July 20th 2019
French, Swiss & Dinaric Alps
First off this rock climbing photo is me in Maryland, but I’ve been hitting up the outdoors trying to get in shape for some big mountains overseas. I’ve got an ambitious climbing list over the next four weeks. I highly doubt this will work out, but if it does I’d be climbing a significant peak every weekend for the next month! First I’ll start with another 14’er in Denver next weekend, followed by a possible climb in France.
May 27th 2019
Five years ago I visited the American Cemetery in Luxembourg, where over 5,000 Americans are buried from the Battle of the Bulge. Not knowing how to capture so many that were lost, I thought I should take a photograph of a soldier’s grave from every state. I realized I never posted these, but now that it’s Memorial Day it and I’m in Europe it certainly seems appropriate. Some of the graves include two Medal of Honor recipients and the resting place of George Patton Jr. Most of those who gave their lives were only in their mid 20’s.
May 10th 2019
I had zero plans to get back to Colorado this spring, but when I saw a price for $77 round trip I just couldn’t help myself! With five days notice the weather looked good and I figured I’d give the infamous Capitol Peak a go. As I got closer the weather turned to a blizzard, so my friend and changed our sights to Longs Peak. Even more exciting we picked a technical route that was roughly equal to the Matterhorn in terms of difficulty. This photo above shows an HDR shot of Longs Peak from our campsite, but sadly that was as close as we ever got. We had some horrible winds during the night and no visibility in the morning. I’m always happy for an adventure though so I got what I came for! Since we never had a chance to summit I don’t really have a Longs Peak page to share with you until I return. Until then though, I can offer a print of this majestic peak!
March 17th 2019
Big news! So after more than a decade I’ve finally built a proper travel store. This is still under construction, but so far I have at least 50 prints that are available, with more to come. This will be one of the ways I will try to raise funds for Antarctica and I look forward to completing this store in the next few weeks. In addition to prints, I will also add other variations such as canvas prints, metal prints, and even things like travel mugs and more!
March 1st 2019
At the end of February I climbed to the top of the Rockies! The highest point is Mt Elbert in the heart of Colorado. Although it’s just a walk up, because I went right in the middle of winter I had extremely deep snow to deal with. I actually wore snowshoes for 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) of vertical ascent, before switching to just my climbing boots. Of my 50 state high points, Mt. Elbert is the third highest, or second highest in the continental United States.
February 3rd 2019
Top of Arizona
I’m happy to have done two back to back state high points out west. The top of Texas was a beautiful hike with amazing views, while a weekend later I found myself in deep snow, high winds, and covered in rime ice without any visibility. Humphrey’s Peak is often considered the easiest western high point, but under those conditions so far it was one of my most challenging. I had almost turned around due to the forecast of high winds that evening, and briefly did turn around en route due to ridiculously deep snow. All in all it worked out, and I’m happy to be inching towards my 50 state high point goal!
Jan 29th 2019
Top of Texas
On the 27th of January I reached the top of Texas! Regarding the challenge the hike was pretty much what I had expected, taking about four hours round trip. Regarding the scenery and views however, I was really impressed! This could be one of my favorite views so far in a 50 state high point. I’m currently planning to do the highest point in Arizona next weekend, assuming the weather is decent. At the moment there are 100kph winds forecast on the day I want to, so it might be a no go! In which case I can find giant cacti or explore Monument Valley.
Jan 5th 2019
Finished my Alabama page on some of the cave I visited. Most of these were Cathedral Caverns, but Stephens Gap was definitely the highlight of that trip. If only I had a few people with me so I could have done the rappel… Next time. So I’m going to send out an Antarctica proposal this week, and meanwhile I plan to keep in shape by attempting Nevada’s highest mountain next weekend. To be honest, after all the traveling I’ve been doing I don’t feel like getting on a plane again, especially for just a weekend, but this is how you get things done!
Dec 26th 2018
I made it to another new country! I’m happy to have visited Paraguay, a country once known for being famous for nothing. Like always there was plenty for me to do, and like always I didn’t get half of it done. I did at least visit El Chaco, what I’ve always considered to be the most famous region of the country but found that two nights there wasn’t nearly enough. Beyond that, I got lazy and spent the rest of my time in the capital instead of exploring more to the south, which is what the locals told me to do. And I just realized I never followed up a post on my Africa trip. I haven’t had time to finish any of the pages from there, and why did I do Asuncion’s first I don’t know. I never made it to Guinea-Bissau because of some extreme logistic issues, and ended up staying in Senegal and Gambia, both new countries as well. I was in school which was killing me with my time but now that that’s over I can do some catching up! I also visited some amazing caves in Alabama last weekend, which was almost as good as any single experience I just had in South America or Africa!
Nov 7th 2018
My trip to Guinea-Bissau is only single digits away! I better start planning, I don’t even have a visa yet! I’ve been incredibly with work, followed by school, and plenty of other personal things that I got to take care of. I hate to say this but it’s to the point that I might even stop taking classes, it’s simply nearly impossible to do 100 things at once. Other than my up coming Africa trip, I’m still working behind the scenes to make Antarctica a reality. The $50,000 price tag is no easy challenge, but marketing my site and coming up with creative ideas to complete my final summit is definitely a priority! Attached is my new site logo.
