Hometown: Missoula, Montana
What is your primary means of adventure, AKA what gets you most psyched?
Climbing on rock and ice, and human flight of various types, have been main features in my life for more than 25 years. These days it’s all about using a complete skill set to explore new and technical mixed routes in the greater ranges. The idea of combining human flight (wingsuit BASE or Paragliding) with a first ascent on an interesting and elegant mixed line in the Himalaya is what I dream about!
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?
I’d travel to northern India, drive into the Himachal Pradesh or Kashmire, pack everything I need but, nothing else and with one partner, climb into the high mountains to launch our paragliders. I’d fly cross country, top landing on ridges and peaks to sleep and wait until the thermals started cracking off the next day. Each day, I’d re-launch and try to make continued, self supported progress into western Nepal while looking for inspiring lines on remote peaks. I’d try to pick an elegant looking mixed line from the air, and land at its base, climb it in single push, alpine style and after descending and some rest, hike to a suitable launch and fly my way back out of the mountains. For me, it’s about the exploration and answering questions in the “here and now”. Style is far more important than summits!!
Describe 3 climbs, trips, or moments that have defined you as a mountain athlete:
First ascent of Black Wolves and Blue Poppies – (1,300m, M5+ WI4+ AI6) China, Daxue Shan, Minya Konka Range. In 2011, Chris Gibisch and I were fortunate to climb a beautiful line on the NW face of Mt Grosvenor (6376m), in what should be eastern Tibet. We climbed the route in a single push with 2 open, sitting bivis on the face, topping out on the morning of our 3rd day. There was a couple of pitches on that route that couldn’t be protected and demanded a type of focus and consequence that I’ve rarely found in my climbing related life. The climbing was hard, the route contained many unknowns and uncertainties and the descent was nothing less than epic, during a fierce storm and down a face that neither my partner nor I had ever seen. Walking back into camp on the 5th day was one of the proudest moments of my climbing related life. Having gotten a lot of beta about the area from my friend, Kyle Dempster who is now gone, makes this route and those memories even more special.
First ascent of Pneuma – South face of Brammah II (6486m) Kashmir Himalaya, India. In 2016, Chris Gibisch and I teamed up again and traveled to Kishtwar National Park to search for a peak that we couldn’t find a single photo of. To approach Brammah II, we had to explore the notorious Kiaji Nala and find our way between giants to even find the base of the mountain we’d traveled to the other side of the world to attempt. In the end, we climbed a beautiful mixed line and the exploration and experience was exactly what I had dreamed about as a kid, hoping to someday see the exotic places in the classic mountaineering novels which drew me to the big mountains in the first place.
Even though this last example is more flying than technical climbing, racing in the X-Pyr has definitely helped to define what interests me most in the mountains. The X-Pyr is a race from the Atlantic coast of Spain to the Mediterranean, across the entirety of the Pyrenees where the only rule is that I could only make forward progress via foot or paraglider. Spending 7 days running, climbing and flying over the Pyrenees and covering that much distance provided memories that I couldn’t make up!
Describe your most memorable night in the mountains:
Either an open bivi during the descent on Brammah II when Chris and I watched a massive lightning show all night after having topped out or, my first full moon BASE jump off El Capitan ;-)
What has scared or intimidated you as a mountain athlete?
Everything! That’s why I love it so much. There’s so much to learn, experience and growth is inevitable.
What would your adventure partners be most surprised to learn about you from before the time when they met you?
That I had dreadlocks to the middle of my back in my 20’s. Maybe that wouldn’t surprise them but, it would definitely make them laugh.
What are your all-time favorite pieces of CAMP equipment?
- X-Dream Ice Tools
- Storm Helmet
- Flash Harness
- Blade Runner Crampons
- Sky Carbon Poles and all the lightweight hardware!! Only 5 makes it hard!
Why are you a CAMP athlete?
Two things are most important for me when it comes to working with a brand. One, is that the gear is the gear I’d choose, no matter what, based on quality and functionality. And the second is the people. At CAMP, the team is like a family and there is a mutually supportive atmosphere that’s surrounded by our shared love for climbing in the mountains. Passion, inspiration… these things are fed by who you choose to tie in with and with the CAMP crew, it’s easy to get psyched and to be proud of being part of a family and a company that so obviously cares deeply about having the best tools for the passion!
Things I want to climb!
The Wild Thing
New lines that I’ve been researching…….it’s a secret ;-)
The route I had to train the hardest for was:
Probably, the first ascents of the Arborist or, Relativity. Both are somewhere around 8b-8b+
The route that wrecked me the most was:
Brammah II. I didn’t eat or drink enough and we had really hot conditions. It was probably the first time I truly bonked in the big mountains but had to keep going.
I most want an all-expenses-paid trip to:
My short list of climbing or adventure goals this year:
- Climb The Wild Thing on Chephren in the Canadian Rockies
- Climb the Golden Gate on El Cap (and then jump it)
- Get back to the Himalaya for a climb/fly adventure
- Never forget how lucky I am!