Working in the Void

Yesterday I finished up work on a grant application that took me five days to complete. It was 2:30 pm. I pressed send. It disappeared from my computer. I looked at my dog. The New York Times recently had an article about family and office roles mixing at work. The piece explained that all of the issues you have at … Read More

The Dark Side: Whipped Installment

THE DARK SIDE: WELCOME TO THE MAD PURSUIT OF NIGHT CLIMBING (Part of an on-going series on my blog of posts from my column Whipped, for Climbing Magazine. February, 2007 Installment) Download PDF Four hundred feet up Eldorado Springs Canyon’s Yellow Spur, pigeon shit on my lips and headlamps around my ankles,I screamed at my belayer to stop pulling me off. … 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


My mother tells me she would be happiest if I were living down the road from her in Montana. Next best, would be in a city with a major airport as a writer. Next would be a city without an airport. But nowhere in her formulation is me living as I do right now. I don’t really want to hear … Read More

What I Wanted

Two weeks ago I was in New Hampshire. Again. I’d never been to the state until this February, and now I’ve gone on three trips to the North Country. It pulled at me the first time, and I knew it had something to do with the dreams of my younger self. Blanketed evergreens and hidden lakes. Winding roads and maple … Read More

Finding Your Better Half: Whipped Installment

This week I am going to start doing something different and introduce back installments of my column Whipped. I hope to alternate between column installments and other comments. View Online  |  Download PDF Finding Your Better Half : The search for the perfect (rope) mate (Part of an on-going series on my blog of posts from my column Whipped, for Climbing Magazine. … 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

Consistent Humbling

I did my first lead climbs at the Gunks, in New York. Back then I was feisty, eager, and adamant that I could pull anything off. After my first lead tying off trees for pro, I decided I was ready for more, hopped on a climb, placed two pieces, and took one of the biggest whippers of my life. On … Read More

Nobody told me when I would need the Marshmallow Shooter

When I was in sixth grade, I thought being an adult meant you were done. Done with anything tough or complex in friendship, life, love—any of it. My best friend had recently been stolen by an evil girl, the boy I had been going with moved to another school and seemed to have lost my number, and I suddenly sucked … Read More

The Weight of Your World

I got married young. Back then, I would have never admitted I was young—back then I was 21 and had it figured out. Back then is nothing like now. Now it’s ten years later, I’m single, I’m dating, I’m changing my career, and nothing is figured out. Does anyone have it figured out? The driving conversation we all seem to … Read More