Oct 28th 2018
I finally made it to the Everglades! This massive swamp and cypress forest is a haven for some of the most unique wildlife in the United States. Some elusive wildlife like the Florida panther you’ll almost never find, but otherwise I’m pretty happy to have found my first American crocodile, nearly a dozen species of birds, and of course plenty of beautiful scenery. I’ll be going from this impressive coastal swamp land teeming with wildlife to another in about two weeks, next up is Guinea-Bissau in mid November!
Oct 2nd 2018
I’m nearly at 90 countries after my visit to Serbia. I’m slowly adding pages from my trip to my website as I also work backwards to try to fix other pages as well. So far I’ve finished Uvac, a small page but a beautiful experience in the country’s southern mountains! Now about my forced vacation, I’m torn between Algeria or Cameroon at the moment. After some fighting happened in Cameroon in areas I wanted to visit, I was almost completely certain on going to Algeria. The problem with that though is Algeria is just so big! I feel like with the time I have it wouldn’t be nearly enough so at the moment I’m leaning back towards Cameroon.
Sep 19th 2018
Forced to Travel
I got kind of blindsighted with the the sudden knowledge that new company policy requires us to use ALL of our vacation each year! That means I gots to get going somewhere, somewhere very soon. With short notice, Algeria looks like a reasonable pick! I had no idea this was coming, so it definitely changes my future travel plans, but also provides some unexpected excitement. If this works out, my goals are to see the capital of Algeria, visit some amazing Sahara desert towns, and see the unique and beautiful mountains to the south. With such little notice I’ll have to organize all of this very quickly, and will probably know within two weeks if this will work or not.
Sep 5th 2018
Return to the Outer Banks
After nearly ten years I finally returned to the Outer Banks! Even more surprising, this was a beach trip for me after I’ve had so much focus on mountain climbing. Most people identify me as a mountain climber, but I feel like until recently the vast majority of my trips were to beaches or hiking trips, or simply visiting other countries. The Outer Banks was an excellent break up from my suffering of subzero temperatures and high exposure, and anther reminder of all the amazing things that are close to home.
Aug 28th 2018
A much a happier place than my last post! Slovakia’s capital was one of those cities that had a nice surprise to it. It’s the only place I’ve gone to within Slovakia, but I might return this winter for some serious climbing. Until then, I can only show Bratislava.
Aug 23rd 2018
As I said many other places, I think this is the saddest place in the world to visit, but also one of the most important. Last week I was able to finally visit Auschwitz while in Poland.
Aug 21st 2018
The past few months I’ve actually been doing a lot of traveling, and I even knocked out a 50 state high point! I took my friend out west and we made it to the top of Idaho, definitely a fun mini adventure. From Idaho I did some more exploring in Craters of the Moon, the Winds in Wyoming, and some light hiking in the Tetons. More importantly, after a long haitus I’ve finally started visiting other countries again. Now that I’m back state side I’ll start posting those links once I have them finished.
May 4th 2018
Like always, it’s unbelievable so much time has passed. I say this every time, I thought it had been a week since my last post but it’s been months! Most of that is since there hasn’t been much going on in terms of future trips. I’ve been deep in the hole of vacation time and am just now crawling out. I’ve seriously not had a day off work since Everest in 2017, and that has definitely been taking an emotional toll on me! So, I’ve made some great progress with Antarctica in terms of working out logistics. Only problem is I need…. $250,000! Yes that is no joke. I’ll discuss more of that later, but for the moment I think I have an understanding of what needs to be done and the cost to do it. In the mean time, I’m so happy spring is here and I’m more anxious than you can ever imagine to start getting back to the world’s oceans and mountains again. I’m likely to go to North Carolina this month to visit my mom, my number one supporter of my expeditions to date! Aside from that, I’m hoping to do a trip to the incredible Wind River Valley in Wyoming to climb the state’s highest peak. I’m a bit reserved at returning to Wyoming since I was there last year, but, this trip is obviously focused on what I can accomplish there rather than choosing a state I haven’t been to in forever. I hope things will move faster now with Antarctica, my next step is to put some proposals together to see the responses I get and how realistic this might be. Luckily I have a strong southern ally who is working with me!
Feb 22nd 2018
My mission to New Mexico was successful. My time was short, but since I had already done a lot in the state before I was able to focus on some new places in Santa Fe and for the first time go to Taos. I had planned to try some back country skiing, but as it turned out there was not nearly enough snow. I ended up climbing New Mexico’s highest peak, which was my priority for the trip. Still over 40 state high points to go!
So I can’t even begin to say how much I would rather be posting about traveling in Iraq right now versus New Mexico. Regardless how much I love that state, it’s always much more exciting to travel internationally and visit a completely new part of the globe than a short weekend at home. I’ll have time off for an international trip this coming summer or fall. In the mean time, I’m continuing to try to pursue a very adventurous idea for 2019 or 2020. My climb of Wheeler Peak, and recent ski trips are all in preparation for that. I might find myself in Minnesota for further training in the next weekend or two./p>
Feb 2nd 2018
Well, I’ve found out that I do not have enough vacation time to go to Iraq next month. I had several back up plans if Iraq didn’t work, but the saddest part was I found a way to organize all the things I wanted to do, only to find out it was impossible anyway. I think some people in Iraq were a bit annoyed with all the help they did for me only for me to say I can’t come. I’m going to end up doing nearly a full year of work without any time off. Aside from never having done that before in my adult life, it’s going to be incredibly hard just not having a break from my work load. The only thing I can do now is some short domestic trips. I have some incredible ideas that I want to try, things I’m too scared to mention now because I don’t want to be all talk. For now, I can say I’m making the most of things and will be going to New Mexico next weekend just to climb Wheeler Peak. I haven’t been to that state in well over ten years! I’ll have time off again by the summer, and haven’t yet decided what to do then.
Jan 24th 2018
By chance I realized today that my first blog post on this TravelTheWholeWorld site was in January of 2008. My site is officially over 10 years old, while I’ve been adventuring for over 20! Now that the holidays are finished I’m able to better plan my trips for this year. It looks like I’ve finally found some reasonable answers for Iraq. Going to the south is definitely an option, but Kurdistan remains complicated for the reasons I mentioned. I’m not sure I’m motivated to do half the country, so I’d rather go to another destination where I feel I’m not so limited. Iraq still remains the priority trip, but if that doesn’t work out some back up plans include ideas that span from Algeria to Venezuela or the Guyanas. I’m still trying to travel at the end of February, which looks realistic job wise.
Dec 26th 2017
Well I’m making this official! I’m trying to do my best to visit Iraq this winter. I’d share a list of all the amazing things I look forward to seeing and doing there, but since the trip doesn’t look like it’s going to work out I don’t want to tease myself or anyone else. You wouldn’t believe how many people I tried to contact in Iraq. It’s nearly impossible to get a tourist visa there, and making matters worse I found out the international airport in Kurdistan has been closed for months. Since most of my time will be in southern Iraq anyway like Baghdad and Babylon, the airport closure might not be a big deal. So far my challenges have been getting an official invitation and a reasonably safe way to travel the country.
If Iraq doesn’t work out then I still plan to go somewhere and I still want it to be somewhere warm. Maybe I could go to the Guianas? Either way, in the mean time no matter what this weekend for New Years, I’ll be hiking to the top of Mt. Mitchell! The 2,000 meter mountain isn’t impressive compared to, I suppose any mountain, but the saving grace is that my friends and I will be braving subzero temperatures on this unusually cold weekend. It should be a good mini adventure and put us on the top of the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.
Dec 7th 2017
I’m finally back home after nearly a month in Korea. The work was hard but I was able to make the absolute most of my weekends, and visited places like Naejangsan, Gyeongju, and Seoul. As my third trip to Korea, I feel like I’ve definitely seen a lot in the country but like always there is still so much more to see. Within 24 hours of being back home I’ve been returned to a stressful project while also suffering with jet lag. I have little to no motivation to hike or train, at the moment, but I expect that to change within a week. Now that January is approaching two major opportunities are coming back to me. First, I’ll have vacation time again! With Mt. Everest being the focus in my life for the past few years I can finally use time off and go to a place that is non mountain related. And while I still need and want to continue climbing, I can also return to my goal of climbing the highest peak in each state during the winter time. Maybe I’ll do something simple like Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, the highest peak in the east coast. Otherwise I’d love to do something out west but I’d much rather dedicate my vacation time to international travel.
Nov 16th 2017
It’s been over a week now that I’ve been back in Korea. After some long days at work I took advantage of the weekend and went to Naejangsan national park. Said to be the latest national park you can see the fall colors in Korea, it worked out perfectly for me with my schedule. The hiking I did was on fairly steep trails, and I’m embarrassed to admit I felt a bit challenged 2,000 foot (600 meter) mountain! The rest of the week will be back to work as usual, then on the weekend I’ll be going to Gyeongju, the ancient capital of Korea, followed by Osaka, Japan the weekend after!
Nov 3rd 2017
Return to South Korea
Hey look at me! I actually updated my blog without waiting months as promised. So for the first time with my current job, I’ll be traveling for work and returning to South Korea. I wasn’t especially excited about missing Thanksgiving and going overseas because of the timing, but now that it’s all said and done I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be working south of Seoul, so needless to say I’ll be spending a lot of time in the capital but will definitely be visiting new parts of the country as well. My previous two trips to Korea focused on Seoul and the DMZ only. This time around try to see more of Seoul and have new goals such as experiencing the mountains, and Korea’s ancient capital of Gyeongju. While I’m working in Korea I’ll also be trying to rally support for my final summit, Vinson Massif!
