Utah and Colorado

2/4/2024 - 3/6/2024

Salt Lake City

2/4/2024 - 2/14/2024

I spent about a week in Salt Lake City waiting for the part for Wells to come in so I could finally move the spare tire from it's cushy spot buckled into my passenger seat and back to where it belongs under the garage. James and his uncle, Jeb, proved to be excellent hosts! James was working while I was there, but I had plenty of school work to do and when I didn't have school there were ample adventures to be had right at their doorstep!
James took me skiing with some of his spare gear and I got to ski powder, moguls, and slopes outside of North Carolina for the first time!! It was pretty incredible and I could definitely see myself getting more into it one day, but as of now it's just far too expensive to add to my already lengthy list of hobbies. For the day, though, it was absolutely fantastic! James even took me on some futuristic (for me) runs that I flailed down, but I could feel my skiing improve drastically throughout just the one day. That night I pulled a classic Andre move and got buffalo pizza expecting something like barbecue pizza and was shook when it turned out spicy. Even so, I ate all that I ordered and I expect it would have been quite tasty to someone who enjoys spicy food!
A few days later I had a day free after class, so I decided to take a crack at hiking Mount Olympus in the winter. It started out clear with no snow, but as I gained elevation the snow quickly got deeper and deeper. Before long I donned my microspikes and, not long after, became very thankful for one or two strangers ahead of me who were breaking trail through the snow. Maybe half way up, though, they passed me going the other way having run out of time for their hike! I was soon at the end of their tracks and breaking trail on my own.
Soon I was postholing through hella deep snow, sinking in up to my thighs and using my one trekking pole like Gandalf on Caradhras. I was really wishing I'd thought to bring my gaiters! For the most part it was fine, but every now and then I'd get snow packed up the bottom of my pant legs and have to stop to shake it out.
Anyhow, as I got close to the saddle that marks the end of the slog and the beginning of the steeper crux section, a dude caught up to me wearing shorts and trail runners!! We chatted briefly, he thanked me for breaking trail and said he was impressed it took him this long to catch up to me, then offered to break trail himself. Break trail he did, even up the steepest part of the hike where we were more swimming uphill through the snow than we were hiking! I couldn't believe he was doing all this in shorts, trail runners, and no ice axe or trekking pole at all, but he was a local and had done a lot of impressive mountaineering objectives so I guess he knew what he was about.
Soon we reached the summit where visibility was even worse than it had been earlier, I could barely see 20 feet in any direction! My summit picture of my new homie is just him fading into the mist in the distance. We didn't hang around long before we turned back and started down the mountain, tumbling down the steep, snowy slopes, using the soft snow to cushion our falls as we carefully threw ourselves down the hill. When we reached saddle I was getting pretty snacky and stopped to chow down on my sandwich and my new homie bid me farewell before literally jogging away down the mountain.
What a madlad.
I got to do a little rock climbing while I was out there, thank god! I wasn't about to let a little thing called winter keep me from getting on rock. I got James and his High School friend, Vi, to come climb some classics in Little Cottonwood Canyon! We did Crescent Crack to The Coffin, then hiked laterally a ways so I could give Bongeater a try. Crescent Crack was a lot more challenging than I'd been expecting, mostly at the crux chimney/offwidth, but I was proud of getting the onsight! The Coffin was a battle here and there, but reaffirmed my love of finger cracks. Bongeater chewed me up and spat me out. I gave the onsight a good attempt, but was gassed and well runout towards the top, so I downclimbed a few moves and committed to the whip. On my next attempt I had enough in the tank to place a higher piece of gear and took another rest on it. Eventually I figured out the moves at the top and made it out! I'd love to return to try for the send one day, I just hope I remember how I did it.
The last adventure I had in SLC was an evening jaunt to a hot springs! James had heard of a place not far away so him, his friend and I headed over there one evening after James got off work. We packed headlamps, ramen, and stoves to whip up some hot springs dinner in the dark, which settled upon us about an hour into the hike. We hiked about 5 miles to the hot springs, stripped down and jumped into the perfectly hot springs. After the long, chilly hike, the water was ambrosial despite the sulfur smell. Chowing down on a pack and a half of ramen each was JUST what the night called for and we were content milling about in the hot springs on that starless night, with only the glow from a be-headlamped nalgene to light the pool.
Finally, though, the part for Wells was delivered; and just when I was starting to get itchy feet, too! I spent a few hours swapping out the rusted winch for the new one (and only broke four relatively inconsequential bolts), then that evening I was bound for Moab!

