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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”

http://themilestickaway.squarespace.com

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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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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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“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

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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.

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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If I know only one thing, it’s that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?
And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I’ll come back to you someday soon myself
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

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 colors are what strike you first when you peer up at Laurel Mountain; a dazzling array of crimson red, slate, brilliant white and dark gray sit in neat horizontal patches like methodically placed paint brush strokes.  At a height of 11,818 feet (3,602 m) Laurel Mountain creeps up above Convict Lake in the High Sierras. The mountain, like any other, is no laughing matter nor is it a walk in the park, but most people come here more for the adventure than for the technical difficulty. There is not a move above 5.2 and most of it is fourth class. However, the route, dubbed “Northeast Gully” asks the climber to contend with nearly 1 mile of vertical gain. Due to its low grade, most people, including us, free-solo this route.

Photo by E. Léger

Photo by E. Léger

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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.

While we had a blast ticking off lots of 3-4 pitch moderates at Lover’s Leap, what Emmanuel and I were really psyched on was going to do long, easy , committing routes that summited substantially tall peaks. Emmanuel already had a bit of experience doing this, but the most intense thing I’d ever done in that category was Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne the prior summer… and I followed the entire thing. So, I had only one way to go- up! (pun intended)

We made a list of routes we thought we might like to try with the help of Peter Croft’s “The Good, the Great and the Awesome” and Supertopo’s second edition of the High Sierra Climbing guidebook.

One of the most classic and easiest routes in the High Sierra is Crystal Crag. Crystal Crag is situated right above the Mammoth Lakes Basin and gets you above 10,000 ft but with very minimal commitment. The approach is way shorter than most in the guidebook (45 min) and there are only three pitches. It can easily be done in half a day. For someone totally new to the whole mountaineering realm, it seemed like a great way for me to get my feet wet.

View of the Mammoth Lakes Basin from the North Summit of Crystal Crag- check out the white  chunk of crystal rock!

View of the Mammoth Lakes Basin from the North Summit of Crystal Crag- check out the white chunk of crystal rock!

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