We all have limited time and energy. As much as I'd love to constantly be training and preparing with 100% focus on a goal, it's just not realistic. There's just too much to do. So I do the best I can and, usually, I'm going to pick the fun option if faced with a choice between laser-focused efficiency and good enough to get it done. Because life is short. Most things are simply not that big of a deal. I try not to take anything too seriously that it stops being fun. Maybe that's the lesson here?
Transitions take time. Change does not happen in an instant. Often the process is slow, at times painful and confusing. Other times it can be exciting and refreshing. The only sure thing is that it happens. Sometimes we don't even notice. I don’t think I did. Yet now I realize it and in hindsight it seems so clear.
It starts with the actions we take each and every day. The biggest threat facing the environment is neither a president nor an oil company. It is us. Each and every one of us. And we all have a choice about how big of a step we want to take in the right direction.
Our culture does a good job at pushing us over the boundary between healthy ambition and overworking ourselves. We are chronically stressed out, anxious, and afraid to fail. It doesn’t matter if you work in a high rise office building or the mountains. None of us are immune to it. We all have to consciously work to find the balance between achieving our biggest dreams and just letting the universe unfold itself the way that it intends to.
Most days come with at least one moment when I think to myself, "I'm too old for this shit." Or, "I'm so over this shit." Usually those feelings fade away, sometimes it takes an hour and sometimes a few days. I find myself constantly asking questions. Why am I doing this? How long can I do this? How could I do this better?
Places like Boulder, CO aspire to reach this level of hippy-dippy-organic-local-GMO-free-range greatness. While the intent is there, there just isn’t a place that has the quality and volume of small, local farmers to make it happen. Except Vermont.
The only sure thing is that all waves eventually reach the shore. Change comes to everything and everyone. When the wave begins to break, figure out where you want to end up, brace for impact, and swim like hell to get there.
For the first time, I learned what it meant to free myself from the burden of always seeking something more. What I know now is that those dreams aren't so easy to shake off. No matter how hard you try, they continue brewing, silently buried underneath all of your best reasons to ignore them.
I have embraced the fact that as a guide, my job is not to send the pitch. My job is to safely get the rope, and my followers, to the top. That opens up a whole range of privilege when it comes to pulling, hanging, and stepping on gear. Once you get a taste of that privilege, it is not easy to turn it away. So as soon as the climbing starts to feel hard enough that I don’t have 100% certainty I will stick the moves, the symptoms and side effects of COGS quickly go on display.
A plan is only as good as the information it is based on. A decade of climbing mountains will no doubt leave you with valuable experiences. However, if you have never taken the time to really debrief your outings, to learn from close calls or unclear decisions, the worth of those experiences will be greatly diminished. Still valuable, but no where near as informative as they could be.
One thing I have been noticing lately is a surprising amount of poor technique when it comes to traveling uphill on a splitboard or AT skis. There are two points I want to address, and if you are looking to refine your uphill technique, either one of these concepts should be something for you to focus on.
Marc and Rob's book not only presents the techniques you need to fill up your own toolbox, but teaches how to use them most effectively. By learning and practicing the material in the book, you will find yourself adding new tools, ditching outdated ones, and becoming an overall faster, safer, and more elegant climber. Rob guarantees it ;).