Summer scrambling!

People often talk about the work-life balance, but in my life I don’t know which one is work, and which one is living, confused about where I truly belong; I feel alive when I’m in the mountains, yet I never stay.  Back home in the city recharges my soul, yet I inevitably grow restless and leave again to find fulfillment in the mountains.  Continuously I cross the threshold between these two worlds – worlds in symbiosis, incessantly turning over.  Both are part of my identity, yet I can’t exist in one forever, not without the other.  Like the sand that falls through the narrow waist of an hourglass, I am constantly pulled from one realm to the other.  This is my life in perpetual motion, a delicate dance balancing pleasure and pain, serenity and insanity. 

by Niki Yoblanski in her piece “the hourglass”

Photo by Julie Vargo

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

The work-life balance has been a difficult thing to strike lately. Like the author so poignantly describes in that quote from her larger piece “The Hourglass” , I am constantly struggling to create an equilibrium between my career goals that I am pursuing here in San Francisco and my personal passion to play in the mountains. One unfortunate consequence of this tricky task is that I have completely neglected this blog. This, in turn, will benefit you, my few readers, because this will be light on text and heavy on imagery!

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The trials and tribulations of a Weekend Warrior

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
    in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
    of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time. 

-Jack London

Unknown climber on
Unknown climber on “Visions of Impalement (11d)” at the Trinity Aretes

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

Lately, my ability to squeeze enough satisfaction out of my weekend warrior-ing to keep me content has been waning. Like Jack London, I want to live, though currently I feel as though I am simply existing. Existing between one work day and another, trying to wring out as much pleasure as I can from my brief trips to the mountains as possible.

Perhaps this sounds over-dramatic, but I didn’t always feel like this.  In fact my first month here all I wanted to do was stay in the city and explore my surroundings.  However, those were some strange times while I was battling changes in life that demanded my mental attention. I also was living in Bishop, CA where I was surrounded by endless outdoor recreation possibilities. Now that life has calmed down a little bit and my scenery has changed, the climbing spark has been reignited. I can trace this back, actually, to a series of weekends I spent sport climbing in the Trinity Aretes.

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The new normal

“Regeneration is active: We become full participants in the process of maximizing life’s creativity. This is a far more expansive vision than the familiar eco-critique that stressed smallness and shrinking humanity’s impact or “footprint.” that is simply not an option today (…) we are here, we are many and we must use our skills to act. We can however, change the nature of our actions so that they are constantly growing, rather than extracting life. (…) We can accelerate simply through our labor, the restoration and regeneration of living systems, if we engage in thoughtful, concerted action. ‘We are actually they keystone species in this moment so we have to align our strategies with the healing powers of Mother Earth, though there is no getting around the house rules. But it isn’t about stopping or retreating. It’s about aggressively applying our labor toward restoration’. (…) from here on, when we take, we must not only give back ,but we must also take care. (448-449)

Naomi Klein-  This Changes Everything


Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

Over the past few months I’ve put my blog on the back-burner as I’ve grappled with a lot of changes in my life, some good, some bad and others whose end influence has yet to be determined. In the course of six months I’ve moved from traveling in my car and sleeping under the stars from one BLM spot to another, climbing and camping in Europe, moving to a house in Bishop and now finally living in San Francisco. It’s been a half-year jam-packed with intensely vivid experiences as I’ve learned more about myself and probably gone through more emotional troughs and peaks in that time period than in any other. I

With this blog post I wanted to highlight some of the things I’m excited about in my current stage in life, along with some quotes from a novel I’ve read recently called “This Changes everything Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein. This book, for sure, gets a high spot on my reading list for all humankind and I encourage everyone to read it as soon as possible.

The introductory quote highlights the power and importance of ecological restoration as not only a tool to use in our arsenal against climate change, but as a foundation for an overall philosophy that needs to be globally adopted if we are ever going to make the cultural shift necessary to combat this immense threat. Klein uses it broadly, but here I am going to use it specifically to talk briefly about habitat restoration the type of work I engage in every day.

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Final adventures in the Owens Valley and beyond


Life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans- John Lennon

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

When I first moved to Bishop, the fact that I only had one year to soak up the wonders of the Eastern Sierra almost stressed me out more than it excited me. Seeing as how 90% of the eastern sierra is public lands, one working-year really doesn’t even give one enough time to scratch the surface. So, when my year  quickly shrank to a few weeks when I accepted a job in San Francisco, I hyperventilated a little bit as I realized how little time I had left. Regardless of my brief panic attack (you know life isn’t really that bad when this kind of thing is among your primary concerns) I tried to use my remaining time to the fullest and explore some of the areas I’d wanted to visit, but hadn’t yet been. Bishop sure isn’t going anywhere, but hey-  I am! Here’s a quick anthology of some of my recent explorations in the Owens Valley…
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Croatia Photo Essay

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

My trip to Croatia, as told in a series of photos…
Tried not to repeat photos already posted, but I’m certain it happened, anyways.

