September was my last month in the summer-of-travel. I spent 10 days in Brazil and then another 10 in Seattle/Portland/Mount Rainier National Park. #PNW

For a while now I’ve been a silent, outside observer of the sport of climbing and mountaineering. At a certain point last year my curiosity took over and I suddenly had a trip planned to attempt to summit Mount Rainier. Rainier is a technical climb — it’s not vertical rock climbing, but it does require glacier travel equipment (campons, ice axe, the like) and a climbing rope to protect against crevasse falls. It’s not a famously difficult climb, but any alpine environment shouldn’t be taken particularly lightly.

The main goal of the trip was to experience true mountaineering. It’s so fascinating to me. Not sure why exactly. I also wanted to make a film about my experience, and I ended up locking a very minor sponsorship for that.

I had never seen a glacier up close, let alone stepped on one. When you actually work your way up a mountain into a glaciated alpine environment, things change. Only necessities matter and the stakes are higher. It’s really not that far from civilization (there’s a hotel right at the base of the mountain and it takes ~3-4 hours to travel on foot from there to the first mountain camp). The mountain has its own weather system, and when you step above 5,000ft, you’re at the mercy of the mountain and its weather. It’s steep, exhausting, and forces you to into an essentialist state of mind relating to everything gear, weight, food, energy. I remember it feeling very far from the reality I was accustomed to.

The rules are different up there. When I asked my guides questions, their answers were always caveated by, “…but there are no hard and fast rules. The only rule in the mountains is to have good situational decision-making.” Things change so fast and you have to adapt and use your instincts.

We didn’t summit. The weather was too bad. This isn’t too surprising considering September is the very tail end of the season, and it’s when the weather starts to turn towards the worst in general. 

Despite no summit, I feel satisfied upon my return home.

Now, for the first time all year, I don’t have any major trips upcoming. I feel weird. I feel uncomfortable because that sense of upcoming adventure and anticipation that I’m used to is gone.

It was a pretty epic summer. For 4 months, June through September, I spent more time traveling than I spent at home. The whole summer flew but at the end of it here are some things I’ve done that I’m proud of:

  • Visited Brazil twice and started learning Portuguese
  • Got way better at surfing in Costa Rica
  • Got way better at dirtbiking in Ecuador
  • Spent some quality time with my siblings and cousins on a Yosemite camping trip
  • Tried my hand at proper glacier mountaineering

I really love to travel. I feel like there will be no better time in my life than right now to see as much as I can see without making any major sacrifices. I’m happy spending money on travel and experiences.

It feels good to have almost a whole month in front of me to get back to work here in Charleston. Keyword: almost. I couldn’t help myself and booked a climbing trip to Utah for the last weekend of the month. It’ll be my first time trying multi-pitch sport climbing outdoors. 

I know a lot of big changes will happen for me in 2020. So I want to wind out the rest of the year focusing on making some money and pushing more projects through the door.