Date of Birth:
December 29, 1978
Originally: Arlington, WA
Currently: Boulder, CO
What is your primary means of adventure, AKA what gets you most psyched?
New route climbing whether it be rock, ice, alpine, or mixed in the most remote places possible.
Invent your dream adventure by combining five places, disciplines, pitches, peaks, environments, etc. and stacking them together into a combination. Why did you pick each part?
Oh man I have thought about this soooo much! My dream adventure would be to travel to a super remote mountain range where there was an unclimbed summit with a virgin big wall and several thousand feet of difficult mixed and ice climbing. The dream would be to free climb over many days up the big wall, then to mixed climb to the summit. One of the aspects I have seen that could be possible to do this on would be the unclimbed summit of K7 Middle in Pakistan.
Describe 5 climbs, trips, or moments that have defined you as a mountain athlete:
My favorite climbing experiences to date: It is tough because there are so many and they each are valuable in their own right with respect to the climbs themselves, the location and the partners I did them with. In no real order:
- The Slovak Direct: South Face of Denali 2010 with Mark Westman, 5th overall ascent and likely Alaska’s most sustained alpine climb. This route was a real landmark for me. It was a route I had always dreamt of and thought out of my grasp. I cried just before the summit when I heard the voices of other climbers as I was certain we had made it and that we were going to live. It was a feeling that I may never have again.
- Freerider in a Day: In 2012 I had free climbed El Cap via the Freerider but I had to redpoint many pitches and it took 4 days. I wasn’t satisfied with just a “free ascent” of the route. Something was missing in it for me and I wanted to do it in better style. I came back in the fall fit as a fiddle and took the route down in 14 hours leading every pitch with a single fall. That moment will always stick out in my head as one of the best days of my life.
- The Shadow: Growing up near Squamish I had always looked up at one of the most inspiring dihedrals I had ever laid my eyes on high on the Chief. I had learned to climb in Squamish so it always seemed so far out there and I never thought I would have the ability to climb something as difficult as the Shadow. Many years and thousands upon thousands of climbs later, I found myself stemming the holdless corner to the top for my first 5.13! It was an unreal feeling and I have vowed to never climb on the Shadow again as to not ruin that experience I had and my memories of it feeling so effortless.
- The Dru Couloir Direct: High above Chamonix on the North Face of the Dru was a route I had always heard of called the Dru Couloir Direct. It was a variation to a commonly attempted alpine route in a very popular area but the Direct had seen few ascents and only one that I am sure was a free mixed ascent. With Maury Birdwell and John Griffith, I lead all of the technical pitches without falls up the super steep mixed rock and ice face. It was one of the most sustained alpine objectives I had ever climbed on including the South face of Denali.
- Armageddon: Last year in 2016 Maury Birdwell and I made the first free ascent of the Armageddon on the West Face of the North Howser Tower in the Bugaboos. It had previously been mostly free climbed, but there was a pitch that allegedly had very hard somewhere in the middle. Maury and I combined our 45 years of climbing experience and put the route together over 2 days. It was outrageous taking falls on this corner so far in the backcountry and figuring out the sequences to piece a 30 foot section of climbing together.
Describe your most memorable night in the mountains:
I would say that my most memorable “night” in the mountains, was a bivy Mark Westman and I had on the Slovak Direct. I put night in quotes because there is no night in Alaska in June. It was unbelievable to finally feel free from the technical climbing of the Slovak and only 3000 feet from the summit of Denal via the Cassin Ridge. When we reached our bivy, we took our time, knowing all we needed was a bunch of rest and hydration to complete our ascent. I think we rested for almost 12 hours where we laughed at how swollen our bodies where and at the stupid mistakes we were making in our complete tiredness. I will never forget melting 3 liters of water only to let them freeze that evening as we forgot to put them in our sleeping bags.
What has scared or intimidated you as a mountain athlete?
Avalanches. PERIOD. I have been in avalanche hazard many many times and frankly I feel like I have gotten lucky. I have lost so many friends to them, and I feel like they are something I want to deal with less and less as I get older. The routes I chose in the mountains now, I want to know that I could survive them 10 out of 10 times if I were to do them over and over. I can’t say that was the case 6 years ago.
What would your adventure partners be most surprised to learn about you from before the time when they met you?
I think that my adventure partners know me pretty well by the time we actually get out to doing adventurous things. I tend not to run the “blind date” program anymore. I think that going on a trip with a close friend is more important than the objective that you are trying to accomplish. I used to pick partners based on like abilities and not on comradery and I think that is losing sight of why I want to be in the mountains at all.
What are your top 5 all-time favorite pieces of CAMP equipment?
- Nano 22 Express Quickdraw
- X-Dream Ice Tool
- Blade Runner Crampons
- Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe
- Photon Express Quickdraws
Why are you a CAMP athlete?
I think that what CAMP makes for climbers is the best in the world. The biners, the ice tools, the specific attention to weight and performance is simply incredible. I am honored to be able to represent such an awesome brand and so excited to climbing with CAMP’s amazing gear.
Things I want to climb!
- The Muir Wall, El Cap
- A first ascent of a super technical 7000 meter route in the Himalaya
- A free winter mixed ascent of the Grand Jorasses in Chamonix France
- I want to climb a V8… Im a terrible boulderer!
The adventure, route or race I had to train the hardest for was:
Freerider in a day.
The adventure, route or race that wrecked me the most was:
The Slovak Direct, South Face of Denali. Physically and emotionally, I was 100% drained. It took me months to recover physically and probably a full year emotionally.
My short list of climbing or adventure goals this year:
- Return to the Bugaboos and make a free ascent of Sendero Norte on Snowpatch Spire
- Freeclimb El Capitan
- Climb harder routes in the North Cascades