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2/15/2024 - 2/18/2024

I had a most interesting experience getting into Moab. I left SLC late, so the sun set as I was driving through the mountains bound for Southeast Utah. I drove for several hours in the dark, then settled in at a small town maybe 45 minutes out of Moab. When I awoke, it was to red sand and mesas in the distance! Quite a difference from the snow-swept and barren, twiggy trees I'd been familiar with near Salt Lake! After taking one of my classes in Wells from a gas station parking lot, I hoofed it for Arches National Park with plans to rope solo two desert towers: Bullwinkle and Owl Rock.
I had climbed Elephant Butte with Kelly a few years ago, which used the same parking lot as Owl Rock and Bullwinkle, and the approach actually passed both towers, so I was already familiar with the area! I arrived, racked up, then headed off into the desert towards Bullwinkle, the more remote (if you could even call it that, neither are very far) tower of the two. When I arrived, I found out a somewhat disturbing reality: There was nowhere to make a ground anchor. I'll skip the technical description and leave you with this: Without a ground anchor, it's impossible to rope solo. I carefully eyed up the route, a relatively short, 60ft chimney that goes at 5.6 with the crux smack at the bottom, and considered freesoloing it. After carefully thinking about it, I decided to give it a shot and only go as far as I would feel comfortable reversing. I grabbed my rappelling gear and strapped my rope to my back to get down from the top, then set off. The crux definitely gave me some pause as it was fairly polished. I climbed up a few moves, downclimbed back to a ledge and sized it up some more, then fired through and made it into the chimney proper just fine. I scampered up the dirty chimney and reached a 'room' at the top where some big rocks were jammed in the top of the chimney, guarding the summit. I hung out in thi sheletered room and contemplated my dislike of soloing and lamented putting myself in this situation before I sacked up and climbed out of my safe, secure room and back into the chimney, putting 60 feet of air between me and the ground. I made two or three easy moves out of the chimney and onto the summit!
Once there, I took in the surroundings a bit, then immediately started rigging my rappel to get down. One quick rappel later and I was back on the ground with my gear! Don't free solo, kids, it's lame, not fun, and not worth it.
Once I had gathered my things, I went over to Owl Rock to climb that puppy! Thankfully there was a great ground anchor for me, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. The climb went great save for an abundance of mouse excrement (both liquid and solid). I suspect they winter in the crack I was ascending that runs bottom to top of the tower. A few exciting and awkward moves at the very top made for a wonderful finish, and I was soon at the anchors taking in the view!

I took a long break from writing due to some things in my personal life taking precedence in my mind that is already so lacking in bandwidth, but I'll do my best to recount the most exciting adventures from almost two months ago now!

A day or two after climbing Bullwinkle and Owl Rock, I took a stab at my first ever aid climb! I had my sights set on The Pickle, which, as far as I can tell, is pretty much a Moab meme. It's this dinky, 90ft rock standing on it's end that overlooks the visitors center of Arches NP. Sitting halfway up the hill next to the road, it's cleverly disguised among the loose, rocky slope. Plus, it rather resembles a pickle! Apparently there's a pin ladder up most of the feature which gives way to a sandy slab free climb. I even got beta on Mountain Project for gear to use for the ground anchor, so off I went! It was a blast and I definitely want to get into more aid climbing one day. It was slow and methodical and offered lots of opportunity to hang out and enjoy the experience; quite a different feeling than free climbing, where you usually have to be very careful to keep hold on the rock so as not to take a ride!
I spent some time hanging out at the top, waving at a couple cars of tourists that spied me up there, then descended back to the ground. Car to car it only took me a couple hours, which made for a great evening adventure!
I also lucked into a contra dance in Moab! I was super lucky for that opportunity, as I just happened to see a poster in the library advertising it, and I later learned they have them at most once a month, but sometimes even less often than that! It was mostly beginners, but I was stoked for any opportunity to dance and I had a blast.
I ALSO lucked into a day of cragging with some new friends! I was working on a project for one of my classes where I needed to interview some climbers, so I went to the newly minted Moab bouldering gym to try to interview some climbers and entice them with candy. Unfortunately, I only bagged two out of five interviews that I needed, and both of which were from the owners of the gym. But, in doing so, one of them invited me to climb in Indian Creek with her and her partner the next day! It was so fun to finally rope up with some experienced climbers and rip it. I'd never climbed splitter cracks quite like that before, they just ate up gear! I also got to fist jam and actually ream on it, which is a pretty rare phenomenon for me! While out there I made friends with most everyone around and even bagged the rest of the interviews I needed between climbs.
My last Moab adventure was a last minute one with someone I linked up with on FaceBook. We had planned to do some roped climbing in Fisher Towers, but as I drove there from Moab proper in the early morning, I soon drove into a small blizzard and parked at the Fisher Towers lot with the towers entirely obscured by the snow whipping through. That put climbing right out mostly because Fisher Towers are glorified hardened mud piles, but when they get wet they're just glorified mud piles, which is not super good for climbing! We ended up pivoting and we dropped a canyon nestled in the back of the towers. It took most of the day with it's chunky approach, but it was so fun to drop a technical canyon again! There were only two rappells, but it was so nice to flow through a canyon and it made me realize I have to get into that more when I live in an area with more canyons.
A day or so later I ditched Moab and made for Boulder to spend some time with my good friends Rob and Abigail, who I hadn't seen in years!

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2/19/2024 - 3/5/2024

I spent about two weeks with my friends in Boulder, and it was so incredible to get to explore the Boulder area! Our first adventure was ice climbing led by Rob! He has referred to me as his climbing sensei before, but I can now confidently say he has surpassed me in many ways! We went into Rocky Mountain NP to climb ice in this area none of us had ever been to... and we couldn't find it for the life of us. We wandered through the woods in the deep snow, trying to keep to the trail where we could, because as soon as we tried to explore off trail we were wading through waist deep snow! It was much like my adventure on Mount Olympus, but with gear on my back! Eventually we gave up on finding a specific area and decided to wander around and just look for ice that was in. Eventually, from the middle of a frozen lake, we spied some ice snaking its way up the hillside. Bingpot!
We made our way over and swam up the steep, snowy slope to the base of the ice. Rob led the long pitch, made an anchor at the top for us to top rope it, then cruised down. We took turns scampering up and it was super fun to put my ice tools to use in some ice that wasn't North Carolina roadside flows! While climbing, we saw a party of two on the lake who seemed to be in the same predicament that we were. We were able to kind of communicate, and they seemed to be deliberating on whether they wanted to come climb what we were climbing, but ultimately they scooted off on the lake, cutting up and playing on the slippery ice as they went. We were all done oddly quickly, so we hoofed it out of there and got over priced but oh so good bugers in Estes Park.
A few days later, Rob and I set our sights on climbing in Eldorado Canyon, a legendary climbing area with a lot of history. While there are lots of moderate classics there, that's all I'd been climbing for months and I was itching to try something hard! We decided to give our best on Vertigo(5.11b), which is as hard as I've ever climbed on trad and in an area entirely new to me! Luckily it was only four pitches and the first two were relatively easy. The third pitch was the physical crux, comprised of a tough, thin finger crack. However it was very uncommitting as it had no fewer than 6 fixed pieces on it! I barely had to place any gear at all and I was still able to sew it up. I totally hang dogged it, but eventually I made it to the belay ledge at the top. As I belayed Rob up the pitch, the wind started picking up. I had draped the rope across my legs and off the edge of the ledge to keep them organized, but the wind was gusting so badly that it would occasionally blow the long coils up onto the ledge and I'd have to push them back off again! Soon enough, though, Rob joined me on the ledge and we gathered ourselves to prepare for the next and final pitch... the mental crux, and the namesake of the route. It was a short traverse to an overhanging crack that pitches you backwards over hundreds of feet of exposure!! I was super nervous, but I knew I just had to take it one move at a time and I'd be alright, I knew the crack would eat up protection. I was 100% right! I made a valiant push for a clean send, but eventually I knew I was flaming out and, rather than fall into empty space and face the hastle of ascending the taught rope to get back to the rock, I called for a take and hung from the rope midway through the roof. I used this position to place another cam higher up, then did a few moves and hung again. This time I was hanging from a well-placed .2" micro cam (the lobes are about the size of a pinky nail), and as I hung from it and shook my arms out, I slowly spun around to face the valley below and the gut-wrenching exposure! It was fucking wild.
After doing my best to shake out some of the pump, I set my sights on pulling over the roof. The wind continued to blow intense gusts now and then, but that couldn't be helped; the only way down was up! I placed a cam close to the lip of the roof, then did the few moves to get my feet under me. Just as I pulled the roof and got some decent feet, my hand holds ran out and I was balanced nearly exclusively on my feet. Just as I made this move, the hardest gust yet blasted the rock and nearly blew me right off the cliff! It was so fast it could have blown a fart UP my ass. I let out an involuntary shout and my fight or flight was instantly triggered. I scampered up the relatively low-angle, progressively widening crack until I could shove my whole arm inside with good feet and leaned in the crack, panting and trying to regain control! From Robs perspective belaying me, I pulled myself out of sight around the roof, then screamed when a particularly hard gust of wind blew right at that moment. He was death gripping the rope ready to take a mega fall if I biffed it!
Eventually I made it to the belay just on the other side of the ridge and started pulling rope through. As I belayed Rob up the pitch, the wind continued to gust, occasionally blowing grit into my eyes. Soon though, he made it up and we immediately got to work gettin the hell out of there, as the wind only seemed to be picking up the pace. We joined forces with two other guys to get down quickly, allowing them to rappell on our rope on the first rappell while we took theirs to the second to pre-rig it. Rob was a legend and went first, wrangling the rope tails below him that were being whipped all about by the intense gusts! Soon though, we were finally back on terra-firma and making our way down the trail to Robs car... Definitely some type II fun!
Our next big adventure was Kiener's Route on Long's Peak, a long snow and rock climb, and a very ambitious goal. We spent the night in Wells at the trailhead with Rob's friend in his own van next-door. We got up at about 3am to get an alpine start to make the most of the sunlight. First light hit just as we were getting to the base of Long's, and I was suffering in the cold and wind. The main issue I was coping with was my numb fingers that made it hard for me to gear up with my harness, crampons, and ice axe! My stoke was low, but my friends hyped me up and we agreed to keep moving forwards and upwards with the knowledge that direct sunlight and movement would help a lot. Eventually we were making our way to the 1,000ft snow couloir that kicked off the route, but as we were doing so one of our crampons developed a crack in the plastic. While not inherently a problem in itself, it definitely raised concerns about pushing forward on a committing route like Kiener's. At the base of the couloir, we discussed our options and what would be the safest course of action. Eventually we settled on another couloir across the valley that seemed like it would take us up to a ridge that we could then descend to join the descent route we intended to take from the top of Kiener's. That turned out to be an excellent plan and we had a ton of fun on it! It's hard to say what would have happened if we pushed forward with Kiener's, but the couloir we ended up doing was a great backup. It was five or six hundred feet and went off without a hitch! Rob and I swung leads, each of which was a rope stretcher because there was really no reason not to just climb until we ran out of rope. Rob got the last short pitch to the ridge which included some exciting, dead vertical rock climbing with our ice tools and crampons! It was an impressive lead and so cool to watch him pull it off so easily! We hiked the several miles back to the vans and made it back after dark. I think car to car the entire adventure was about 16 hours. All in all a super great first foray into alpine roped climbing!
Soon enough, though, it was time for me to make tracks for Colorado Springs to hang out with my other friend, and I was on a schedule to make it to a contra dance down there!
In Colorado Springs I had my last taste of the Western US outdoors by takin gmy friend on her first ever multipitch in Garden of the Gods! I was pretty impressed by how she handled it too, as we climbed this two pitch route that ascended a ridge, causing it to be very exposed and spooky! My time there ended all too soon and the next thing I knew I was barreling East towards West Virginia to start my job as a climbing guide at Seneca Rocks.

