reasons to justify me doing these things that I have been doing. BASE jumping, highlining, even climbing have inherent dangers. But worse than these dangers are the effect they each have on my own mental establishment. I know you're worried about me dying or getting injured or whatever, but I'm still too naive to actually care about that. What I am most worried about, however, is my mental attitude in approaching these activities. Lately I've come to some stark realizations about my personality that have more or less disgusted me.

When I was really young I was always excited to learn, and this followed with me into middle and high school. By that time I had established a stigma that I intended to keep: the smart kid. I was eager to learn, and eager to succeed in school. But somewhere along the way my motivation for learning made a shift from genuine interest in the subject matter, to interest in the enhancement of my ego. While it surely didn't shift so drastically as to be 100% in either category, the obvious balance was noticeably skewed. Why it did this I am not sure, but it has certainly had a resounding affect on my personality today.

This ego-inflation has always repulsed me, and as you know I've been prone to shy away from it, but the more I think about it, the more I realize exactly how ego-driven I've been in the last few years. I've been asking the question "why" about nearly everything epistemicaly possible. Why I'm here, why I interact with the world that way that I do, but more recently I've been answering even more complicated questions: why do I highline, why do I BASE jump (or so I thought I was answering the questions). In asking these questions, I would often follow up with an answer somewhere along the lines of "because I find some sort of philosophical peace and overarching truth in these activities", or perhaps I declare a "moment of clarity found in nothing else". However I've recently begun to realize how far this actually is from the truth.

The only true reason "why" is because it fills some sort of gap that requires personal affirmation. My soul has a fundamental desire for the appreciation of others. And what better way to be viewed in a positive light as to do something extreme with my life, that nobody else does? While, again, I realize that it isn't this black and white, but the general trend has been in this direction. I'm not proud of it, but ignoring it certainly can't help. Recently I've been trying to discover the real truth behind my actions, and this is why there has been an obvious lack in blog postings.

I suppose looking for a reason for something isn't necessarily the right way to approach this problem, but it is a pragmatic way. It helps me begin to understand, in my own little way, and gives me small amounts of comfort. I suppose the most harsh reality is that my actions have been so driven by my ego that I have not had the chance to enjoy them. Highlining has lost its appeal in my quest to be one of the best in the world. BASE jumping fills me with emptiness, but not the good emptiness they talk about in Buddhism class, the emptiness that feels like a hole in my chest, makes it hard to breathe, a sinking feeling like you realize that your girlfriend is about to break up with you. That kind of feeling. Why could something so potentially liberating have such a negative demeanor attached to it? Mainly because I have been doing these things for the wrong reasons.

Flaunting my accomplishments on facebook posts and status updates, rambling about my supposed "self-awakening" on this blog, putting up trip reports on forums. All these things are ways that I have been consciously inflating my ego, and further burrowing that hole into my chest. I am left with a sadness and pain that baffles me.

I've started to realize how unhealthy this process is, even on a subconscious level. Even without posting the media that I collect, I still am drawn to watch videos of my jumps over and over again. Without fail, every Monday after a fun weekend of adventuring I am so distracted with my accomplishments that I let other important things fall by the wayside. I am unavoidably infatuated with my own experiences that I fall victim to the role of "living vicariously through myself". This isn't a joke. I've realized how dangerous this is. I am so caught up in watching the videos and looking at the photographs that I lose track of what is really important. Therein lies the real crisis. Right now as I am typing these words, I have absolutely no idea what is important in this life. That is a serious dilemma. Further, my entire life in the last few years has centered around the cultivation of these activities. I am at a loss.

Because of a thirst for acceptance and a drive for greatness that was instilled within me from an early age (no blame Mom and Dad, I'm sure it was entirely coincidental), I have pursued these extreme sports with vigor. And while I do get a great deal of personal enjoyment out of them, if you would ask me right now why I do these things, I could not give an honest answer. I have no clue (except for the fact that my ego needs a boost every day, just like someone else would need their coffee).

My studies of Buddhism have helped me to discover this, and have aided me in opening my eyes into my own life. I don't have a curiously wonderful life of adventures, free of worry. It is certainly far from that. It is wrought with the suffering that ensues from my ego-driven conscious trying to kid myself that what I am doing is for a good cause, such as mental cultivation or meditative training. It is really only so that others will look at me and say, "hey that Scott is pretty cool, I wish my life were like his". I realize this with disgust. My motivations are reprehensible.

