Today was the day. The air had an austere feeling to it. One that was filled with anticipation and the relatively unknown events that were about to unfold on the upper mountain of O Malley Peak, which is situated at 5,184 feet. Despite the unknown, I knew that everything would run smoothly. I had been on this part of the range twice, having scouted out the area while getting some ridge climbing in. You see, I racked up two failed attempts on this particular peak and I was getting antsy. I knew that the summit would keep digging at me until I finally placed myself on its snowy pinnacle. However, in the back of my mind, I knew that dangers existed on the mountain. Cornices, avalanches, wind blowing ice at my exposed face, and slick rock were among a few challenges that I would face. My experience has brought me to this point. Why back down now? So it was with great joy that I found myself on the snowy tundra heading toward the west ridge of the mountain. The initial climb was tedious work. I plunged each foot into the thick snow one after the other for what seemed like hours. Finally, I made the ridge line that would take me to the summit direct. The views at that point made me burst into tears. Too many mountains to count! In this moment in time, I realized that the summit was within reach! I was at it for three and a half hours. It would take me four hours total to reach the summit. I took a swig of my gatorade and moved on towards the top. When I made the summit, I jumped with joy. It hit me like a ton of bricks. All of my hard work had payed off. I stayed up on the desolate peak for about five minutes than headed back down, this time with a leap in my step. I celebrated with some cold drinks and reminisced about the adventure that I just had.
Here are some pictures of gear that I take on one day mountain climbing trips in the winter months. Note that the mountains I currently climb are non technical so make sure to consult an expert in the field if you are considering technical climbing! Thank you. Also, this gear list was planned around temperatures in the sub zero range with possible wind and rain. Happy climbing!
This has been my first post since I finished hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail. I want to say thank you again to all that followed my adventures. This next chapter in my life has involved me moving to Alaska to pursue a career in the outdoor guiding industry for hiking/backpacking, mountaineering, and/or especially fly fishing. Recently, I discovered a passion for mountaineering, one of the most challenging, yet rewarding outdoor activities out there. When I was a fishing guide in Estes Park, CO in the summer of 2013, I climbed my first mountain (Long’s Peak) which has an elevation of 14,256 feet. Since then, I’ve went on to summit 12 mountains, 7 of which were in Colorado and five here in my home of Alaska. There lies an intimate beauty with mountains. The history, culture, nature, science, and the people that surround these exaggerated risen pieces of the earth crust lures the curious one to the mountain’s front doorstep. The precipice beckons. The crux makes us question our margin of safety. People who have perished in the rarefied air of higher elevations is a mystery. The mountains were once sacred and feared. They were reserved for the Gods. In present time, mountaineering presents a feasible outlet to escape the demands of everyday life and societal norms. I consider the mountains my home. My freedom ground. All it took was one climb. The climb that started it all.