Tag Archives: extreme things

Tolerate My Voice & Hear My Podcast

t began as a video web-series a year ago. I thought it would be wise to further complicate my life so it has expanded into a podcast. What is it? G.O. Get Outside. And it is live. It is even on iTunes.

Expect a new episode every Thursday beginning September 10th. Season one will clock in at 21 installments (wrapping in early January). Three episodes are up now. What is it about? I’m glad you asked so I won’t feel so awkward telling you. This is what it says in iTunes and on the website:

G.O. Get Outside: The Podcast is a radio-style interview show for people who like to get outdoors or would like to get outdoors. Hell, it may even be a show for people who don’t know they want to get outdoors. Too busy? Think you don’t have time for frivolous outside crap? Poppycock! Each episode of G.O. delves into the outdoor lifestyle of some everyday schmo who probably has more in common with you than you think. Whether you are BASE jumping off a flying unicorn or hiking around your neighborhood in between diaper changes, you have a place here. Pop open your podcast machine and give it a listen. Maybe it will stoke some embers you didn’t know were burning.

Still unclear? Listen to episode one where it is explained in more detail or listen to all of them to really clarify your confusion. While you are there, want to do me a huge favor? You do?! How magnanimous of you! Subscribe, rate, and review it in iTunes. It will help more than you can imagine. Off to your podcast machine. Get. Go. Shoo.

Back on the Rocks

One of the reasons I got actively involved in outdoor pursuits eight years ago was an interest in climbing. It was an online search for climbing lessons that led me to Karl’s Extreme Things Adventure Club. I know it sounds melodramatic, but that web search changed everything. Joining that club unlocked the gates of ignorance and doubt that were keeping me from chasing outdoor adventures. My life has been drastically different since. Oddly enough, it was another three years before I decided to get climbing training. That was almost exactly five years ago. I was progressing steadily and then I got distracted by canyoneering. I love canyoneering. It combines so many things I adore: remote places, water, heights, problem-solving, slides, jumps, rappels, etc. Unfortunately, running canyons all the time makes it difficult to also climb all of the time. I’ve given myself a goal—I want to climb all 31 pitches of the Nose on El Cap by 40. I have a lot to do before I am prepared for that. And so, this year I have decided to make sure I climb more frequently than I run canyons (the last couple of years those priorities have been swapped). The great news is that a lot of my canyoneering buddies are moving into climbing meaning finding good climbing partners has become much easier.

I’ve been hitting various crags fairly frequently so far and have gone on a few short climbing trips also. I returned to Joshua Tree in January with Mike and Moreno. We climbed a few routes including a repeat of the very first route I lead trad-style. It was a very different experience than the first time and a big confidence builder. The weekend went well despite Moreno’s ridiculous selfies. The image below is based-on-a-true-story.

I also spent a couple of weekends at a great sport climbing area in the desert called New Jack City. Here I got to watch three separate friends lead their first single-pitch sport routes. It’s really cool to experience that.

The end of March saw the return of the Red Rock Rendezvous, a really enjoyable climbing festival in Nevada I’ve been attending for five years now. This is the place where I experienced my first multi-pitch route. I made sure to arrive early and stick around a couple of days after the festival. The festival was a good time as always, but the highlights were the 500 foot routes I climbed with friends the day before and after: Geronimo and Cat in the Hat. I lead every pitch on each. I felt very confident on Geronimo. Last year, I climbed the first pitch and had to bail afterwards because we started too late in the afternoon. It felt great to return this year and solidly lead the full route (even if I did manage to confuse the approach again and initially take us to the wrong rock). Cat in the Hat is rated the same as Geronimo, yet there were a few spots where I felt a little uncomfortable on lead. Psychologically I found it more difficult, but neither route is very hard technically. Cat in the Hat is just as busy as advertised: back-to-back climbing parties and the descent shares the same line as the ascent so there is a fair amount of dodging rappelers. Lots of featured rock with interesting cracks and a fun exposed traverse make it a good time.