Based on these findings, you can understand why I have been hesitant to post any information whatsoever online. I'm realizing how the life as I have lived it has relatively little importance. It is something that I have done purely out of the selfishness in my heart. Sure, it may inspire others, but by living my life for the wrong reasons I am consequently inspiring others in the wrong way. I need the chance to step back and rework my mind, I need the chance to start approaching life from a more beneficial perspective. I know that you both love me more than can be stated on paper, and the feelings are absolutely mutual. Right now that is one of the only tangible things in my life. This love, combined with my ability to reflect are the only tools I have with which to rework my life, so I'm making some sort of game plan.

I am no longer going to post photographs on any social networking sites. They are too driven by my egocentric greed. It has gotten to the point where I can't even be doing something without thinking about what I'll post about for my next facebook status update. I can't even take photos without thinking about what my friends will comment about, which ones they will like the best, how they will think that I am a good photographer. This whole process, once a passion of mine, has only become a hindrance.

I will, however, post photographs on the blog, mainly because almost nobody looks at this thing, and those that do I share that tangible love for, so I know no harm can come from it.

I have also decided to cease BASE jumping and highlining until I can discover beneficial reasons for partaking in these activities. I obviously would not have pursued them with such an eager spirit if there wasn't an inherent beauty about these activities. However, I am going to turn that childish determination from a necessity to be the best, and use that energy to determine how to enjoy these things as much as possible, and for the right reasons. I know this will come at a relief to you because of my decreased risk of danger, but don't get used to it. There will always be something that I do that will consistently bother you.

I also hope that you take this opportunity to be honest with yourselves, and look into your own lives with this objective analysis. None of us are perfect, and I feel that it will do you each a great service to think about your life, maybe only seriously for 20 minutes each day. Think about the motivations you have for living your life the way you do. Think about the impacts this has on your loved ones. Think about the important things in your life, not necessarily family, but other things too. Your passions, your outlets, things that you hate about your life as well. What can you do to change them? Our minds are neuroplastic entities that are in dynamic balance with our bodies and our surroundings. We never observe the same thing twice because we are always changing from our experiences and our reflections on those experiences. We need to be living this life in the best way possible. Maybe this is a generalization, I suppose the only truth that I know is that I myself am compelled to live my life in the best way possible. I challenge you, because of the love that we share, to do the same. It will be uncomfortable, but I hope that it will be liberating.

Thanks for reading, and know that of everything in my life, the one thing that I appreciate most is you, my family. My love for you is unexplainable, but it is the most real thing that I have, and through constant internal struggle in my life, this always brings me back to a comfortable mental place, so Thank You.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Some photos from the last month

Below are some photos from the last month, a few adventures here and there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ecuador Commercial

I appeared in a commercial that aired in Ecuador. It can be seen here:

Shelf Road

Went on a beautiful climbing trip to Shelf Road one of these last weekends. Shelf is near Canyon City, CO and has hundreds of routes on beautiful limestone. I have been there a few times before, but this time we visited a few new areas. Here are some photos from the trip:

Andy's Balloon BASE Jump

Andy's birthday occurred recently, so we threw him out of the hot air balloon with my BASE rig. He had a great time, had a great jump, and we got some fun video of the experience. Enjoy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another trip to Moab

I went out to Moab this last weekend to do some skydiving at the boogie, and hang out with Heather. It was a beautiful trip. Here are some photos:

Highlining at the new Highlands Bowl (a 60 foot long line, about 70 feet high)

Enjoying the sunrise at Delicate Arch

Slacklining at sunset in Fruita, CO

Flying my wingsuit above Moab, UT

A Stroll above Boulder

Above is a cool video of Andy and I walking some highlines above Boulder this week. Beautiful spot that I have rigged off before.

Here is a photo of all the lines together (photo by Nick K.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trying to answer "Why"

As I continue to push my own boundaries, I am constantly reminded by others that what I do with my life is not normal. Jumping out of planes and walking high slacklines isn't the common recipe for success in most people's lives. They ask me why; unfortunately I don't have an answer.