Photos of Paklenica/Anica Kuk
Plitvice Lakes National Park

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Multipitch routes on Debeli Kuk, Paklenica National Park

Photos of Paklenica/Anica Kuk
Debeli Kuk

Generally, I don’t have a big issue taking falls on a (relatively safe) sport route. That is certainly not to say that I have a strong head  all of the time, but I’d say I am most confident and comfortable while on the sharp end of a sport-route. My confidence tends to grow when I find the route inspirational or motivational, so I wasn’t really anticipating too many problems in Paklenica, since I was so excited to climb as much as possible. However, for whatever reason I wasn’t able to muster up the somewhat dismal amount of mental armor I protect myself with while climbing during my first few bouts of sport multi-pitch climbing in Paklenica. Perhaps this is because, prior to Croatia, I associated multi-pitch routes with easy to moderate trad climbing; I never really considered falling on a multi-pitch route, except for the few instances when I lead something hard for me at Lover’s Leap in Tahoe over the summer. Although the systems are essentially the same, having my belayer on the wall versus on the ground got to me; for some reason I had some crazy fear that if I fell, since my partner was anchored to the wall and not firmly standing on the ground, it was more dangerous and something out of a horror story would happen.. AKA  my partner’s anchor would explode and send him tumbling to a tragic death.. Since my principal motivation was to combine my ability to give it my all while sport-climbing with the longer days of multi-pitch climbing, I knew that if I were really going to appreciate this trip I needed to get over this completely irrational hesitance and fear. To do this, I needed to get on something hard.

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Paklenica National Park – 50 and life to go

“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”
(Lito Tejada-Flores)

IMG_2647Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

More often than not, in my personal experience, if one were to analyze my feelings while climbing a multi-pitch route on a moment-by-moment basis I’m probably not exactly having “fun.” In fact, I may actually be miserable. Sometimes you are cold at a belay station, shivering and dreading leading the next pitch with frozen fingers, other times your skin just hurts and sometimes you have quite a few rappels to go while you are baking on the side of a rock in the summer heat. (I really can’t complain, I haven’t done anything very extreme and don’t mean to make it sound like i have, but I certainly have done my fair share of complaining and what’s the fun of having a blog if you can’t complain a little bit!)

But, the satisfaction of executing a beautiful move well or of topping-out always seems to dull these longer, often drawn out feelings of discomfort and even suffering during which you are vowing to yourself to never climb again so long as you can get yourself out of this situation safely and back to the warm comfort of normal life. (or maybe that’s just me…)

Reflecting on the longer multi-pitch routes that we did in Paklenica is a bit of a biased exercise; I remember the suffering ,but what I really value are those “golden” moments when it is all worth it.

Those “golden” moments stand out most on the routes “50 and life to go” , “Big Wall Speed Climbing” , “Diagonalka” and “Mosoraski”, all of which are classic climbs in Paklenica and on which I had moments of dread and doubt overshadowed by moments of satisfaction, accomplishment and utter joy. Here is the story of one of those routes.
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Getting to know Paklenica National Park

“Danas penji, sutra stenji – Climbing today, suffering tomorrow”- climbing quote which originated in Paklenica National Park

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

While visiting family, drinking an excess amount of bosanska kafa and traveling the countryside with my Dad was plenty fulfilling and entertaining, thoughts of my next destination were lingering in my mind, feeding off of my growing excitement…

I was itching to head to Paklenica National Park in Croatia to go climbing on the massive limestone walls that up to this point I had only seen in pictures.

Now I have  some pictures (and stories) of my own to share…

Photos of Paklenica/Anica Kuk

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Climbing in Pecka, and some updates from the Sierra Nevada!

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

Five days in Yosemite Valley, three days climbing in the Owen’s River Gorge and one glorious coffee at Looney Bean café has created the perfect conditions for a new blog post – exhaustion and wifi.

Now, rewind a month. In Bosnia, all of the research I did concerning local climbing pointed in one obvious direction – Pecka. Pecka is a climbing area near Banja Luka (where I was born!) and about a three hour drive from Sarajevo. Pecka also is the site of an annual climbing festival, hosted by the Bosnian climbing club extremebl ( and houses the most potential for future sport climbing development in Bosnia, or so I have read. So, with the help of my father (who chauffered me there from Sarajevo) I thought I would go check out the place for myself. The idea of climbing somewhere so close to where I was born also appealed to my more emotional side, always grasping for the “real” motivation behind my actions- and always overanalyzing everything to try to reveal some sort of “deeper” significance. With my mind a raging torrent of thoughts and motivation, off to Pecka we went!
Photos of Paklenica/Anica Kuk

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Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

The current guiding me in life seems to be pulling me from one adventure to another; I am writing this post from Mammoth Lakes, tired and a little bit too dirty after two good days climbing and camping at Clark Canyon. Still, my trip to Bosnia is still fresh in my mind, including my visit to the climbing area near the small town of Dreznica.

Photos of Paklenica/Anica Kuk

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