Thursday, December 22, 2011


Too much climbing, not enough writing! Finally, I'm able to chill out for a minute and give you all an update. 

I have less than two weeks left in the United States of America! Stress continually began to build pressure against my withering bank account. I wasn't even sure how the hell I was going to pay to go down to Patagonia. A week ago I got a call notifying me that I received the Mountain Fellowship Grant from The American Alpine Club. I hung up the phone and immediately began packing to spend the next 5 days ice climbing in Ouray, CO. 

With additional help from Liberty Mountain, Clif Bar, and other extremely generous prodeals, I'm nearly entirely equipped for my journey down south. 

My head is cluttered with hundreds of questions about logistics. I'm extremely nervous, but I know I need to let things flow. It's hard to let my insecurities drain out.. I'm working on it. 

Looking up at the glorious Diamond

Kurt Ross and I had an unsuccessful ascent on Alexander's Chimney last month due to the lack of ice on the last pitch. Scott Bennett, one of my climbing partners for Patagonia, was eager to get out and climb some ice with me.
"It's been a month since I was on Alexander's Chimney, there definitely has to be more ice on it now," I said. I have the knowledge easily comparable 10 year old gym climber when it comes to ice and how it forms. It turns out that ice can essentially disappear due to sublimation and wind. At least half the ice on my previous attempt had 'dissappeared'.
A poorly protected 60 meter traverse brought us to Broadway, where we then climbed Keiner's Route to summit Longs Peak. I was damn tired up at 14,000 feet.

Here is an assortment of photos on Long's Peak, Boulder Canyon, Ouray, and Castlewood Canyon.


Becca Skinner photo

Some new footage is in the making. I'll have a video uploaded before my departure on January 4th. I plan to bring all of my camera and computer gear with me so I'll be able to upload videos while I'm on my trip. My goal is to put out one video every week or so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Change of Seasons

El Alpinismo

Ear plugs provided the solace I needed to drown out the chaos coming from my drunken roommates. I managed to sleep an hour and a half before Kurt Ross and I sped off to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some ice and mixed climbing.

Feeling slightly awkward being covered in spikes, it wasn't long before my ice tools felt like an extension of my upper appendages. Kurt and I weren't breaking any speed records, and enjoyed a beautiful day getting back in ice climbing shape with Long's Peak all to ourselves.

After a near send, we made a 5 mile slog back to the car, and drove back to Boulder. I spread out all of my wet gear on the hallway floor, and was missing something essential. I aggressively searched my car, and made a frantic call to Kurt to see if he had my camera. It was gone..

'I might have left it on the roof of my car,' I thought.. 'I can't afford to buy a new one, I have to go find it..' I quickly made a ham and cheese sandwich and started driving towards the unrealistic idea that I actually might find my camera (remember, still running on 1.5 hours of sleep).

I instantly slammed on the brakes at the sight of 4 elk running into the middle of the road. It was already too late. The words "ELK, CAR, DEATH" registered in my brain in the two seconds before I slammed into the full grown beast. The elk rolled off my car and continued to run away. I managed to calm down, and collect myself. "Ok," I thought, "my car somehow didn't get too messed up, I still have to find my camera".

Driving 10 miles under the speed limit, carefully looking through my newly customized windshield (which now features elk hair embedded in the glass), I saw something out of the corner of my eye. In complete disbelief, there my camera was, undamaged, 8 miles from the longs peak trailhead in the middle of the road. "WTF is happening !!!" I said out loud.

So... watch out friends, unexpected things happen in this world!!

Cowboys and Indian Creek

Photographer Ryan Thompson and I headed out for yet another great session to shred the Indian Creek gnar. I never get to shoot with photographers, so this was a great experience to learn from him. 

Ryan taking photos of Lisa on Comic Relief. 

Hiking towards Broken Tooth wall.

Clayton and Lisa on an unnamed route.

Ryan, in his respective element.

Lisa being WAY stronger than me.

Brad and Clayton watching Bronson send. 

The Incisor.

Glorious and well earned food. 

I didn't touch this image in photoshop.. it was already incredibly beautiful.

What Makes Me Human

Tears poured down my face and into my hands. I sat with my parents as I exploded with anxiety, doubt, and sadness. I felt like I would never escape a seemingly endless mental torture.
There I was, 19 years old, spiraling out of control. I had only one thing that I could barely hold on to.. climbing.

"I don't think you are healthy enough.. I have never wanted more than right now for you to not go," said my Dad.
Out of complete frustration, "This is the only fucking thing that will give me a break. Yes, maybe I am doing the wrong thing by escaping everything right now, but I need this.. I really need this."
"Whatever you decide, you have our blessing," my Mom said.

