As a child on a family vacation I remember vividly sitting on a flat rock near the shore of Bear Lake in Colorado. Towering above me, dominating the skyline were the steep and jagged cliffs of Hallet Peak. I stared totally mesmerized as I soaked my feet wondering what it must feel like to stand on its summit. 25 years later I knew that feeling first hand when my love affair with the mountains and climbing began.
I’ve been fortunate to summit many iconic peaks: The Matterhorn (14,692’), Mont Rainier (14,411’), Grand Teton (13,770’), Cathedral Peak (10,911’) in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows, Canada’s Mount Sir Donald and Bugaboo Spire, and Mont Blanc (15,782’) the highest mountain in the Alps. I’ve climbed in the deserts of Zion National Park and Red Rocks Canyon, the snowy volcanoes and steep ridges of Washington’s remote North Cascades, 11 of Colorado’s famous 14ers, and the icy glaciers and snowy pinnacles of the Alps.
My love of mixed climbing has led me to the Alps 5 times, climbing classic routes like the Rochefort Ridge (13,126’), Aiguille d’Argentiere (12,802’), Aiguille du Chardonnet (12,540’), and the Cosmiques Arête of Aiguille du Midi (12,605’). I’m an Alpine climber who’s comfortable on rock, snow and ice, and most at home on an exposed airy ridge. I’m a moderate rock climber (meaning I can climb most anything up to 5.9) and have no trouble immediately falling from any grade above 5.10 with incredible consistency. I have enjoyed the occasional unplanned bivouac high on the mountain, know what lightning “feels” like, glissade with uncanny skill and speed, and once had a marmot eat most of my gear. But it is the remoteness of the landscape, great friendships, sense of accomplishment, solitude, grandeur, and beauty that brings me back each time.
“May Your trails be crooked, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire