Pushing Back Against Winter

There are two themes to the December Grid so far.  First is the question whether I can get all 35 done, with the latest challenge being a sore knee and a tight groin, which together led me to abort an attempt on Big Indian and Doubletop earlier this week.  The second, and more interesting theme, is the effort to “push back” against the grim cold conditions of winter, especially on the part of someone who’s pretty comfortable in the heat (even back in the day running in summertime Death Valley) and for whom the cold can be a little intimidating.  As it happened, the other day an email showed up from the Wim Hof organization promoting a new book by investigative journalist Scott Carney, titled “What Doesn’t Kill us,” which profiles the author’s experiences with some of the cold-training methods that have made Wim Hof famous, culminating in a shirtless climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Over the last few years I’ve played around with some of the Wim Hof techniques, and this new book sparked my interest again, and helped me stoke a little bid of attitude with which to confront the cold.  (Also, I signed up for ten 10-week Wim Hof instructional video series, so it will be interesting to see what I learn going forward.)

Continue reading “Pushing Back Against Winter”

Pushing Back Against Winter

Notes from a hike

Time is short and so in lieu of writing up a narrative, here are some notes and images from a recent traverse of Graham, Balsam Lake, Hunter, East Rusk, Rusk, and SW Hunter — 27 miles that left me tired and hungry, but which contained several memorable moments, thanks to glorious February sunshine, dramatic winds, and the unavoidable adventures associated with nighttime bushwhacking.

The pleasure and value of every walk or journey we take may be doubled to us by carefully noting down the impression it makes upon us….It was not till after I got home that I really went to Maine, or to the Adirondacks, or to Canada.  Out of the chaotic and nebulous impressions which these expeditions gave me, I evolved the real experience.  There is hardly anything that does not become much more in the telling than in the thinking or in the feeling.

— John Burroughs

Continue reading “Notes from a hike”

Notes from a hike

First-ever Winter Bushwhacks

On the drive up to the Catskills, the early morning clouds were tinged with red, and then as the road snaked higher into the mountains, a burning eyeball appeared in the rear view mirror, a circle of fire smoldering between mountain ridge and lowering sky; it was like someone had opened a furnace door.  But on reaching the trailhead, all was gray again, and snowflakes were twirling in the air.

A few minutes later, my friend Amy arrived.  Her friend Serguey was supposed to meet us, too, but he was running late and had texted her not to wait, so the two of us set off.  My weekend goal was to bag six peaks, four of them off trail, and these would be first-ever winter bushwhacks for both Amy and me…

[Author’s note:  after writing this blog post, I recalled that my first ever winter bushwhack was almost a year earlier, when some friends and I attempted to complete the Nine.]

Continue reading “First-ever Winter Bushwhacks”

First-ever Winter Bushwhacks