October 22nd 2017
Devils Tower & Seneca Rocks
I feel like I’m always saying I’ll start to post more often on my blog but every time I do the next thing I know is that months have passed since my last update! So from now on I will do a better job, seriously! Writing about Devils Tower now seems like something that happened eons ago. I attempted the Durrance Route, which isn’t technically hard but involved crack climbing which I had never attempted before. As far as crack climbing goes that route wasn’t rating as extremely difficult, but regardless involves a technique where you jam your hand into cracks and pull your body weight up. I was told it’s like riding a bicycle, where at first it feels awkward and then something clicks and you are suddenly able to do it. That click didn’t happen on my first time trying, so although I was able to slowly climb the tower it was too late in the day to summit at a reasonable hour and it remains on the list of mountains that I need to return to conquer. I added another attempt that didn’t work out just yesterday, see the photo below of myself at the Gunsight Notch on Seneca Rocks. This was going to be my first true trad climb where I’d lead to the summit, but the traffic jam was so long that it took hours of waiting and we decided to head out before the sunlight was lost. I think it’s best to return in the winter time when the route isn’t so crowded
And speaking of mountains, I forgot to mention that I had gone to Colorado over a weekend and climbed another 14,000 foot (4,200 meter) peak. I brought two friends with me and we had intended to climb Little Bear, which turned out to be a bit ambitious.
That was the most difficult 14’er in the state and some of us were feeling the altitude. I ended up climbing Ellingwood point and was happy to be able to use my ice ax again!
July 27th 2017
After being back home for over a month I’m still trying to adjust back to normal life. It’s certainly been strange post Everest. I’ve accomplished what I’ve always considered to be my most difficult and biggest challenge. I’m not lost about what to do next. I have plenty of other mountains to climb, countries to visit, and other things I’d like to experience. A lack of time and life span remains my biggest hurdle. But I have to admit, I have little motivation at the moment and I’m not sure why. Getting to the gym or any other physical activity seems ten times harder than Everest summit day. I suppose now that I don’t have the pressure to work out I’m feeling burnt out by any kind of training. That’s not to be confused with traveling or some outdoor challenge, but more bout lifting weights or other exercises I did to stay in shape.
So, before I completely lose myself I think it’d be physically and mentally healthy to plan some type of new challenge. I want to get into some more technical climbing, and that works out since the vast majority of technical climbs are done in a single day. At the moment, I have my eyes set on the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. I’ve never seen the thing before, but the photos prove that it’s one of the most unique geological features on earth. It’d be a fun challenge and rock climb to the summit, and it’d be a new type of experience. Since I have no vacation days I’d have to pull this over a weekend, which is a lot considering I live thousands of miles away. But I think for me it’d be well worth it and give me something to look forward to. I hope that’s my next adventure, and am looking to do it possibly this September!
May 30th 2017
It’s been a long and difficult two months, but I’m happy to announce that I climbed Mt. Everest! The details will all go up on my website soon enough. For now I’ll just say almost nothing went right on this expedition, and those of us who reached the summit are seriously lucky to be back down. Attached is a short video I made showing a wind storm that hit our Camp II and nearly ended the entire expedition for us. More to follow soon on my Everest page which is still being built!
March 3rd 2017
Mt. Stanley – Uganda
I’m happy to say that I finally had a successful summit after a year of bad luck! I reached the top of Uganda which I consider to be Africa’s most difficult peak after only 72 hours. The pages are still under construction but I completed a short video showing some highlights of my trek through rainforest, mosslands, and eventually the glaciers of the Mountains of the Moon. So now that it’s early March I’m only a month away from my return to Mt. Everest. It’s really hard to believe, but minus airfare I’m all set. This time I will be climbing from Tibet so it will be a completely different experience from 2016.
January 1st 2017
50 State High Points
Now that 2017 has arrived I have very little time to wait to officially approve my return to Mt. Everest. I’m going to push it hard this week since I don’t have much of a choice, and hopefully I’ll get an answer within a week or two. Of course I’ve been planning recently as if I’m going and have some things already set up. About two weeks ago I did a 30 mile trek again to the top of Spruce Knob. Spruce Knob is West Virginia’s high point, and it got me thinking. Maybe I should do all 50 state high points! I did the hardest one already so the rest will be enjoyable. I’m using this new goal as an excuse to revisit all 50 states and also keep my fitness up. I’m going to go to Vermont for some ice climbing next weekend and do Mt. Mansfield. With the exception of Denali, since that took nearly a month, I’m planning to redo all other high points, so Vermont’s will be #1! For more serious preparations I’m going to try to go to Uganda and do Stanley Peak in February. It’s a good challenge and lasts over a week and puts me up over 5,000 meters. It’s perfect training and one of those things I can’t simulate doing that at home after work each day. I consider that essential to my trip, so if I get my return to Everst approved I’ll almost definitely be going to Uganda.
November 20th 2016
Everyone always says this but it truly amazes me how fast time is flying. I would have thought my last post was weeks ago but has seriously been over three months! With that said by the time December rolls around in about 10 days from now I’ll have only four months back to my potential Everest climb. I still don’t have the green light from my job and it’s becoming dangerously close. Most people plan these things out years in advance. With that said I have to continue to assume I’m going which means lots of hiking and training. The photo above is a shot I took while hiking out in Shenandoah earlier this month.
