Transitions in Paradox

Three weeks ago I flew from southwestern Ethiopia to central Montana, in six flights. When I arrived at the Bozeman airport, at 11:45 pm. I’d been traveling for thirty-eight hours. It was -5 degrees outside, a 75-degree drop from where I’d started. My van, choked full of a winter’s assortment of climbing gear, files, and poodle food, was waiting in … Read More

Common Denominator

The trouble with having a blog is a sudden desire to take basic elements like your decision to go to Africa with shoes that suddenly feel too small, how to fix the squeak of your van with a wooden spatula, the death of your grandmother, the unexpected appearance of antivenin five months after you needed it, and an utter sense … Read More

Edge Dweller

You might not believe what I’m going to tell you. You might—if you have read things I have written in the past months—think I have some perverse law of attraction with tragedy. But maybe the truth of it is that I am trying to turn the tragedy around. When you find a dead body on your second day of vacation, … Read More

Whispering Into A Roar

In conjunction with Climbing Magazine and Read online HERE. This is a story without a conclusion. Maybe that will change by the end. At this point, I’m not betting on it. Four weeks ago, I wrote a piece about trying to understand death in the face of more death, and in spite of life. I thought that, by writing it, I … Read More

Left, Right in the Road

Last week, I left Jackson. I’d lived there just long enough to have a hard time leaving. I’d lived there just long enough to call it a home, though, to other more stable people, it seemed a stop on a quest for home. Sure, I lived in an unfurnished house on No Name Alley while strangers called my home in … Read More

Vertical Homesteading

–In collaboration with Petzl, check out the good things, and the good people who make that company one of the best– Quick test: What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say the following four places: New Hampshire, Namibia. Spain. Wyoming. Did anyone else answer home? I’ve been in Wyoming for five weeks now, before that it was Europe for three, … Read More

Screaming Uncle at a Whisper

A joint blog with Sunday, August 16th was Craig Luebben’s funeral. Four weeks ago, Craig was the last person I saw at a memorial. We had a long conversation about risks, coming home, what makes it worth it, and what makes you stay. We talked about how tired we were of going to climbing funerals. We talked about how much … Read More

Beyond the Next

I’m at my second tire shop in a week, 408 miles apart. This time, I’m in Bozeman; last time, I was in Salt Lake. But it all started in Provo. 63 mph in the left lane, construction cones ahead, and something sharp enough underneath to land me stopped, rimless, on the shoulder. Five minutes into changing my tire a man … Read More

The Poodle Permanent

I’m not a dog person. I never have been. I once knew a woman who returned a dog for its propensity to drool. She is my mother. Two weeks ago, I was talking on the phone with a potential landlord for a summer sublet when he asked if I had a dog. “Me?” I said, “No. I have a poodle.” … Read More

Calling Shotgun From the Other Side of the Sea

My dog Osito’s breath smells like a combination of dead chipmunk and poop—even though I know he has had neither in the past three days. I’ve been watching him non-stop. It’s how I make up for being gone. I landed back in Colorado last Friday, spent all day at a memorial service on Saturday, got a migraine Sunday, and drove … Read More