Date of Birth:
September 10, 1971
Southern California Native: past decade in Bishop, California
What is your primary means of adventure, AKA what gets you most psyched?
Going into the mountains with friends is my primary means of adventure. Spending time in the alpine gets me Psyched! Being able to do both at the same time is the ultimate for sure. And of course standing on top of summits and screaming “CUMBRE!!!!” is always nice too.
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?
My Ultimate Adventure would have to be arriving in Southern Patagonia in September, during the winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Where we would enjoy the the cold windless conditions in the mountains. We’d pack the gear and make our way for a day of hiking over Paso Viento and setting out across the Patagonian ice cap for a remote mountain called Cerro Murallon. It would be fun to harness a little bit of the Patagonian winds with small kites to push us out there and eventually pull us back to town. I would like to explore the splitters that are waiting to be discovered in this remote zone of Southern Patagonia.
Describe 5 climbs, trips, or moments that have defined you as a mountain athlete:
As a California native and someone who generally likes splitter granite and sunshine, it’s a stretch to call myself an Alpinist. Looking back on the path that led me to becoming an lover of mountain sports, it’s easy to see that I was inspired by all the wonderful folks that took the time to tie in with me.
- North Pillar on Fitz Roy – My friend the infamous “Troutman” and I climbed the Mate y Porro route on the North Pillar of Fitz Roy at the end of our rookie season in El Chalten, going alpine style over 4 days and 3 bivies. We climbed up and over Fitz and rappelled the Franco-Argentine. Our plan was to ditch the sleeping kits and hug it out at night. It was awesome, we shivered on tiny ledges late at night and simply didn’t stop for too long.
- “Manos y mas Manos” was a new route deep in the Torre Valley and is a 7 summit traverse that I did with Mikey Schaefer, including Aguja CAT, Quatros Dedos Norte, The Quatros Dedos, Atchachilla and Pachamama. We spent 4 days and 3 nights working our way across the Dragons tail of the Torre Traverse. The route name is a play on words due to all the hand jams we did during the trip.
- Ragni on Cerro Torre was an all-time climb for me due to the epic approach and eventual escape from the Cirque de las Altars. Nearing the end of a two month season in El Chalten, with a good weather window, we packed for 6 days in the mountains, our sights set on climbing the Ragni up Cerro Torre’s west face. Arriving at the Col de Esperanza with the setting sun we bivied briefly to eat and try and catch some sleep. It was difficult to even see where we were going up there, let alone where the route would eventually take us. Topping out the Elmo was cool and the lower headwall I will never forget, but the last pitch is one of the most powerful locations on the planet!!!
- Tradewinds on the Incredible Hulk, Sierra Nevada is my favorite route up in Little Slide Canyon. The climbing is never death defying but keeps you on point most of the day. The Sea Serpent pitch is awesome!!!
- Tempest on El Capitan, climbed over 8 days toiling up the super clean southeast face happens to be another epic place to call home for a week. Lots of beaks and hooks characterize this fine route. With standout pitches named after the legendary big wall masters, it kept our focus and tenacity at the forefront of daily existence. El Cap is where it’s at if granite is your thing.
Granite motivates me the most. Having cut my teeth in Yosemite, wanting to climb big walls here in the valley really inspired me to develop my skills to first off top out El Cap, but also be well rounded enough to take my game to the greater ranges. Spending a bunch of seasons living in El Chalten below Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre gets me really fired up! Alpine climbing down there is great, but having time to hang with friends from all over the world is a special part of being in Southern Argentina that never gets old. I have eaten way too many Calafate berries!!!
Describe your most memorable night in the mountains:
I could see his headlamp clearly. He had been attempting to pendulum back and forth 60 meters below me, trying to get back on route. As the sun was setting behind the Torres, Troutman and I sat on the summit of Fitz Roy having pulled off the North Pillar. We were excited to be on top along with some folks who had just topped out the Afanasieff route and I felt kind of gripped. It was going too easy. Our plan was to rappel the Franco-Argentine route, which is a standard descent from the mountain. At the mandatory traverse after a 200 foot cliff, we needed to, well, to traverse. The topo Rolo Garibotti had drawn us was in bad shape. After 3 days on the run, battling the North Pillar had rendered the precious information unreadable. My partner Troutman took over the raps as darkness fell and the headlamps turned on. Now trout was strung out at the end of the line desperately fighting for the next anchor, not realizing he was dangling above a massive wall where no routes existed. Unable to make the pendulum, he prusiked back up to our line to the “White Spider” anchor… completely spent. By this point we were not afraid of snuggling and hugging it out. The past 3 days and nights were spent without the comforts of sleeping bags and with little food. Trout only had one question. “What are we going to do now?” Feeling my stomach in my boots, I prepped for battle.
I can remember that night all too clear. We were wasted after a long rookie season in El Chalten. We gambled to go super light and it worked for the most part. But being strung out and tired is not something that the mountains are too concerned with. Fighting to get off of Fitz that night in many ways the graduation ceremony to my prior 15 years of climbing and a turning point in the direction that I would steer my climbing career. Going up is the easy part. It’s the fighting to be back to family, friends and eventually home that is the CRUX.
What has scared or intimidated you as a mountain athlete?
Rock Fall and Flying.
Falling objects are difficult to control. The chances of getting hit by something from above in the mountains is simply part of the game of Alpinism. Sure we can choose when and where the belay might be or if we think the route we want to climb is in condition, but at some point we commit to the uncertainty that comes from getting on a big route in the mountains.
And Flying. It sure looks like fun. But the longer I manage to stick around here on earth the more I feel the pain of losing close friends to the “Dark Arts” like BASE and wingsuit sports. I understand clearly that the experience must be out of this world.
Losing friends in the mountains sucks!
What would your adventure partners be most surprised to learn about you from before the time when they met you?When I meet folks in and around the Climbing scene, the thing that seems to get the most play is that for most of my 30’s I was a Sportfishing Captain for a wealthy real estate developer, who like to catch really large billfish and kill bluefin tuna. It is a great way to spend time telling “Big Fish” stories during shiver bivies.
What are your top 5 all-time favorite pieces of CAMP equipment?
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.
I started out with oval carabiners on my rack. It’s what Warren Harding used, so thats what I would use. These days, I need a rack that is as light as possible without loosing any quality or performance. CAMP offers the best alpine climbing gear on the market. Period. It’s such a privilege and an honor for me to be working with CAMP and the entire team!
Things I want to climb!
- Festerville, Cerro Standhardt, Argentine Patagonia
- Open a new route in Zan Skar region of India. Disclosed Location “to be announced”
- Midnight Lightning, the iconic Camp4 V8 in Yosemite, CA
- Titanic on Torre Egger, Argentine Patagonia
The adventure, route or race I had to train the hardest for was:
Tempest, A4+ El Capitan
The adventure, route or race that wrecked me the most was:
The Ragni on Cerro Torre’s west face worked me over pretty good. We walked from the Rio Electrico trailhead to Paso Marconi out across the ice cap and into the Cirque de las Altars. From there it was up onto the west face of Cerro Torre to the Col de Esparanza, where we bivied before tackling the best ice route of all time. We sent. We rapped. I blew my knee out at the base of the Filo de Rossa and walked back to town totally destroyed.
I most want an all-expenses-paid trip to:
India and Pakistan. Both.
My short list of climbing or adventure goals this year:
1. Return to a project deep in the Torre Valley and free it
2. Atlantis on El Capitan
3. Climb splitters in Yosemite