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Seneca Rocks - West Virginia


I arrived at my destination, Seneca Rocks WV, on March 12th! I've been there since, training to be a rock climbing guide and even doing a little bit of guiding already! It's been pretty cold here and there (I was belaying on a ledge while snow blew sideways at one point during my training. Brr!), but overall it's so wonderful to be there! I've found a great new friend group here, and there's an absolute wealth of outdoors shenanigans to get up to, so it'll be impossible for me to be bored!
Stay tuned for more posts about my time in WV!


See friends in Utah and Colorado, get cold running about outside, and have some wild adventures out West!



I have some snowy and icy adventures, some roped, some not, I climb some cool rocks in the desert, and I climb some cool rocks in Colorado!

Get Updates on More Adventures!

A song I jammed out to while writing

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A Little Something

I'm currently reading A Wile Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami and I wanted to include this excerpt:

"We can, if we so choose, wander aimlessly over the continent of the arbitrary. Rootless as some winged seed blown about on a serendipitous spring breeze.
Nonetheless, we can in the same breath deny that there is any such thing as coincidence. What's done is done, what's yet to be is clearly yet to be, and so on. In other words, sandwiched as we are between the 'everything' that is behind us and the 'zero' beyond us, ours is an ephemeral existence in which there is neither coincidence nor possibility.
In actual practice, however, distinctions between the two interpretations amount to precious little. A state of affairs (as with most face-offs between interpretations) not unlike calling the same food by two different names.

So much for metaphors."