Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Over the edge into Finley Creek.

 I spent an intriguing afternoon poking along this ridgeline, digging through some cornices, watching the clouds blow in and out.  Thought a lot about this day.  

Then I turned around.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief:

Your noble son is mad.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Some advantages of early Spring:

The pleasure of leaving signatures on grubby corn.

Steeper terrain, open for business.

Squalls stalk the prairie.

Monday, March 16, 2015

On #Suffering

The view.

And the temptation of a windloaded entrance.

I've noticed over the past couple of months that "suffering" has joined the ranks of the hashtag lexicon, courtesy of the Patagonia crowd (or Arcteryx, or NorthFace, or whatever special blend of recycled coke bottles best expresses your lifestyle).  As in:  "#suffer better; #suffer uphill; #sufferfest."  This is neither good nor bad, but interesting, and because words are by training and inclination my subject, I have some thoughts.  Language evolves, its speakers change, and words stretch and move over time--a process more metamorphic than architectural.  Like layers of mud and sand, squeezed together until they form something new.    

Maybe you agree that words can be like rocks.  So far so good.  But a word is also a bit like a kitchen you walk into that smells of whatever was cooking before you arrived. You start your own meal, but still will taste a little of whatever was simmering in those pans.  In this instance, #suffering, that's a general association with martyrdom and psychic pain--two things I don't typically group with skiing, or climbing, or really anything most of us would choose to do in these, our great outdoors.    

Of course, you protest, I'm taking all of this far too seriously.  I'd be the first to agree I am--words, after all, should be as much objects of play as mountains and rivers, skis and rods.  But when my time in the mountains is constricted, my thoughts tend to run more melancholy than they would if buffered by a healthy dose of sweat and lactic acid.  Point is that I don't think any of us are really suffering out there, though we may be uncomfortable, sometimes extremely so, and sometimes verily unto death.  Do our recreations really have anything to do with the stations of the cross?  I dunno.  Maybe there are bigger fish to fry.  Throw a little native advertising into the mix, and the question becomes even trickier.  Are you running the hashtag, or is the hashtag running you?  

We all of us suffer, sometimes.  Some suffer more, some less, to each as the world sees fit to dish it out.  But skiing isn't suffering, even though your toes got really damn cold.  Language shifts as we shift, nothing wrong with that.  But like the rocks you pull on, or the snow you dig through, there's more to the words than might first meet the eye.  As I was scribbling away at this bit of nonsense, I learned that a classmate had passed away.  I did not know him well.  He suffered from medical issues, and pain, and had been struggling.  I have no right to speak of him, really.  But I wish I had taken the chance to know him better, to have extended a bit more kindness when it might have mattered.  To have suffered better, as we all should do.   

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Woke up Saturday morning to an icy inch in town.  Up high we found close to a foot of cold new snow.  Almost forgot what winter feels like, but a brilliant sun and brisk north wind brought it surging back.  Climb, ski, climb, ski.  Forever and ever, amen.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The weather couldn't really make up its mind Saturday, but it did seem to feel no sun should shine in the Rattlesnake.  Then snow today.  Could it be the beginning of a new storm cycle?  The mountains could use a nice, soft blanket.

Don't let the color fool you.  It's ice.  Not nice.

A tucked-away pinner.


Monday, January 19, 2015


Rain to at least 7,000 feet this weekend, and dense snow above that.  This storm carried with it serious wind.  Our hackles were up, just high enough.

Cornice stomping...

and ski cutting.  New wind slabs broke and ran for quite a way--a reminder of how quickly conditions change in the mountains.

It got windier as the day wore on.  On the trail out we found several trees that hadn't been there before.  An intriguing day weather and snow wise, with a healthy amount of spice.