Because I won’t be going to a new country next year, since I’ll be returning to Nepal and China, this puts a major loss for my visit every country goal. Since I have no vacation time, I’m going to squeeze in El Salvador next week during the Thanksgiving holidays. This way I can add a new country to my list and also do some important hiking up volcanoes for training purposes. Doing two things at once! I just found out it’s supposed to rain nearly everyday I’m there, and that really isn’t cool. I can’t do much about it but hope that the forecast will change by the time I get there. My goals in El Salvador are to see the capital, visit the beach to see turtles hatching, some Mayan ruins, and most importantly hike up one or two volcanoes!
August 16th 2016
I’ve certainly not had good luck with mountains the past year! While until the Matterhorn, I’ve never had to turn back on a mountain in my life except for a small one in Canada, I found myself constantly encountering bad weather on just about every trip in 2015. For Granite Peak, I hiked out with my friends who decided to turn back for different reasons. This left me alone, and I continued to the mountain to at least see it. Summiting alone was a slight possibility, but when I get up close and personal I found 50+mph (80 kph) winds! I added my adventure to the Beartooth Wilderness already and definitely plan to return!
August 16th 2016
Time definitely seems to be going by faster and faster. The idea of returning to Everest a year later seemed to be a lifetime away. I’ve confirmed a trip to Granite Peak Montana, where I will attempt to climb the state’s highest peak. I’ll be doing that in mid September and by the time I return I’ll have just six months until my potential return to Everest! Granite Peak is a very serious challenge and it’s going to be my first mountain since my return from Nepal to get me back into the spirit of climbing. The mountain is only 12,799 feet tall (3,901 meters), but involves navigating across some challenging terrain to base camp. Summit day involves scrambling up routes that vary from class three to class five. Of the 50 state high points in the US, it’s the only mountain that requires vertical climbing, so I get to bring a rope and set up protection and rappel down on the way home. I’m bringing three of my best friends with me, and we are all excited about this adventure coming up. Likely the mountain will suck up all my time in Montana, but if we have an extra day we could potentially spend it in Yellowstone!
May 29th 2016
After a life time of dreaming I was finally able to get a chance to climb Mt. Everest. After a disaster on the final day I decided to turn around at the South Summit which is only 500′ or about 150 meters from the very top! Several people lost their lives that day, and nothing seemed right, so all in all I’m sure it was the right decision. I’ll post details about what happened on my site, but it certainty was not a good day for anyone and no one from my team made it. The worst part is I’m 100% sure I can climb Everest now, but have to do it all over again! I think next time I’d try from the Tibet side. For now, I’m back in Kathmandu as of today and will need some time to catch up my blog and write up what happened.
March 1st 2016
This is just a short and sweet entry to confirm that I’m going to Kathmandu this weekend to finally attempt Mt. Everest! I can’t even believe I’m writing this! As far as my hip injury I’m very confident that it won’t be an issue while I’m on the mountain. Otherwise I’m very worried about my own fitness since I couldn’t train the way I wanted to the past few months. It’s certainly not the mountain to have this concern, but otherwise these work outs seemed to have worked for others. I just hate having had to deviate from the way I trained for all my trips in the past which were successful. So I’ll be arriving to Nepal on Monday and spend the next few days getting over jet lag, double checking gear, meeting with my expedition, and of course exploring Kathmandu!
March 1st 2016
Alright then, for the first time I think I’m finally ready to admit that this is seriously going to happen! We Sure I negotiated the time off from last year and I paid in full for the expedition long ago, but it still never really sunk in. Just yesterday I purchased my flight to Kathmandu and all seems to be in order.
Now about this photo and my attempt at the Presidential Traverse in February which didn’t work out so well; I took a friend along and we encountered without exaggeration temperatures of 35 degrees below zero, see my White Mountains page for more detail. This was expected and I was able to handle the cold but the hurricane force winds were another issue. I got to the ridge and the winds were so powerful it was too hard to stand. With that said it was still a success in my mind since I did everything I could and I was able to camp out in the extreme cold which will be similar to what I’ll see on Everest. This coming weekend I’ll do a much easier and warmer hike to the top of West Virginia’s highest point, Spruce Knob. I’ve actually done this twice already the past few months but this time I intend to record it since there should finally be some snow and beuatiful scenery on top. It’s actually a 30 mile round trip over two days with some really good elevation gains, so it’s great training for me!
Lastly my hip injury contains to annoy me. It was pretty bad right before the Presidential Traverse weekend, then seemed to be much after after that for whatever reason, and at the moment it’s back to slight pain. I feel like I’m not able to train exactly the way I want to and I’m actually terrified that as I step it up this last month I’ll push it too hard and re-injure myself to a point I can’t attempt the mountain in April. Of course I’m also terrified that I’m not going to be in the proper fitness since I’ve been limiting myself in certain areas. As of now I’ve been pushing it pretty hard though and doing the workouts that I want to at the intensity that I want to. For the month of March, I’m planning to do them nearly daily and as long as my hip can hold up I’ll be all set for an early April departure to Kathmandu! Only a month left!
