The Best Worst Idea

I’m in Africa, again. And on this trip, Africa x 3. My bags are loaded with what I need to find the course for a trail race in Ethiopia’s high sandstone escarpments, to lead a trip where I and fourteen others will rock climb, mountain bike, and do yoga from Lake Langano’s western shore to Tigray’s northern fields, and to journey … Read More

Going Big

In Conjunction with Pemba Serves Five days ago I drove out of Eldorado Canyon after seven pitches of climbing with two professional women who live in Boulder. We’d spent the day climbing sandstone cracks freshly crisped by the proceeding evening storms. The river roared beneath us for the full day making communication difficult and creating isolation of judgment and choices for … Read More

The Biggest Job I’ve Ever Had

This weekend a printing press in Texas is warming up its rotors and ink jets just for me. For me, that is, and the 90 million people of Ethiopia for whom I wrote the book it’s about to print. Are you cringing right now? Did I really just say I wrote a book for 90 million people? You’re right, I … Read More

Robbery Friendships, An Additive Adventure Entry

In Conjunction With and Osprey Packs This is Haile. In 2006, I put Haile, and thirteen of his closest friends, in jail. In Ethiopian jail, to be precise. I’d like to say it wasn’t my fault, but then again, I was the one climbing in Ethiopia. The story went something like this: Caroline George and I were three hundred feet up a … Read More

The End of the Beginning, An Additive Adventure Entry

In Conjunction With and Osprey Packs The bowels of the Addis Ababa airport are laced with sweet, thick exhaust. Five minutes ago–forty-five minutes before my departure back to the United States–a man in a sharp-creased navy uniform summoned me away from the fluorescent passenger holding tank with a gun holstered at each hip. He didn’t give me his name, just confirmed mine. … Read More

Running With Haile, An Additive Adventure Entry

In Conjunction With This is how it happens. One person has the idea to run 13,286 kilometers—the distance from Vancouver B.C. to Mekelle, Ethiopia—to raise money to build a school in rural Ethiopia. It’s hard for one person to run that far himself or herself. So they ask for others to join them. One of the people who signs up … Read More

The Ballad You Forgot, An Additive Adventure Entry

[youtube=] A blog in conjunction with Osprey Packs and Outside Television. Let’s get this out of the way. I was 8. I made bad choices like singing Don’t Fence Me In at my father’s second wedding and lying down on the carpet in the school loft; I had bad choices foisted upon me, like a two-inch buzz cut—billed as a smart fashion move with … Read More

Me, As a Dot. An Additive Adventure Entry*

I have no idea who the people are who will change my life in the next two years. I had no idea, two years ago, that a woman making a spontaneous stop in a Patagonia store in California would change mine now. Susanne Conrad caught a glimpse of a tall hardbound book called Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn … Read More

Appalachia Merge

Travel has a way of smashing your life together and making you earn the fall-out. I’m on a plane, again—this time from the southeast to home. I’m back on tour and just spoke, got sandbagged, and took a flu shot to the left shoulder all in three days in North Carolina. I like the southeast. The air feels good, the … Read More

Available at an Ethiopian Bookstore Near You—Vertical Ethiopia, and a Porsche.

I got an email from a friend last week who lives in Addis Ababa. “Saw your book at the Hilton,” she wrote, “next to Time magazine’s Africa Edition. Does this mean you’ve finally arrived?” Nope. But my book has. After almost three months, Vertical Ethiopia finally landed in Addis for distribution. The first print run happened all at the same … Read More