One of the great things about climbing is all the awesome people you meet. I meet so many inspiring people on rocks and in primitive campgrounds. They may be filthy, stinky, and sleeping on the ground, but their zeal for life is unmatched.

Initiate Update – First Third

It feels like all I have been doing this year is working. To a certain degree that is true, but when I look through my calendar and photos from this first third of 2013, I see the truth isn’t so glum. The year started out well. I was canyoneering several times a month, lead my first trad routes, hit the gym hard and regularly, and was balancing my workload well. Lately, though, work has been eating into everything. I did still manage to make it out to the Red Rock Rendezvous (best year yet) and backpacked through Surprise Canyon again (last time was over 3 years ago). I’m thankful for all the work, but hopefully outdoor time will start wedging its way back in. Currently Half Dome, Zion, and the Grand Canyon are on the calendar. Maybe they’ll help me get my balance back.

On a semi-tangent, back in February, I faced my first burrowing tick. I’ve had ticks crawling across my skin many times, but this was the first time one managed to dig into my flesh. I returned home after running Bailey Canyon under a full moon and found a big monstrosity protruding from my hip. After a struggle I managed to yank it out and its disgusting buried head. I’ve almost healed emotionally from the feelings of violation. Regardless, ticks have become my sworn enemies alongside cockroaches. Seriously, avoid those fuckers. And by avoid, I mean kill with extreme prejudice. We are talking tick genocide.

Being self-employed is always worrisome. I constantly expect the work to suddenly dry up and everything to fall apart. So far I have been lucky and work continues to flow in. We shall see if I can maintain it. Below are a few of the highlights from many projects that have seen completion so far this year: (There are some cool things I can’t share yet also.)

That’s enough yakking. Enjoy some photos below. Hopefully I will post something substantial soon and not just more of this  “Dear Diary” bullshit.

Don’t Forget 2012 Just Yet

Before you get completely cozy in the quilt of 2013, take a moment to watch lots of people jumping off of rocks back in that ancient year of 2012. Maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of yourself. It’s that time again – annual GoPro compilation starts now!

Ouray Ice Climbing

Icy Start

Ouray Ice Climbing

And so the year the world ends begins. What better way to celebrate than by jabbing sharp metal into icicles and ascending them? The Extreme Things Adventure Club has visited the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival a few times in the past, but I have never gone. It is a bit pricier than other excursions partly because it involves transport to and lodging in Colorado. This time Erika and I decided the cost was justified.

Nine of us boarded an Allegiant Air jet Thursday morning, January 5th. I had never heard of them and they are cheap so I was a bit skeptical. They do charge for everything: beverages, snacks, seat assignments, etc. But, it was fine. I don’t have many expectations or requirements for air travel, especially for a flight under two hours. If they service areas you intend to travel, it is worth looking into their prices. We landed in Grand Junction, CO in the early afternoon and headed for a large cabin in Ridgway—right next door to Ouray (pronounced yoo-ray). The cabin was quite large: three bedrooms, two stories and a huge basement being converted into more living space. The incomplete nature of the basement made it seem rather creepy and a certain member of the group refused to enter it alone.

We had two days and a night to visit the area. This gave us enough time to visit the festival, partake of the night life, soak in an underground hot spring (known as the Vaporcave), visit Telluride and its ski resort, and meet Telluride’s local rasta. Oh, and drive through the mountains at night in a snow storm.

Thankfully, there were enough spaces available at the Ice Festival that all of us were able to try ice climbing. A few of us enrolled in a six hour seminar and had a full day of ice climbing instruction. I would later recognize one of our instructors while flipping through one of my climbing magazines—Jack Tackle. Apparently he is a bad-ass mountaineer and alpine climber. I thank him for belaying me on my first ever ice climb. Ice climbing is similar to rock climbing, yet drastically different. It uses many of the same principles, but it is entirely dependent on your abilities to wield its gear: crampons and ice tools (think pointy boots and pick axes). Although I hadn’t climbed before, I ended up in the intermediate class. This worked out well because we spent more time climbing than talking. I was able to climb six times and finished each 50-60 foot route. On my last two climbs, I did begin to feel some exhaustion in my arms. I tried a variation up a thin section of ice on my very last climb that was psychologically and physically taxing, but rewarding. I am certainly interested in climbing more ice.

