Category Archives: Mountaineering

11 of the best climbing videos ever

1. James Pearson on “The Walk of Life”

James Pearson making the first ascent of The Walk of Life with runout poorly protected featureless slab with a HUGE whipper. Doesn’t get any better than this. “You start off and you climb almost 10 meters with no gear and then you get a really, very bad nut which is, maybe you’d hang your coat of it.”

2. Pamela Shanti Pack on “The Kill Artist”

Pamela Shanti Pack doing what she does on Moab off-widths. “Really glad I didn’t die on that.” Lol what?!

3. Arnaud Petit on “Black Bean”

Awesome video with his post-send commentary as the video rolls of him progressing up the wall.

4. Lee Cossey on “Agent of Cool”

Another series of crazy anti-drag maneuvers with Lee Cossey working his way up “Agent of Cool”. A beautiful line with super steady climbing.

5. Jason Kruk on “Boogie til you puke”

An all time classic. “I guess if you climb enough off-widths, one of these days you’re gonna get your knee stuck and shit your pants. It’s just an odds thing, really.”

6. Hazel Findlay on “Once upon a time in the southwest”

Second showing of Hazel Findlay on this list and the second feature of Dyers Lookout wall in England. “At half height you have to run it out a little bit. And that feels kinda cool cuz you’re not hindered by placing loads of shit gear all the time.”

7. Steph Davis on “Pervertical Sanctuary”

Steph Davis crushing it on one of the dream walls out in Colorado, free soloing The Diamond on Longs Peak with a wild soundtrack.

8. Alex Honnold on “El Sendero Luminoso”

“It’s just kind of weird helping your friend do something that you know could potentially lead to his death.” Beautiful video of Alex Honnold free-soloing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico with assistance from the amazing Cedar Wright.

9. Leosvany Hernandez Rodriguez on “Wasp Factory”

Incredible video from Renan Ozturk featuring the Cuban climber Leosvany Hernandez Rodriguez in Viñales, Cuba.

10. Siebe Vanhee and Sean Villanueva on Tsaranoro massif in Madagascar

“Then you have to organize the bags. Again. It’s always better to do it in your underwear. Now we can commit to the unknown of this vertical ocean and go where no human has ever been.” Crazy dudes.

11. Dean Potter on The Nose of El Cap

I love the imagination and guts it takes to solo rock climb and Dean Potter shows the crazy crap it takes to race up El Capitan alone. An antique video at this point but still amazing to watch.

Chimborazo Part 3: A really big dummy

Read part 1 here

So with the first realization that I might not get to stand on the summit, I was pretty friggin bummed. But I still had hope despite the horribly gloomy outlook. Snow was coming down hard now and we were getting destroyed by the wind. But I understood that the weather wasn’t the problem. We could bundle up and proceed no problem. But where we were, where we had to go, and where we had come from all had a risk of avalanches, especially after large snowfall. We climbed for probably another 45 minutes to an hour and it got much worse. Continue reading Chimborazo Part 3: A really big dummy

Chimborazo Part 1: Why do you do these things, Grayson?

I looked over at Raul, the snow blasting my face, and saw him shifting his jacket to better protect his eyes. He was constantly shifting, looking down the mountain at the train of headlamps below us piercing the bitter darkness. The snow and spindrift split through seams between my jackets and pants. It bombarded my neck and ripped at my exposed cheeks. But I wanted this summit. I’d never summited a mountain over 14,500 feet and here we were at 18,500 feet, just 2,000 feet shy of the summit. We could roll and be back down before dawn at the pace we were hitting. The snow would let up and I’d hope for a moment, and then it would return and crush any prospect of continuing up the mountain. We needed to go down. And we needed to make that decision while we still had time.

Chimborazo Ecuador Andean Adventures Continue reading Chimborazo Part 1: Why do you do these things, Grayson?

Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10

If you’re looking to bag some winter 14ers but don’t want to risk your life to do so, hopefully this list list can help steer you to some solid safer climbs. Whether you’re looking for a more intense climb than the summer hikes or love the solitude of the off-season, winter 14ers can be an amazing experience that you can’t get during the summer.

