backcountry adventure

Throwback. To that time my buddies Chauncey and Chris shredded the Eleven’s Couloir in the Telluride Backcountry. They kicked a couple of slides, but eventually emerged safely. What an amazing ride it must have been.

This image is 6 frames stitched together. If you look closely you can see Chauncey about ¼ from the top. I would love to see this image printed out. 

I wanted to write up a little bit about what it means and feels like to go backcountry skiing or backpacking vs. what it looks like in all the photos you see on here.

Alpine touring is a constant mental and physical battle. It doesn’t feel good. In fact, most of the time I’m saying to myself, “This sucks why am I doing this?” and feeling very aware of all the pain my body is in. This is especially true of spring/summer skiing than anything. In 70 degrees, my feet do not do well in ski boots. An hour in, and I can feel my blisters beginning to form. They hurt with every step. You’re breathing hard and there’s always someone faster than you. Your pack is heavy, your feet are heavy, the top of the skin track is always so far away. There’s SO much self questioning in this process BUT that is what makes you strong. You conquer yourself. You make it to the top. You ski the run that feels like no one else has skied. You make it back to the car and take off your boots and it feels like sweet, sweet heaven and you all laugh about having the exact same blister in the exact same spot and you feel relief because you thought you were the only one. It seems so easy for everyone else, right?

Hiking and backpacking are not comfortable. Your backpack is heavy and it feels fine at first but then your lower back aches, your bare shoulders chafe from the straps (tip: put socks between shoulder straps and your bare skin while hiking). As you gain elevation, the sun bakes you, its harder to breathe, and you can feel your heart beat in your ears. You’ll get bitten by mosquitos, horse flies, everything with wings. But oh my god, the places and the things you’ll see. You again conquer yourself and all the things you told yourself you couldn’t do on the way up, you did and now you get to take in the view of hidden treasures MOST people don’t get to see BC they cannot conquer themselves. Your pain is always rewarded.

Being outdoors is not all sunshine and denim and cool hats and movie-esque scenes. It’s messy hair, sunburn, bug bites, chafing, body odor, blisters, and pain. But it’s also glory, sunrises in remote places, uninterrupted wilderness, humbling, laughter, food appreciation, and an overwhelming sense of being proud of what you’re capable of and the amazing things you get to see that most people can and will only imagine.

I’m telling you all this because next time you venture out into the wild and the entire way there you feel like this hurts you more than it does other people and you’re not cut out for it and it’s so hard, remember you aren’t alone. You’re not weak. You are cut out for it because everyone else goes through those feelings too but remember the glory and self pride you felt when you accomplished it and THATS why you do it again, and again, and again.

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Our next stop was in Sedona, Arizona.  We found a solid spot on some BLM land tucked just West of the town of Sedona.  Lilah figured out her love for backcountry cooking and we enjoyed a few (lot) of cold IPA’s.  Before heading out of town I got a quick ride in Chuckwagon - Mescal, which is a super fun mountain biking loop close to town.  We finished our time in Sedona with a hike up to Bear Peak, which rewards you with outstanding views of the nearby rock formations.

vimeo

This could be one of the most remote ski sites in the world, hidden in the Caucuses mountains, Georgia

In times like these, in which man dominates nature so heavily, untouchedness, wilderness and loneliness are more and more rare. Thus the true values of freeriding also vanish. In times like these, real adventures threaten to be replaced by virtual experiences in front of computer- and TV-displays. But they still exist - the magical places. Winter landscapes of such extraordinary beauty and seclusion, which seemed to be lost. Places that show us what we have lost in the presence of civilization and consumption. A place with this extraordinary charm is the village of Bakhmaro in Georgia. Well hidden at 2,000 meters altitude in the small Caucasus. A village, which due to its inaccessibility rests every year in the deepest winter sleep. Due to a 15 kilometer long pass road and the lack of heavy machinery and snowblowers, this road can not be cleared of snow from October to May. And that in the midst of a region blessed by snowfalls of incredible proportions.

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