One of the most striking parts I remember about Free Solo, featuring Alex Honnold trying free solo 3000 granite feet of El Cap, was when he was filling out his mental health questionnaire before an MRI to measure his fear tolerance. He was discussing in classic Honnold fashion about how much of a no big deal free soloing is, but then pauses on a question. “Am i depressed… huh…” he contemplates.
I live my life in nature, with the environment, so I’m especially invested in conservation, keeping things wild and #protectpublicland. I bicycle everywhere, eat mostly vegetarian, don’t fly that much and only rely on a car to go to the mountains so I have felt particularly good minimizing my climate impacts. However, driving tens of thousands of miles and flying tens of thousands more over the last year made me start to worry I had unbalanced this equation. People who earn more, produce more carbon and by taking a sabbatical with so many flights, I definitely felt like I was #livingThatLife. What to do?
This last year I’ve been trying to break into 5.10- trad. Being the stronger climbing partner of my team, that often meant pushing myself on lead. However, decking from blown gear last August lost a lot of my lead head and confidence to climb, even at the levels I was previously confident. However, I’ve had a resurgence over the last month of not only getting my confidence back but pushing into 5.10 trad. I’m really proud of myself and feel empowered by what I’ve learned.
Interactive map of my last 270 days of travel.
Going full time traveling to visit all the national parks, live simply, seek wilderness and travel the world has been sold as the ideal dream and fully living life in many a social media account. I too was allured towards these ideas and ten months ago decided to try it out. I had a clear idea of all the amazing things I would do and see but in retrospect less of an idea about the true costs. Both financial and personal. Let me give you all the details…
So this one time I was late to the airport and they threatened to compound all my climbing gear at security 30 seconds after they gave a last call for my gate… I almost re-missed my next connection because an airport doctor examination on a barley conscious companion completed 30 minutes before that flight outside security… Followed by almost being kicked off the plane since my medical wavered friend looked feverish and had just left plague-ridden Madagascar…
I guess this story is worth sharing.
Guest Post by 2017 Climb Against the Odds climber, Amy
It was the middle of June, and I found myself surrounded by snow. My body fought for oxygen as I propelled myself, one crunchy footstep at a time, toward the 14,179 foot peak. Summiting Mt. Shasta was not only a physical achievement, but something that just five years ago would have been totally impossible for me.
Jordan may be known for Petra, but within an hour of the country’s capital of Amman sits many fantastic archeological sites stretching back thousands of years. A few desert castles to the east, a massive Roman settlement to the north and even an ancient citadel and Roman theatre in the city center.
Each destination worthy of a couple hours walk with plentiful guides and historical description placards in both Arabic and English (the second official language). Better even with the great deal from the Jordan Pass which provides access to all these sites, waives the traveler’s visa fee and includes entrance to Petra. Let me take you on a tour.
Living on the road. Spending every day pursuing outdoor activities. Possibly without a job, definitely with little income and a life cornerstoned on little responsibilities. This is the idealic description of the nomad lifestyle that many millennials are dreaming of these days whether it be in a car, van or bus.
The reality of Nomadic Life is that it comes with its own set of tradeoffs and challenges to enable such freedom to explore the outdoors. I have just wrapped up five months into that experience and can vouch that all that novelty has and idealism wears away rather quickly. I truly appreciate not having to worry about cramming in all my fun into a weekend or a short trip.
I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve been a serious athlete since I was 5. A gymnast from a family of gymnasts, I was practicing 6 days a week for 5 hours a day at the peak of my ten-year practice. Gymnastics was everything: a lifestyle, friendships, self-worth and more. I didn’t know how to live without it, but then the unthinkable happened… I got injured and had to quit the very thing that encompassed my entire life. That experience taught me more about who I really was and how to keep moving my life forward.
A soft sun rises over a gentle ocean, silhouetting several large puffy clouds. The light is diffused by a light haze of Sahara blown sand as I wake up in the sail bag of a 50 ft catamaran. My eyes focus on the open blue sky above me which cradled endless galaxies just five hours ago when I went to sleep. I am rocked gently by shallow ocean waves in the 70 degree weather which will soon warm to a consistent 85 degrees when the sun intensifies and quickly launches from the horizon to mid-sky.