However, before even considering attempting any of these winter 14ers, I would recommend that you have experience with climbing 14ers or at least 13ers in the warmer months, or at minimum go with someone who is familiar with the mountain and the cold. For nearly all of these climbs, I recommend having at minimum microspikes and trekking poles. It was a very rare day that these aren’t essential pieces of gear. In addition to that, most of the climbs call for snowshoes, especially after a storm or on the less travelled routes, and many of them necessitate an ice axe and the experience with using one. 10 point crampons are rarely if ever necessary on most of these routes.

This is not meant to be an all inclusive guide to each climb, just merely an introduction to help you decide which climbs to do. Always check weather and route conditions beforehand. I’ve linked to some helpful resources at the bottom.

The short and sweet winter 14ers:

1. Quandary Peak (East ridge)

Quandary peak winter
The route up Quandary follows that ridge and kicks up there in the last third.
Continue reading Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10

Assumption of Risk

My granddad just turned 83 a few days ago. And as a former cop, he didn’t get there by being a dummy. He has always taken care of himself, paid attention to risks around him, avoided alcohol, and kept himself busy. I’ll never forget seeing him clearing downed trees in his driveway despite being in his 70s. But one thing that has always stood out to me was how he refused to fly on planes. He had helped clean up a plane crash with the bodies of 74 corpses of young soldiers just outside of Richmond in 1961. But despite improvements on air travel and being told about the safety of flying, he decided he would never accept the risk of it, and there was no changing his mind. Continue reading Assumption of Risk

Indoors

It’s days like this that put it all into perspective. I remember trudging through knee deep mud in New England, fording flooded rivers that threatened to sweep my legs out from under me and send me downstream. I remember hypothermia, the cold rain seeping into the cracks and seams of my rain gear and drenching me to my core. I remember having to hike faster to stay warm, wake up and get moving to stay alive. I remember being wet for day after day after day, throwing away a rotting pair of shoes that had never seen dryness. I ate soggy food with swollen hands slept in wet clothes in a wet sleeping bag. Continue reading Indoors

M2 round two

Today was my first day of round two of M2 and as I sat through repeat classes I realized I can do this. While it’s certainly daunting, second year of medical school feels much more manageable this time around. I watched all my friends move on and progress in their studies, pass the first step of their board licensing exams, and their success gives me confidence.

Read about M2 round one here!

Continue reading M2 round two

Misadventures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Descending Taylor Glacier: Part 4

Read Part 1 here: Climbing Taylor Glacier

In the dry, cool gusts in the Bear Lake parking lot in Rocky Mountain National Park, I took off my steamy boots and replaced them with my booties, exchanged the puffy down jacket for a soft fleece, and my grimy fleece cap for open air. I headed for Estes Park with my heat blasting, and as soon as I knew I had cell service, pulled out my phone and called my mom. She panicked when I recounted the details of the day but I continually reminded her that I was safe. It was nice to tell the story from the comfort of my heated car and come to grips with what had actually happened and addressing the mistakes while they were fresh in my head. I guess it was sort of the start of my coping with what I had done. I faced the fact that it happened and I could choose to make something of it and grow or ignore it and shame myself. Continue reading Misadventures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Descending Taylor Glacier: Part 4

Descending Andrews Glacier, Climbing Taylor Glacier: Part 3

But when I stepped down into this untouched snow gully, I sank up to my hips. The snow was loose powder and I knew it could calve off and slide at any minute. But it was my way out. I counted on the narrowness of the gully and the steepness of the slope to be my savior. I figured it was far too steep for an avalanche but knew it could still slide. At this point the grade was so steep I was practically climbing a wall of loose snow concealing firmer ice below. Continue reading Descending Andrews Glacier, Climbing Taylor Glacier: Part 3

Climbing Taylor Glacier: Part 2

I worked my way up the shallower lower slopes beneath Taylor Glacier through deep powder with my snowshoes on and trekking poles in hand. The snow was deep and fluffy so the going was easier with some flotation on my feet and something to balance in my hands. But when I turned around I realized I had already ascended my way onto something so much steeper than I felt comfortable with. A slip on this grade on the slick ice of Taylor Glacier would mean broken bones at best.

Continue reading Climbing Taylor Glacier: Part 2