I battled back and forth in my head of weather or not to go.. 5am the next morning I was driving to attempt a winter ascent of El Capitan.
It was truly deeper than just the physical act of climbing, something inside of me knew that I would slowly start to heal myself through this experience in Yosemite Valley. I stare in the face of the anxieties and difficulties of climbing, and have the ability to overcome them. My mind is quieted, and I can see everything in my world clearly. It is this that helps me in life.

This trip was not only one of the most difficult objectives that I have ever tried to attempt, but it marked the beginning of my recovery from real anxiety and real depression. In the midst of the mental hell that I was trapped in, I finally reached out and grabbed something I could control. I was in way over my head, not experienced enough for the climb, and the logistical odds for a winter ascent were not in our favor.

I was failing out of my engineering classes. I was failing out of a relationship. I was failing at being able to live, and I stopped climbing. I was almost completely paralyzed by my emotions.

After 5 days spent on the overhanging right side of El Capitan, two incredible friends and I stood on top of an enormous and meaningless piece of immaculate granite. For me, it was about trying to do something that was personally incredibly difficult, and having the guts to succeed.

The small amount of control that I was able to gain from the experience on El Capitan acted as a catalyst on my slow journey to mental recovery.

So, this is me being a real human, with real problems, just like everyone else. I'm trying damn hard to figure out "life".

It's been almost a year since I climbed the A4 route, Zenyatta Mondatta. I still struggle with anxiety and depression daily. The more I learn about myself, the more I learn how to get better at living. Climbing persistently helps align the truth in my life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Naked Rehab

My friend Colin Simon just back from a 2 month trip from Europe, I'm 3 months out of shape, were both psyched. Climbing rehabilitation in Eldorado Canyon. I followed the first two pitches of this route a few years ago when I first started climbing, but didn't finish the route.

I started us off by leading the first pitch of T2, a 5.8d R pitch, into The Naked Edge. The fall temps numbed my hands, and I was officially pumped. "Wow, this feel great."  

Colin and I swapped leads, and I managed to send all but the last pitch. My forearm muscles screamed as I tryed to get out a stuck cam out. I yelled in frustration because I blew it.
Wow, it feels great to climb again. I am so lucky to live this life.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm headed to the American Alpine Club library to work on applying for the mountain fellowship grant. Rad!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian Creek Photoblog

I'm gripped for time, EMT school, training for patagonia, work, and trying to fit in photo/video is rough to say the least. I'm very excited to share my latest video with you. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


A dormant and seemingly lifeless psyche has been looming over me for the last month. The bland, colorless routine and increasing daily dose of anxiety nearly left me paralyzed. I couldn't climb, I couldn't study, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think. "I'm such a fuck up." 

Waves of insecurity and doubt filled my head with an ocean of noise.

Something has to drastically change. I've got to get out of here. In my life, I do everything I possibly can to make a dream come true. It sounds clichet, but I dare you to try it.

Something shifted. I feel like I've synchronized my body and mind. A revitalized sense of determination has given me the motivation and energy to save myself from drowning.

January 4th I fly into Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is where I will take a 1,800 mile bus ride to my first destination, El Chalten. The small mountain village in Patagonia is where I'll spend my first month in South America. This is me, learning to live.

Solo in the flatirons.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 21st

I love being able to capture quick snapshots in my life. It's very difficult when I feel as if there is nothing to say...

In the making...

The drawing in the short video test was an attempt to sketch the Fitzroy Range in Patagonia.

As a white kid born into suburbia, I've never been out of  the United States. A late night conversation with my roommate Brando revolved around the monumental fact that "we need to start taking out lives more seriously..."

I will be traveling, climbing, and filming in Argentina and Chile for the first 3-4 months of 2012.

Greg Mionske photo

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Last weekend I went to visit my friend up in Wyoming so she could teach me a few things about taking photos. She's crazy tallented, her website and blog are absolutely worth checking out. It's crazy to me how her friends could make a total stranger feel so welcome.

Becca Skinner photo

 Becca Skinner photo

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CU Alpine - Fall '11 Video

Time lapse via gorillapod.

A big thanks to all of my friends who were equally as psyched to climb as I was to film them. I'm very thankful to be involved in an awesome, young climbing community.

This is the fist video I ever made, climbing El Capitan last March with Colin Simon.

Watching this video makes me a bit sick to my stomach. It reminds me of how terribly nervous I was before we committed to the 4 day, 3000 foot adventure.

It's absolutely crazy how much has happened in my life since then, good and bad.

Hand drawn arts and crafts for new vibes: