Archive for January, 2011


// January 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Reflections, Uncategorized

Don't touch that dial

Sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office watching the old clock tick, as the old radio played old tunes to an aging guy (me) while my wife got checked out, I slipped into the “e-gaze”.   With my eyes staring deep into the screen before me, I was clicking away on my iphone as the guy next to me was doing the same.  It was the voice of the receptionist making fun of us that brought me back to earth and shifted my stare to the old analog radio across the room.  The radio was born in the 60′s, 70′s, or maybe as late as 1982, it was hard to tell due to the styling, but one thing was for certain – it still worked as well as it did the day it was first plugged in.  The radio plays eight hours a day, the red line of the tuner sits on a “classics” station and never wanders, the volume I imagine only changes when there is a news broadcast of a national emergency, and every night when the lights go out and the door gets locked, the power goes off and the transmission is interrupted until the next morning when the switch goes back on and the classics again begin to play.  This classic piece of workmanship has one job, one function, one station, one volume , one place, one day at a time.  It lives in another world and another time compared to my iphone which is designed to run thousands of functions, many at the same time.  My iphone is smaller, faster, stronger, lighter, sleeker, portable, more expensive and sadly designed for obsolescence within a couple of years time – if it doesn’t get dropped and die before that.  So I guess in a way I began to compare the stuff in my life to my life itself and asked the question: am I too aiming for obsolescence by trying to be a sleeker, faster, lighter, stronger, busier multi-tasker, or should I take a tip from a time tested rock-steady old classic and focus on doing one task, one job at a time and doing it well, one day at a time until it is completed?  In today’s fast paced world I know I will have to go with some give and take, but I will always certainly admire the classics and hope to last long enough to be one myself.

Conquering Your Everest

// January 24th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Today my publisher – New Leaf Publishing Group – began a series of blogs from their authors.  I had the honor of having mine featured on the site linked below.  Here is an excerpt of what I wrote for them:

Not every mountain that a climber sets out to climb gets climbed.  There are those that force us back with weather, fatigue, route finding issues, personal issues, as well as those related to a larger team.  Climbing a mountain, no matter how high, difficult, or even seemingly easy will often take repeated efforts before the door to the summit can be unlocked and steps onto hallowed ground be made.

I know from experience that when I take my first step on a trail towards a summit, that attaining it is never a given.  If it were a given where would be the adventure, the allure, the mystery and drama? 

Climbing around the world has taught me a lot: primarily that the same truth applies in life as it does to climbing.  There is no formula for success, but there are methods and principals to follow to ensure a greater chance of succeeding when facing our “Everest’s.”                                                                                     As a husband, and father of twin girls 2&1/2 years old, I find that my current climb is much harder than any mountain, and the uphill battle for me is to face off with the selfish guy inside who still wants to pursue everything that he did before marriage and kids.  The battle is finding the new self by dying to self.  I am stepping on to the trail but have no idea if I will succeed.  What helps me is a wife who serves and shows selflessness by example – (read more)


// January 20th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized


This is the age of look at me.  Facebook, twitter, MySpace,YouTube all encourage us to be sharing the things we are doing every minute of every day with everyone anywhere.  It can be good, it can be fun, it can even be necessary for some, but it also can become an obsession for attention and for some even a quest for celebrity.  As a new author and longtime speaker, I am obligated to some degree to share the goings on of my life with people who wish to follow my adventures and thoughts as well, but I struggle with the tweets and updates to Facebook.  What I often long for are the days before all the technology when our greatest accomplishments and funniest moments were shared only with those who were also in the moment, or perhaps with no one at all.  The difficult climb that was achieved, or the beautiful tracks that were laid down, or the donation that was just made, the prayer for someone, the quarter put into a stranger’s parking meter, picking up trash on the street, or even folding a shirt on a store rack with no one else seeing it, tweeting it, or caring but you.  The tracks in this photo are from another skier, I have no idea who, but they make a beautiful impression in the snow.  The person who made them didn’t stop to show the world, they kept on going wanting only to make more.  The question is this: do we really need recognition for everything we do, or can we see the beauty and the art in the satisfaction of just knowing that we can and that we did?

I know of a guy who rode his bike from Boulder to Rocky Mt. Natl Park, ran to Long’s peak, climbed it’s 1,500 vertical face and then made it back to Boulder in time for happy hour.  The coolest thing about this feat is that it wasn’t tweeted, posted, or even bragged about in the bar.  This story is one more of legend, done just because he could.    So while it is true that for our livelihoods we need to let people in on some things, I need to remember that there is still beauty in the anonymous feat, gift, act done sometimes for the benefit of others but certainly without their knowledge.  (Strangely, yes – I will tweet this and post it on facebook)

A Backcountry How-Not-To

// January 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Skiing, Stress Free Moments

Sometimes life gets a little heavy and the things of everyday tend to weigh us down. For me when I feel this way I like to get out with a good friend and have fun and forget, at least for a few moments about some of the stuff clogging up the pipes in my brain.
This video is evidence of that. If your feeling some stress and have a couple of minutes to kill, watch this video on what not to do while skiing in the backcountry. This is my friend J Whorton humoring me as I interviewed him on a quick morning ski tour in the backcountry near Vail.

No View from This Summit

// January 11th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Climbing, Hiking

It really was like any other short, cold, windy, December day in Colorado except for the fact that on this day I would be climbing to 14,283′ with a blind student Terry Garret, my friend John Olson who struggles with a siezure disorder, and a team of others including: high school star athletes, a contingent of army special ops members, and a film crew.  On the film crew would be standout climber and internationally known film maker Rob Raker. 

With special permission from the landowners we got a reasonably early start on a day with subzero (windchill) temperatures.  We skirted the frozen waterfalls on the lower slopes of Mt Lincoln, hiked up through scree and boulder fields covered in a patchwork of snow causing us to post-hole much of the way.  Coming up out of the lower gully many started to turn back as the winds were almost pushing us backwards.  Soon the only one wanting to push on towards the sumitt was the most unlikely one of all – blind Terry Garret.  With only film maker Rob Raker remaining Terry pushed on into the wind barely able to hear my voice giving him directions.  At certain moments I would physically grab his ski pole and lead him by tugging on the opposite end.  By sheer will power he stood on the summit of that peak demonstrating that desire is often the most critical component in reaching our goals.  Had the others been better acclimated we would have seen more summits, but I am so proud of Terry and the effort he gave as well as the lesson he taught me to never give up when all seems to be against us.

The Jet Engine

// January 6th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

I’m sitting on a plane thinking about perseverance and finishing the task, the race that is marked out for us. How it takes focus, courage and resolve.
As the jet winds up the engine blasts, pushes us forward, the thrust forces this heavy object into the sky as air moves over and under the wings. Almost immediately we are thousands of feet over the earth.
Suddenly, as I look down, the thought enters my mind – what if the engine quit? Imagine the nose of the plane pointing skyward as it climbs when all of a sudden the engine decides “my job is done; I got us off the ground; time to relax. ”

I’d say “good job getting us off the ground, but there’s more work to be done.”
It’s easy to stop when we think we have met our goals, but we need to keep our focus on the destination not merely meeting the first objective. This takes endurance, perseverance, and a committing focus. This is something I am trying to develop in myself more and more.

If you feel like joining me with a renewed focus in 2011 feel free to leave encouraging comments here on this blog.  I will do my best to also post material that will hopefully inspire and encourage you as well.  The image of a saddle on a naked  jet engine just crossed my mind as I thought of it flying by itself.  It needs wings and structure to make the journey.  I know that as I take off, I won’t try to go it alone. 

Traveling East for National TV Interview

// January 4th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Events

Tomorrow I will have a great opportunity to talk about my new book The Summit on the ABC family network’s 700 Club. The CBN ( program will be live at 8:00 a.m. MST, and air again at 9:00 p.m. with Internet streaming of the interview available as well.
Please tune in to see how I look in make-up, and to hear my account of leading my blind friend to Everest’s summit.

It seemed all forces were conspiring against me today with a flight delay that derailed an Atlanta morning show opportunity and a dead shuttle upon arrival in Virginia. God is good, I’m here, and ready for a cheeseburger.