February 9th 2016
I’m still getting ready for Everest and I find it hard to believe it’s less than two months away. My hip has actually been bad the past two weeks, and as I sit here in the lobby of the doctors office waiting for a check up I realized I hadn’t updated my blog in a while. This weekend I’m planning to do the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains. I happened to pick the coldest week of the year, with temperatures of near 30 below zero! There are single digit temperatures for DC this weekend which only happens every few years, so I’m definitely lucky to be in the White Mountains during this cold front which will provide some excellent training. Aside from that, I’m planning lots of other weekend trips, probably to back to Spruce Knob in West Virginia which I’ve done twice already, and a final more serious trip somewhere out west. The hip issue definitely is annoying, but so far it seems I can work through it. I’ll likely get some Prolo shot today and rest for a few days before my traverse this weekend!
December 31st 2015
Well now. I’m back from my trip to Ecuador, and out of all my outdoor adventures, this one was probably the only one that really didn’t go as I expected! I suppose it’s my fault, because I moved so fast up in altitude. Not because I wanted to, but I have no vacation for high altitude trips before this April and this was the best I could do. After six hours in Ecuador I hiked to 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). No problems! The next day I did a solo hike to the top of a 15,000 foot mountain, (4,700 meters), also no problems! Things were looking good. Not only did I reach above 15,000 feet in 48 hours but I had done it in half the time it usually takes. So on day three I climb Illiniza Sur posted below, and once I get above 17,000 feet (5,000 meters), I’m feeling the effects of the altitude. I make it to the planned east summit and return to sea level. I didn’t feel like a million bucks but I was happy I made it. I figured the next two days I’d continue to acclimatize and then I could attempt Chimborazo at 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). So many problems with that mountain. First off, I never felt 100% great before starting, secondly, we had to begin the climb from 15,000 feet, (4,500 Meters) which mean I seriously had to climb a mile in altitude, or a kilometer and a half. When we got to 19,000 feet (5,800 meters) instead of snow we encountered a giant ice wall. My guide has been climbing here for decades and had never seen this before. We crossed it, but it was incredibly dangerous and slippery. Higher above it was just going to get worse. Blame it on global warming or bad luck, but it was 2am on Christmas and here we were trying to cross these ice walls where a serious slip would result in death. To top it all off, I was definitely getting hammered by the effects of the altitude at this point although I didn’t realize it yet. For safety reasons we decided to descend, and I felt a bit defeated. Fitness I was fine, and sure the altitude took a hit on me but instead of getting to 6,000 meters in five days on Everest you get about a month, so I should be fine with that I’d hope. Either way, my goal was to climb two major mountains and return home feeling extra confident but it didn’t exactly work out that way. Regardless I was most certainly in the mountains and experience a little bit of everything which was the main point. High altitude, cold, stress, technical climbing, and more! With that said, I don’t have any more vacation time to do any major adventures until the actual trip in April. The next 90 days I need to perfect my training, diet, and do as much hiking as possible. I do plan to take advantage of some long weekends and do some training in New England and hopefully Colorado as well!
December 3rd 2015
Back from Utah, next to Ecuador
I made my short but sweet hiking trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon Utah! The beauty there is definitely some of the best in the USA, and maybe even some of the best desert scenery in the world. I didn’t take nearly as many shots as I wanted to, but I definitely got some good hikes and even got close to 10,00 feet. Hip is still a bit annoyed, but that’s not a bad thing since I’ve been doing some very intense workouts and more frequently. My trip to Ecuador is now confirmed, and I’ll be flying out on the 18th of this month to try to climb two major peaks. The main one will be Chimborazo, which is the highest peak in Ecuador and sits at 20,564 feet (6,276 meters). This will be the second highest I’ve ever climbed in my life, because it barely tops Denali. Even though this is a 6,000 meter peak, it’s only going to take about two days and is a relatively easy climb. Unlike Denali, I won’t have 40 degrees below zero, a month of food on a sled, and don’t have to worry about building ice walls and all the other extremely demanding parts of the climb. The second peak is Illiniza Sur, which is 17,267 feet (5,263 meters) and is much more technical and demanding than Chimborazo. I’ll be doing Illiniza Sur first, in order to acclimatize since it’s lower in altitude. This will be my most technical climb to date, surpassing the Matterhorn and Carstensz Pyramid. The steep climb will require, ice screws, technical ice axes, and other gear. I expect this mountain to be twice as hard as Chimborazo. If I can bag both of these and not have any hip or other annoying issues, that will put me only 90 days away to my trip to Everest!
October 28th 2015
Well before I get onto my hiking trips I’ll mention the most depressing news for me ever. I’ve never had a personal hard drive fail, but it finally happened a few weeks ago. I didn’t realize that somehow I had never backed up my Congo, Rwanda and Burundi pictures and all are completely lost! I seriously have nothing to show for Rwanda on my site despite my trip there, and same for about half of Burundi. Luckily for the Congo I had posted most of the photos online although I still lost the originals. I’m trying to find a way to recover the data but it’s a serious failure that has been quoted at hundreds and hundreds of dollars at a best case scenario.
>For better news though, I’ve been doing a lot of hiking including one with a large pack without any issues. I’m really excited about a coming up trip to Zion National Park this November where I’ll do some more hiking and of course take in the views. Aside from that I just requested the time off for Ecuador to do some 6,000 meter peaks for further Everest training. Otherwise I just want to continue doing as much hiking and climbing as I can this winter in the east coast.
October 7th 2015
I’m back inside my six month window of a possible Everest trip next spring. The Matterhorn provided me an excellent opportunity to test out my hip, which actually held up perfectly. When I returned and started running short distances I immediately was back in a week of pain. So bad news is there is still something going on, but the good news is I think I can work around it and just avoid running. Running has always been a core work out for all my mountain trips and I don’t like training with out it, but it’s certainly not the only way to get in shape. I think I might actually be doing this next year, and I’m both excited and scared at the same time! So, my next goal is to try to do as much hiking as I can in the states, and then I’m hoping to climb some major mountains in Ecuador this Christmas. Hopefully I can knock out a 6,000 meter peak and some technical climbs. If all goes well, I should be in excellent shape by then and get the reassurance that my injury isn’t an issue while climbing. Then I’ll just have three short months to continue training and would be off to Nepal in early April or late March.
September 7th 2015
You wouldn’t believe all the problems I had getting to the Matterhorn. I had an extremely busy and stressful week at work that was away from home. When I came home I had almost no time to pack and was literally finishing up with the taxi driver in my driveway. Once in Italy my bag never arrived and I kept hearing it’d be on the next flight which lasted until it came at midnight. Desperate to get to my destination I rented a car and drove to Zermatt and arrived at 3am only to find cars weren’t allowed. I slept in the car for three hours before taking the train at 8am and immediately climbed a 4,000 meter peak. Not surprisingly I hadn’t brought all my gear and paid a ton for it in Zermatt. With all the bad luck I figured the rest of my trip would be smooth, but with a nasty storm rolling in my friend and I were forced to attempt the mountain earlier than planned. I was sucking wind the whole way up from my lack of acclimatizing, but I was definitely going to make it dammnit! We had started in heavy fog and the weather was getting worse, finally we had no choice but to run around. A storm coming in was going to dump 18 inches (45cm) of snow. It’s a great feeling knowing we would have made it otherwise, but still disappointing. As my friend and I went unguided this would have been a major accomplishment for us. As far as my own injury goes though, I felt completely fine going up and down, and even a few days later. It’s important for me to run though for my training, so I’ll see what that does in a few days. I’m not sure what my next mini adventure will be since I’m out of vacation days.
August 20th 2015
My trip for the Matterhorn is all booked. I’m actually going to do an unguided climb with a friend I met while doing Carstensz Pyramid back in 2011. The two of us will attempt to climb the peak in early September, but before hand we have our eyes set on some other mountains on the Swiss/Italian border. This will probably be the most serious mountain climbing I’ve done in several years, and I’m very excited but also a bit nervous about how my hip will take this. If I come down from the Matterhorn without any serious problems then I’ll have the green light for Everest in 2016. I have to remind myself that even if I do have hip problems, it’s a bit to be expected and not the end of the world, but if I can pull this off without any issues then I can only imagine the psychological lift I’ll get. Climbing begins in just 10 days!
August 7th 2015
Well I never thought I’d be saying this, but it looks like everything has lined up for me to climb the Matterhorn early next month. I’ve even got airfare purchased, and will be flying into Milan at the end of August. I’ll be attempting this unguided with a fellow climber and world traveler that I met years ago on Carstensz Pyramid. The goal is to immediately get to Zermatt, Switzerland, spend a few days climbing other peaks and acclimitizing, and then go for the Matterhorn as soon as the weather permits. If I finish up early I’ll be spending the rest of the week in the country of Malta. It’s only 10 miles (15km) wide so I figure even a long weekend should be decent! Lastly I’ll return to the Netherlands for training, and then fly out of Germany after spending some time in Cologne. This will definitely be an action packed adventure. My stupid hip has taken a few step backs after I leapt off a rock climbing wall last week without a perfect landing. While that’s disappointing, I’ve continued to train without making it worse so I’m still feeling confident that Everest 2016 is a go. Of course my climb of the Matterhorn more than half a year out will be a perfect test! I feel like if I can do this and not have any crazy hip pain or set myself back, then I’ll be very optimistic about my condition in 2016.
July 6th 2015
Well I’m very happy to say I came back from a very successful Colorado trip. This is my first time revisiting a state after knocking out all 50, and it was kind of nice to be able to focus in one region and not feel the pull to see as much as possible in a short time! My main goal of visiting Colorado was to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains, or the 14’ers as they are known. I essentially did a solo climb up Colorado’s third most difficult mountain and returned with little hip pain. This is about as good of a test as I can get, so I’m feeling very confident that next year I’ll be all set for Everest. Next in my sights is still the Matterhorn in early September!
June 30th 2015
So I’m moving forward with my mountains and plan to do my first one in a long time this coming week. Last weekend I was able to run four miles immediately followed by 30 minutes of stair climbing. While that isn’t anything impressive, I was able to do it without any significant hip pain. I’ve been going to physical therapy and will continue for the rest of the month, but I really feel like I’m going to be good to go! This trip to Colorado will be a great test of how my hip holds up. I’m going to be flying into Denver and also plan to see Boulder, Aspen and of course hopefully tackle a 14’er. If this goes will that will give me lots of confidence for a potential climb of the Matterhorn which I’m still have my sights on for this coming September.
June 11th 2015
It looks like I’ll be returning to the Netherlands this summer for what’s likely to be my last business trip there. I’m hoping to be able to take an extra week off and tackle the Matterhorn. This would be great training for my potential Everest trip and a test of my hip. If it all works out I’d be trying the Matterhorn the first week of September and then returning to Eindhoven for work. Otherwise for my hip update, it annoys me as I type this, but although it doesn’t seem to be getting better it also doesn’t seem to be getting worse. I ran 5 miles last week and 4 miles yesterday without any significant problems, so I think I just need to continue to move forward slowly and see what happens. I definitely hate having this linger around on what I consider to be the most important trip of my life, but it looks like I got little other options and the doctor told me to go full steam ahead. I’ll likely make a final decision on the Matterhorn in mid July. I’d like to start to ramp up training and by then be training hard to see how my hip handles it before I make any commitments.
April 29th 2015
For those that have been following my blog, you know that I was supposed to be on Everest this year. I had full approval from work and had even made my deposit, but because I never fully recovered from a hip injury that resulted in over-training I had to delay the trip until 2016. Of course it goes without saying that I’m grateful to not be on the mountain this year. As a matter of fact one of the climbers who died during the avalanche had once found my website and we exchanged a few travel and climbing tips. Two major tragedies in a row on Everest certainly doesn’t give anyone a good feeling about it, but as of now I’m still determined to try for 2016 assuming my injury doesn’t prevent me again. Speaking of that, I’ve gotten a MRI and the doctor basically said I might have long term pain that I simply have to ignore or work through, and that it shouldn’t prevent me from attempting next year.
Assuming that Everest 2016 will work, my next international trip will likely be an outdoor related one, maybe a backpacking trip in South America, or even some climbing somewhere. This probably won’t take place closer to 2016 when I know for sure that I’ll be going and am well into my training program. In the mean time I plan to enjoy summer, and maybe I’ll even find the time to get my two most recent trips posted from Africa and Europe!
March 5th 2015
I’ve said this before but this time I mean it, I’ll never take full time classes while working full time and traveling! I have yet to have time to finish my pages from my successful Congo trip despite being home for almost a month. As I write this from Europe, I’m also going to be visiting Switzerland soon so I’m going to be even further behind. For Congo, I got some great video of volcanoes and the gorillas that I saw. Rwanda and Burundi were also successful legs of my trip and I was impressed by both for different reasons. Future travel plans will likely be another work to Europe later in the year, and for the real stuff possibly a short climb or hike somewhere for preparation for my big mountain, which I am only becoming more and more desperate to do. My hip is still in pain, and since it’s been over six months now it’s hard to imagine that it will ever be good again. I’m probably going to get a MRI when I get home. If all goes well, I’ll do the outdoor trip I mentioned later this year in order to get back into good shape. If I’m not healed and the mountain doesn’t work for 2016, then I’m really not sure where I’d like to go. Somewhere warm for sure!
January 12th 2015
I’m both very sad and somewhat relieved to say that I’m having to officially postpone my Mt. Everest expedition until 2016. Even though the choice is really one of common sense, it was still a hard one to make. It’s stressful to try to work out and constantly feel like everything is fine one day, then the next day have some pain issues and realize you have to cancel and keep going back and forth like this week after week. With a full year out, I can take the time to completely heal and then train normally without having to worry and wonder about anything. I’m still going to Maine in order to climb their highest peak this month. I’d have canceled that but it’s only two weeks out and my flight and everything has already been booked. A day or two hike will just inflame my injury a bit but nothing serious, so this will not be a big deal. It’s mostly trying to do daily intense training that makes my injury get gradually worse. I’d still like to do some kind of adventure soon, so with that said my current plan is to try to visit the Congo next month. It seems there is a window of opportunity from work so if I can pull this off I’d like to go in early February. I should know this week if this will happen or not, and if it does my goals are to see the gorillas and visit the volcanoes.
January 7th 2015
I’ve had been news for a long time but have been reluctant to post it. Since September, I have had problems with my left hip, which has made climbing Mt. Everest debatable this year. For a period of time in December I felt great, and was running and hiking without any issues. I actually formally received the time off work and even made my deposit for Mt. Everest. That’s right, as of now I’m an official member on a Mt. Everest Expedition for 2015. However, my hip problem has returned and now I’m feeling less confident going this year is a wise decision. I can’t even begin to say how frustrating it is to finally be weeks away what is likely my biggest single goal in life and have to turn it down. I have a few more weeks to withdraw if need be, so my current goal is to keep training hard. If my condition remains or gets worse, obviously I have to withdraw from the expedition. If by miracle I find myself training hard in a few weeks without any issues, then I’ll feel confident and find myself trying to climb the highest peak in the world this spring! Just last weekend I had hiked to the top of New York for training purposes, you can read my blog of that hike and see a short video by clicking on the photo. At the end of this month I will be going to Maine to try to climb their highest peak!