Ouray is a tiny mountain town with an inviting atmosphere. We spent a fair amount of time in O’Briens Pub, but my favorite place was Mouse’s Chocolates. Their chocolates are fantastic and locally made. During the festival, Mouse’s was selling large chunks of chocolate decorated like ice climbers.

Overall, not a bad way to start a new year.

Roll Into 12

The beginning of a new year always means an inundation of “best of” lists and montages reflecting on the year before. Shortly we’ll all be so sick of both we’ll be vomiting iridescent rainbows of turkey and electromagnetic radiation. Never one to miss an opportunity to contribute to mass public puking, I too have put together a GoPro retrospective of last year. Watch it above.

Descending Into Middle Earth

I have been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I have lived to speak of it. I am being a bit facetious with my melodrama, although many have and will die venturing into the canyon. It is not a trip to enter into unprepared, but its rewards are spectacular.

I have been a member of Karl’s Extreme Things Adventure Club for a few years now. We’ve been many places and tried many things, yet this was our first collective trip into the Grand Canyon. I had only been once over a decade ago and had only spent a couple of hours at the rim. This time we would backpack down to the river, spend the night, and hike back up the following day.  The canyon is roughly a mile deep. The hike to Bright Angel Campsite at the bottom is roughly 7-8 miles. The hike back out via a different trail would be 9 miles…all uphill. The air temperature topped 100 degrees during the middle of the day. Heat exhaustion is a serious concern, especially with 40+ lbs. on your back. This was the first Extreme Things event I’ve been on where Karl felt it necessary to turn down participants he didn’t think were physically capable. Backpacking the Grand Canyon is a great—albeit arduous—trip, but it is beyond the capabilities of many.  Do not attempt it if you are inexperienced. We saw several people hiking down with little or no water. My hope is they turned around before they exceeded their personal thresholds.

I could write more about the trip and eventually I may. I will also post a GoPro video eventually. For the time being, enjoy some of the photos. If you want to see even more, check out my Facebook album.

Continue reading

More Summer Round-up

Black Canyon — August 2010 from Fourchinnigan on Vimeo.

Narrows Days — July 2010 from Fourchinnigan on Vimeo.

More GoPro videos from this summer. The Narrows video is a bit too long, but maybe you’ll enjoy it anyway. These were both Extreme Things Adventure Club events. 

Textual Drive-by

Catalina Diving

My ability to maintain this journal always seems to wane in the summer. A lot has happened since my last post. I quit my job and fled to Canada for two-and-a-half weeks. The first week was spent sight-seeing with Erika. Along with my friend Steven, we completed the West Coast Trail over six days of backpacking. Then I took the Amtrak train down the coast back to Los Angeles. There is plenty to share about the trip and I intend to do so over two entries in the near future.

Returning to California submerged me in the world of self-employment. I thankfully had two paying projects awaiting me. Those were completed early this month. Since then, I have finally been working on The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell. I am hoping to post a completed excerpt from that very soon. I have also been working on editing fresh demo reels and building a web identity for a venture I intend to launch with a group of friends next month.

It hasn’t been all work. I finally learned to surf. I’m no master, but I can get on the board and ride it a ways (sometimes). I’ve been sticking to my plan to rock climb as much as possible (I’ll be getting up in a few hours to do that). Erika and I hiked the Zion Narrows again, this time with Karl and Extreme Things. We also got back in the ocean and did some more SCUBA diving (the first time since our certification last August). I’ve been shooting GoPro footage all over the place and am hoping to edit a few more short videos (if you don’t know what I am talking about, check out my sledding video).

New posts with better content on the way (hopefully soon).

Waterfall in the Zion Narrows