When I first began skiing, hardly a day would pass without spending some time on the slopes, and skiing a hundred days a year wasn’t an achievement, it was an expectation. It’s hard to say whether recent less-than-inspirational winters or living just far enough away from a mountain to make skiing inconvenient have conspired against my sliding on the snow, but these days I would be happy to get out half as often as I did in the old days. Although my time on the slopes isn’t what it once was, I am lucky to be able to write about (and be compensated for) the time I spend outdoors, which is pretty darn close to my vision of living the dream. Below are some of my most recent articles; give them a click if you’re curious as to what I’ve been writing or just want to help keep the dream alive.
Shoestring Gully features moderate climbing in a magnificent setting, making it a natural choice for an Alpha Guide. Having climbed the route a few times before, Doug and I thought writing this article would be easy, all we needed to was zip up north to collect a few photos and GPS track. Of course, nothing is ever simple. In early January, sub-zero-temperatures were the norm, and they were followed by a January thaw that decided never to leave. With a deadline closing in, we took a leap of faith and headed north to climb. With okay ice and no one else on the route (a rarity), we made a casual ascent, took extra time for photos, just made our deadline, and produced one of my favorite Alpha Guides to date. Check it out here.
In spite of struggling to get this goEast article about celebrating President’s Day in New Hampshire’s presidential mountains off the ground, I really enjoyed how it turned out. It was fun to blend a little bit of history into the all the outdoorsy stuff that makes up the majority of my goEast writing, and it made for a more interesting article.
For me, spending time in the mountains means spending time in the car, and for years I relied on podcasts to help pass the time while driving. Lately, I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate more of the peripheral things that go along with time outside into my writing, so I was very excited for the oppurtunity to contribute to this goEast article on outdoor podcasts. Seriously, if EMS ever starts another podcast and I’m not asked to host it, I will be devastated. It seems the perfect medium for me to ramble (complain) about all types of things.
I really enjoy writing articles like this one for goEast about getting ready for backcountry ski season. However, I wish I was as good at following advice as I am at giving it. For example: for the first time in my life, I have a dedicated place to work on skis but I haven’t tuned them once this season; I’ve forgotten my first aid kit more than I’ve remembered it; and don’t get me started on my repair kit—I don’t think I’ve seen it since we moved two Novembers ago.
Much like Shoestring Gully, the Alpha Guide for climbing Mount Washington via the Lion’s Head Winter route sat undone for a long time. Although it has felt like a mild winter, every time Doug and I planned on an ascent of this iconic route, it was either bitterly cold or incredibly windy on Mount Washington. Also like Shoestring Gully, we eventually just sucked it up and went, in spite of the forecasted 100-plus mile an hour winds above treeline. We had a surprisingly great day with mostly great weather (the summit was just a little windy…see the video) and loved almost every minute we spent on the route.
I’m willing to admit defeat this winter and although I would be psyched to get a few more ski days in, I’m ready to ride my mountain bike. Last year, I had hoped to climb 5.12 and hike all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers in 48 days. Despite failing in both quests last year, I’ve been scheming up some grand plans for spring and summer (March resolutions?), so it’s just a matter of making the time, making it happen, and, of course, writing about it. So keep clicking and reading!