Self-Portrait Atop a Mountain in a Lightning Storm

This photo was taken above 4,000 meters on Long’s Peak, after a climb of the Notch Couloir, June 2020. My partner and I had dawdled on the way up, and we got caught up high in a light afternoon thunderstorm. Deciding our best option was to wait the storm out, my partner and I stashed our ice axes, crampons and other metal gear fifty yards uphill, and took refuge in some small talus “caves.”

In reality, my boulder was barely large enough to provide shelter. My legs, pulled up into my chest, were still getting wet. My partner, a few yards away in a better cave, described themselves as on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

I shot this photo on my 35mm film camera. The storm soon passed. We summited an hour later.

Crowds, Covid, and the Casual Route

Alpenglow on the Diamond face, Longs Peak

“Dr. Tony Fauci would be so pissed if he could see us,” the climber to my left says. He imitates the USA’s top Coronavirus expert, a well known figure in recent days: “‘You’re all the way out there, on the side of a mountain, and you fuckers still can’t stay six feet apart!?’”

All three of us at the anchor laugh.

We’re in tight proximity, for sure. Me, my climbing partner, and a stranger are in what’s called a “hanging belay”: literally hanging off the side of the Diamond, a huge alpine wall in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. There is no ground below us — just thousands of feet of air.

A few pieces of climbing gear stuck into cracks in the rock and some short nylon tethers are all that keep us from dropping to the glacier below. We aren’t all attached to the same gear — but our anchors are built around each other, at the only possible stance. The wall is too smooth and vertical to spread out much.

We are climbing the same route, chasing each other up. There are two climbing parties in front of us, and one behind. It *is* a bit ironic: we are more remote than most people will ever get in their lives, and yet… our new acquaintance is right. Dr. Fauci would not approve.

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Some Summer Climbs

I’ve spent the summer mostly writing on Medium (see my previous post), working, and climbing around Colorado.

Quite truthfully, I’ve felt a little too spent to write anything “serious.” That’s just how things are, for now. Y’all are used to me coming and going, I’m sure.

Here are some of the places I’ve been seeking my serenity:

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Un viaje al Ouray Ice Park (Parque Hielo de Ouray)

(English Here / Ingles aqui)

La aldea de Ouray, Colorado tiene un grandísimo sitio artificial para escalar hielo: El Ouray Ice Park (Parque Hielo de Ouray). Creo que es la más grande en todo el mundo — pero no estoy seguro de este hecho. Sin embargo, Ouray es una lugar muy especial y única. El parque es increíblemente impresionante, y un destino para las alpinistas y escaladores de todos lados y países.

No hay muchas lugares así en todo el mundo. Permitime a explicarlo a vos porque.

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This Music Video Shows What’s So Special About Colorado

As some of you may know, I was born and raised in the state of Colorado, in the USA. I recently came across this video for the song “San Luis”, by folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov, which was filmed mostly in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado.

The music and the images do a really great job of showing some of what makes this place so special.

I could write more about how this captures the essence of home so perfectly, but I think this is one of those instances where nothing more needs to be said.

Hope you enjoy the music.

P.S. GAI is one of those artists with such a small profile, that if you enjoy his music, you can make an actual, discernible difference by buying his albums.

Here’s a little bonus: