More articles, essays and stories

I’ve been going back through my archives of written material and it’s surprising how much stuff I have but haven’t published.  In reopening these files I’m discovering that, in some cases, these pieces are decent enough to put online – or need some more editing, first. In either case, I’m taking the opportunity to add some additional material.  

I will continue to add these to the essays and stories menu until things get to a point that I need to begin categorizing them better in which case I will add some additional sub-menus.  

Also, I am venturing more into the freelance writing world so if you know of good resources out there for writing articles and blog posts, please send them my way. Thanks, A

A bit about the origins of bouldering

For those of you who think bouldering is a recent occurrence in climbing history, think again. 

Info credit to John Gill and photo credit to British Mountaineering by Claude E. Benson, 1909

There are documented accounts of bouldering that go back at least as far as the 1870s, according to John Gill.

It’s equally enlightening to see that “practice climbing,” training on man-made climbing wall structures, even in the US was coming of age in the 1930s in places like Washington.

Shurman Rock – photo credit Seattle Parks


Storyboard Story

Shooting Star Storyboard

A few years ago (2012), he would have been 5, my son, Summit was asking about movie-making, how movies are dreamed up, how they are created, how they come to be. I thought I’d take him through the process and explain the beginning stages and work through the concepts with him. I explained that movies are first originated in someone’s mind before then being written down on paper. He wasn’t all that interested in the writing part of it but then we started talking about storyboarding and how movies were sketched out scene-by-scene. 

Summit had an idea in mind so what we did was I had him tell me what his idea was and then I’d help sketch it out on paper. Of course my drawings were quickly sketched and overall pretty crappy as I’ve never really been a *realistic* drawer. 

What resulted was a rudimentary short film by a five-year-old. Interestingly, as we drew it out on paper I could see that it was a journey and followed a basic story-arc of conflict, leaving, going through a series of events and finding resolutions while finally returning home. Overall, I think it’s a happy story – and definitely enhanced by the child-like drawings.


 Shooting Star Storyboard

Photo Reflection – Climbing a spire in Mexico

Climbing a spire in El Potrero Chico. Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo, Mexico

This has always been one of my favorite routes due to its position, exposure and level of adventure. Here on the second pitch of the west Spire, the top of the climb ends at a small pinnacle just big enough for two people to run the rope through a bolted anchor and rappel the south side of the formation. 

The first pitch, though it may have been changed by now, was a runout affair on rusty ring bolts and pitons. The first pitch ends at a notch between the two spires and then the face and slab climbing begins along the left edge and continues to the top. I’m not sure how many times I’ve done this climb – at least once per trip – so at least six times – and it’s always been fun.

Photo Reflection: Sisyphus Summits with Andy

How do you know when you’ve had one of the best climbing trips of your life? The answer is that you don’t, until years later when you look back and realize that the experience you had, the people you spent it with, and the lessons you learned have filtered over into the everything else you will later become.

Andy Magness and I on Sisyphus Summits (5.10d, 21 pitches, 1700′ Grade III). Photo by Aaron Gibson (35mm film, of course)


Photo Reflection: Wind River Range – Jerel on Pingora

The year was 2006 and Jerel and I ventured to the Wind River Range in Wyoming to climb Pingora Spire. It was a 12 mile hike in to the Cirque of the Towers. We lucked out with the mosquitos as they weren’t bad – I remember hearing horror stories about a particular time of year when they are out in full force but thankfully we avoided that. The camping was idyllic, positioned in a green meadow and close to a waterfall. Overall  the climb went well. I think the route was some made up version of the east side and never got harder than 5.7ish. Overall it was a good time and left plenty of ideas in my mind about returning to do more climbing there.

Jerel on Pitch ? on Pingora Spire in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.
Jerel on Pitch ? on Pingora Spire in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.