I can try to give adequate reasons, but the further I look into my reasons, the further I realize how hidden those reasons are. Perhaps they are asking the wrong question. "Why not?" seems more appropriate, or "When can I try?" or "What do the mountains look like from up there?" We seem to have the idea, either as humans or citizens of the western world, that everything has an explanation, and if it doesn't have one, it needs one. This manifests itself to a great extent in the western pursuit of science. The scientific method, as a whole is based on the idea of causality, and that for every effect, there is some sort of cause. We can determine that cause through experiment or rational thought. But maybe there are spontaneous things! Maybe thoughts, actions, experiences that we have require no explanation, they are just there...

Recently, I had a conversation with a good friend about limits, about how we define what we are comfortable with, what we are not comfortable with, and the fragile ground in between. The problem with the analysis of limits in this way lies in the evolution and relativity of comfort levels. As we experience new things, and difficult things, our comfort levels in these activities increase. Doing something with repetition develops a sense of comfort in that activity. When I first learned to drive a car, I was terrified. Over time it has become second-nature to me, and no longer entails any fear. The same is the case for me with skydiving. At first I was absolutely terrified: the entire plane ride, the entire gear preparation, during the jump. It was certainly a scary experience, yet as I have continued to pursue this sport, it too has become second nature to me. Comfort levels change dynamically as we continue with the passions in our lives. We can become more or less comfortable with something over time, based purely on the frequency with which we pursue it. Limits, then, cannot be defined with this concept of a "comfort level". How do we know what we are capable of?

I am still struggling with the concept of limits, but I do know that despite the fact that I am sometimes uncomfortable in certain situations, I still enjoy the experience. Even if I am completely inundated by fear during the entirety of an action (which is rare these days), I still get something out of it. This brings me back to the idea of "why". While the question is flawed, there may still be an equally flawed answer. I suppose the problems that we have with limits and comfort levels stem from this overarching idea of the self. In Buddhism, one of the main teachings is that there is no self such as we identify with. In order to achieve enlightenment, one must let go of the idea of self, and come to peace with the present. While I know almost nothing about meditation or enlightenment, and am a novice in these activities, I do observe the implications of these teachings in my life. On the topic of limits, for example, the fact that we perceive any limits at all is due to the attachment we have to this idea of a self. We think that our minds and our bodies have these limitations which prevent us from doing certain things. We make excuses based on these perceived limitations in order to not violate any of the limits that we have set for ourselves: "No, I'm afraid of heights" or "No, I have horrible balance" are the most common that I observe. There are excuses for all sorts of activities that extend past the comfort levels we have. But these limits are detrimental to our growth! Because they stem from the attachment to an idea that doesn't really exist, namely the self, they hold us back from experiencing the love and compassion of the world. We cling to this body and to this mind with such fervor that we forget to let it free and embrace the potential of our lives.

So in order to answer the question, "why?" I answer: "there is no why, there is only happiness." It takes a lot of energy to tear down one's limits and comfort levels, but in order to do so, one is free of this detrimental attachment of the self. Unfortunately, this can be misconstrued as a reckless waste of the body. People look with discomfort as they watch me jump off a bridge or walk a highline, claiming that I have a "death wish." They call me reckless and stupid and irresponsible. But once you learn that your body is already impermanent, you can pursue the things that make you most happy. This concept is best explained by a story of a Thai monk named Achaan Chaa. When asked how we can become detached from our cravings, and from our ideas of self, this is his reply:

Achaan Chaa looked down and smiled faintly. He picked up the glass of drinking water to his left. Holding it up to us he spoke in the chirpy Lao dialect that was his native tongue: “You see this goblet? For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say ‘ Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious”

What I get out of this story is that our lives are like the glass. This idea of self that we have is flawed because we are holding on so dearly to something that we know will be non-existent in the near future. To extend the metaphor of the glass: if we keep the glass in the cupboard to look at and admire it's beauty occasionally, we are not using the glass to its purpose. If we use the glass, but use it sparingly, we don't get the maximum utility out of having the glass. If we use the glass as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, not worrying about the fact that it could break, because we know it will break eventually, then we use the glass in the best possible way. The same is true with our lives. We can live conservatively, creating false limits for ourselves, or we can live fully, embracing every moment that we have as a blessing and a challenge. Either way, our fate is already determined as mortal beings.

So this is my answer to the question "why?" When we realize that the self that we claim to own, the mind and body that we possess are hopelessly impermanent, we can set ourselves free of the idea that we need to limit that self as much as possible. Instead of trying to maximize the amount of time we are on this earth, we should instead be focused on maximizing the amount of happiness we have on this earth. For me, happiness manifests from flying my body though the air, and walking on highlines in the clouds. My happiness stems from the seeds of adrenaline and the water of meditation. In the process of these actions, I come the closest I can to eradicating this idea of self and living purely to live. In disposing of this attachment, all that remains is compassion and bliss, and I can't help but look to the sky and smile.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


For a few minutes, when I'm flying through the sky, all the problems in the world, everything that I'm confused about or don't know the answer to, it all melts away. For those brief moments, everything just makes sense.

You have your Football, We have our Wingsuits from Scott Rogers on Vimeo.

My wingsuit is inadvertently colored black and gold. People always ask me if I got it to show my CU school spirit. I couldn't give a crap about CU or it's football team. I got it to fly. My Alma Mater is the Sky...

Golden Spire

With the awesome GoPro that I got for my birthday, I've been finding all sorts of different ways to document my adventures. Enjoy this video:

Fun at the Golden Spire from Scott Rogers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Birthday Week

Some adventures with Heather up at the Cabin, and some fun with the Hot Air Balloon. I made it to 22!

Birthday Ballon Fun

A little jump I did for my birthday yesterday. Thanks to Heather for the awesome Helmet Camera! You're the best!

Birthday Balloon Jump from Scott Rogers on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


A fun little highline that Andy set up for a video shoot with Timmy O'Neil. Here are the photos:

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Now is the Past

The Now is the Past, once you realize that it is the now...

For A Moment... from Calvin Hecker on Vimeo.

Everything that we do helps to create the future that we dream of. Here in Hecker's video are are few clips of my first BASE jumps, and some highlining at the GO FAST games, back in 2008.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Non-Linear Passage of Time

There is no time, there are only the experiences that we have. You can be old, you can be young, it all depends on what you have done. Sitting in place also means sitting in time. Moving in space means moving in time. Wandering through the world with intent for adventure passes time quickly. If you look for a second, you can see the earth slow down again, before you move on to the next big thing.

(Hecker and I watching the time pass, remembering another era)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Importance of Spontaneity

As I was about to fall asleep on Saturday night, tired from a long day of skydiving (8 jumps in less than 10 hours) I received a call from my friend Kevin, seeing if I wanted to jump out of his hot air balloon in the morning. After thinking about the hassle that would go into going to my car, grabbing my unpacked BASE parachute, bringing it upstairs, laying it out, and spending an hour packing it ever so meticulously, I agreed without hesitation. It would mean that I would have to meet him at 5:30am the next morning to help set up the balloon for his passengers, but that was okay with me, the experience was worth the trouble.

I set down the canopy, and started picking out all the twigs, small rocks and pieces of brush that had gotten stuck in my rig from the last jump. BASE jumping is funny like that, you're always landing on interesting terrain, and never know what you'll end up shaking out of your end-cells. As I straightened the lines and folded the parachute into the container, I realized that it was the 10th time that I had packed a parachute that day. It took just under an hour to finish closing in the container, and I made it to bed around midnight.

The next morning I awoke to sweet summer air and the only person I saw in the neighborhood was the funny old guy who always goes for a walk outside my apartment at odd hours of the day. I got out to gunbarrel and we set the balloon up. I didn't tell Kevin's customers that I was jumping out, but at the last second I hopped on board with them, donning a helmet and a parachute. After we left the ground it took about 20 seconds to climb to 500 feet, where I proceeded to fall to the ground. The ride was great, and I set down the parachute about 10 feet from where we took off, a pretty accurate landing based on my current skill level. I then waited around for a few minutes, watching the other balloons take off, before getting in the van and chasing down Kevin's balloon.

It was a really fun way to start the day. I've jumped out of Kevin's balloon many times before, but in this case I wasn't really planning ahead on doing it. I simply had the opportunity, and took that opportunity. It would have been much easier to sleep in, but lately, waking up at a reasonable hour hasn't been a part of my routine.

