We drive 22 hours from Boulder, USA, to El Potrero Chico, Mexico. The journey takes three days, and we barely stop. We see nothing. The insides of Texas gas stations. Rest stops alongside the highway. A Wells Fargo bank or two. Endless fields of cotton & many drive-thru restaurants. We sleep in the car & we talk to no one until we arrive in Mexico.Continue reading
A playful summer
USA is over the coronavirus.
Last year was “the lost summer”.
This year, in America, we will have the most playful summer of our lives.Continue reading
2020 in Climbs
Normally I write a “year in places” post, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent much of this year at home, in Colorado and other states of the American West (WY, UT, CA). A look back on the year thus involves a bit less horizontal distance, and a lot more vertical!
Most of these climbs involve 5-10 miles of hiking in addition to the technical climbing. This isn’t Europe, and you can’t ride the telepherique to your objective. Here, you gotta walk.
These are the major climbs of the year.Continue reading
The Free Soloist
No lo permitiremos para quedar, I tell my climbing partner, Jose. We’re not going to let him stay.
He nods, voices his assent in Spanish as we pull up to our site in Hidden Valley Campground, in Joshua Tree National Park. Hidden Valley Campground is the center of the Joshua Tree climbing scene, and on a Friday night, the place is swamped with after-work weekend warriors heading out from Los Angeles and San Diego.
Twenty-four million people live in Southern California. The 42 camping sites in Hidden Valley aren’t nearly enough to handle the demand. Luckily, Jose and I had arrived early and staked our claim.
Still, when we returned from town, we found a minivan parked in our campsite. The campsite could accommodate two vehicles, and we had only one. Graciously, the interloper had left space for us to park. Still, I wasn’t in the mood for company. We’re not going to let him stay, I told Jose.
Immediately after we’d parked, a young man walked up to the driver’s side window, and started to plead his case. Before he had time to get two sentences out, Jose interrupted him: “Yeah man, you can stay.”
Awesome! he said. Thanks guys. I’m gonna run off and try this boulder!
And he was gone.Continue reading
The Ouray Ice Park is the Most Unique Place You’ll Hear About Today
(Tambien disponible en español, aqui)
Two years ago, in January 2017, I returned from a trip abroad. I had spent a month in Budapest, Hungary, visiting my friend Shawn, and a month backpacking the Balkan countries.
Colorado weather being what it is, we had 70 degrees (21C) and sun that January, despite the fact that it was the middle of winter. Suffering from the usual post-travel depression, I met up with my friends for a day of sport climbing in Boulder Canyon as quickly as I could. My friend Ben, a Buddhist scholar at Naropa University, told me “I’m inviting a few classmates along. You’ll like them.”
Ironically, neither climbed at all. One was a monk; his order didn’t permit him. The other was Meg, who let us all know, loudly: “I’m going ice climbing tomorrow and I need to save my strength.”
That was the beginning of the end.
Over the next two years, Meg and I climbed some mountains and built a friendship. I found my way into her friend group of serious climbers, and I was slowly sucked more and more towards alpinism, mountains, and ice.
For the past six years, that friend group has taken an annual Super Bowl trip to the Ouray Ice Park, in Ouray, Colorado. I was invited last year, but I was in Italy at the time.
This year, I finally joined the fun. And let me tell you:
Ouray is cool.
There can’t be many places like this in the world. Learn why, below the jump.Continue reading