One evening at the gym, Josh approached me excited about some crazy trip he wanted to go on. Apparently, all his usual climbing partners were otherwise engaged, and he realized that I, being a grad student, was infinitely available to drop everything, and disappear into the backcountry for over a week. On top of that, he knew I had recently finished my first 50 mile running race, so he assumed I was up to suffer. It didn’t hurt that I apparently have a reputation for smiling a lot: I smile constantly when I’m uncomfortable, and I’m always uncomfortable at the gym because there’s a crazy group of guys, running around in colorful spandex, groping each other. So, given my perceived ability to suffer with a smile, Josh was convinced I would be a good partner. I tentatively agreed to go, and Josh emailed me a writeup by Galen Rowell describing our climbing objective. “Netherworld”? Ok, I was in.
After a week in the High Sierra in winter, the Pullharder crew was ravaged. Konstantin downed a full packet of hot dogs and a pizza. Ben slept like a baby in the back seat of the car. Shay’s sunburn and stench were epic. And Pullharder Ducky, our fourth? Not an emotion. He don’t eat, don’t sleep, and never complains. More »
Marx said “the only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.” Don’t know if who said it was Karl or Groucho, or some Marx in between. And I wasn’t sure that trudging through the snow at 4am on the way to solo several thousand feet of alpine rock was good for one’s mental health…yet driving back home euphoric, I once again realized the tremendous power of the mountains. More »
The Sierra season is short, we are told. July through September, then the snows come. True, but in the Range of Light, the sun comes out again after the storm and warms the rock faces. So Asa and I headed up this December for a chilly late season (or early Winter season?) ascent of the Strassman Route on Lone Pine Peak. More »