Being spontaneous is definitely a good thing, but more important is taking every opportunity that comes your way, if you don't you may regret it...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Meri's Gash

"It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky than in the sky wishing you were on the ground"

Meri's Gash With Scott from Sarah Child on Vimeo.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rural Decay

The mountains are a place of beauteous and bountiful rebirth.

Urban Decay

Sometimes we can change the world, but most of the time, the world will change itself.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


As a child, I was terrified of urban exploration. My parents instilled in me such a rigorous schema of moral beliefs that I felt no inclination to break the law, however absurd that law might be. Although I would crawl into abandoned gold mines up in the mountains with ease, walking into the dank dark depths as far as I was capable, anytime I encountered a "No Trespassing" sign, I would diligently decline from any sort of illicit exploration. When I was six my family moved to Virginia, about 20 miles from the heart of our nation's capital. Next door to us was a very old farmhouse, right in the path of suburban expansion. It was scheduled to be demolished and removed in order to make room for million dollar homes and ostentatiously planned community developments. I'm sure some family had lived at this farmhouse for generations, and probably lost some sort of legislative zoning battle forcing them to leave the residence for a small compensation from the city. It appeared that the family had just up and left, taking only their most valued possessions, as there were several relics abandoned on the property. My father and I, in a bout of adventurous behavior, decided to go explore the house, and get a glimpse of the history that was about to be destroyed so that our new neighbors would be able to have that 6 bedroom monstrosity, complete with his and hers walk-in closets.

When we approached the farmhouse, however, my six-year-old conscience was telling me "no". There were "No Trespassing" signs posted all over the vicinity, and a big earth mover parked in front. It was scheduled to be demolished the very next day, so what would be the harm of taking a quick peek? I absolutely refused. "But Dad!" I exclaimed, "the signs say no trespassing! We shouldn't be in here..." My father assured me it was ok, but I remained adamant, and adhering to my morals, I stood in the door frame for nearly half an hour while my father explored the house. He finally appeared again bearing gifts from the abandoned residence. The one I remember most vividly: a dusty one quart glass bottle from the Green Meadow Milk Company. I think he still has this on a mantle in his house somewhere. We walked back to our own house and went inside for some lemonade, but I'll never forget that big farmhouse and what could have been inside, waiting for me to explore.

You wouldn't think that a six-year-old would have the moral cognition capable of making decisions like that, but amazingly I held fast to my understandings of the law. Most children have very little inhibition, causing them to get into all kinds of trouble and making mistakes; mistakes which are invaluable in a necessary learning process. I never made that mistake, the mistake of harmless trespassing on a soon-to-be demolished property. It is something that has come back to me on several occasions. What could have been inside that house? What sort of things might I have found which could have clued me in to the history of the residents inside? My young imagination ran wild with the thought of it. Unfortunately I was never able to go back, I could only stand in the recently sodded yard of an affluent businessman, wondering if he knew what he had taken away from me.

But even though I didn't necessarily make a mistake in the eyes of the law, I did make a mistake by not going in and exploring that house; and I've learned from that mistake. These days, I've grown to appreciate the potential adventure of any situation, premeditated or not. I've grown to learn that some laws are meant to be bent, sometimes broken, and are in place only so that the adventurous have something to look forward to, something to keep their monotonous days going, a challenge to be met with a mischievous grin. There are adventurers in all of us, begging to be emancipated and allowed to explore the world. The beauty lies in the fact that you can never be certain of what the future holds. The uncertainty is intoxicating, forcing improvisation, wit, and a positive outlook. Not knowing what will happen in your immediate future is a fun prospect. It isn't for everyone, but for us true adventurers, we can appreciate the spontaneity of an unforeseen life. Everything new that we experience helps us grow as people, and exploring the unknown is a great way to experience something new.

Thanks for reading.

Some photos from a recent journey to explore an abandoned place, in an abandoned time:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Great Divide

We live in such a beautiful state. Colorado is full of immaculate adventure and breathtaking landscapes. I'm really torn by these places. I want to live there forever, but I know if I spend too much time in a beautiful place, indifference begins to overcome the aesthetics. Fortunately it was a gorgeous place with wonderful company. Here are some photos proving it: