Acting Upon Dreams

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When I was growing up, surrounded by antique editions of National Geographic, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was obsessed with everything about the space program. I knew names of my heroes by heart like people know their favorite team and I went to Space Camp twice (I like to say I graduated “with honors”) Over time interests change, and I realized that it just wasn’t a feasible career path. What did stick though is an adventurous spirit, the willingness to do something that’s dangerous and unknown, if only to see what I’m capable of. Lately I did something that I haven’t done in over 10 years. I started re-watching the space program films and documentaries that inspired me when I was a child. It was poignant because here were these people who were putting their lives at risk to understand how the universe worked.

Curiosity is a powerful thing.

Today I’m setting out on a new adventure. The one that I’ve dreamed about for a long time. Four peaks and the opportunity for a boy from the flatlands to learn alpinism. We start this weekend on Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak. We’ll be climbing to 8,000 ft. on Saturday up the Cooper Spur, summiting at 11,000+ ft. on Sunday via the north face and then an extra rest day on Monday before heading back down. In the meantime I’m getting the instruction and the training that I wanted, and the skill building that’s going to carry through to the rest of my career.

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I’m not comparing myself to my heroes. My project is a molehill but it’s my molehill. We all have a hungry curiosity to explore beyond our borders and to seek unknowns. If we sit still we learn nothing about the world or ourselves. I choose to climb because it’s what makes me most happy in life. It’s challenge, adventure, a little bit of danger, and the opportunity to fulfill lofty ambitions. We should always question everything, whether it be how something works, or how far our bodies are willing to go, and act upon it to explore. That’s what exploration is: we can’t discover new lands anymore but we can define ourselves personally just by being curious. Asking “Am I capable of this?” and then finding the means to set out for the answer.

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When I look back on this project, coupled with our Moab trip in April, and our rafting trip in September, I want this to be the year of “I did.” I came to Washington for a peak that I had failed on and I discovered who I was not only as a climber or an adventurer, but as a person. Sport, climbing, traveling, it’s not just a hobby, it’s a way of life. Don’t ever be afraid to think boldly or have ambition. Dream something up, find the channels that will achieve them, and just go for it.

Gear List for Mt. Hood

Pack – Black Diamond Mercury 75

Base Layers – Outdoor Research Echo Tee

Champion C9 Long Sleeved Running Shirt

Mid-Layer – Marmot Variant

Down – CAMP Dual Jacket

Hard Shell – Outdoor Research Panorama

Thermal Layer – First Ascent

Hard Shell Pants – Unknown Brand, GoreTex (borrowed from friend)

Soft-Shell Pants – Eastern Mountain Sports Endo

Gloves – Black Diamond Vision

Arc’Teryx Liners

Black Diamond Punisher

Cap – Kavu Merino Wool Beanie

Sunglasses – Polarized Oakley Jawbone

Oakley Ski Goggles

Buff

Socks – Darn Tough Ski Socks X2

Gaiters – Outdoor Research Crocodile

Crampons – Black Diamond

Boots – Koflach Plastic Mountaineering Boots

Headlamp – Petzl Tikka

Ice Axe – Black Diamond Raven

Ice Tools – Petzl Charlet

Harness – Petzl Corax

Belay Device – Black Diamond ATC

Tent – North Face Mountain 25

Sleeping Bag – North Face Aleutian

Sleeping Pad – Thermarest SoLite

Stove – MSR

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