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Diamond

The Diamond on the approach trail

The Diamond on the approach trail

I started climbing almost 16 years ago and have dreamed of climbing The Diamond on Long’s Peak for about that long.  Seeing pictures of the high alpine wall has brought these words to mind, “Someday I will good enough to climb that”.  It’s strange how your mind makes some things so intimidating, so big but become less so when you commit and confront your resistance and trepidation.  Go time happened this past summer.  It was Monday afternoon when the call came.  

“Do you want to do the Diamond this weekend?” Chris Smith asked.

“Yes.” I responded immediately.

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Good Ol’ Melvin

(Story from Summer 2015 adventures)

Lumpy, Estes Park, Colorado

Lumpy, Estes Park, Colorado

“Emily, don’t fall here.  Seriously.”  I say.

As soon as the words leave my mouth I realize that probably wasn’t the best thing to say.  A fall was imminent and wanted to warn her of the dangers of falling in her position.   I could see the fear bubbling up while being faced with a 20 foot tumbling swing.

“Be calm.  You got this.”  I say as her leg moves into a position of immobility.

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Emily Faith Kilmer - Andrew, thank you for making my day. Sometimes, lately, I have been caught up in the grades. “I am so weak, I can’t climb…” The list goes on, but I have been trying to remember why I got into climbing in the first place. I began climbing in a gym in Nebraska and dreaming about being like my fellow Nebraska gym climbers who moved to Colorado and were outside having fun. Friends, nature, and fun….and that cold beer afterwards. That’s why I love climbing. You are one of my best friends Andrew. Thanks for always keeping me safe while pushing my limits. Can’t wait to go on more adventures.December 18, 2016 – 10:48 am

Andrew - Thank you for your words. “Friends, nature, and fun…” I should put that somewhere where I see it everyday to keep me aimed in a positive direction. It’s always fun climbing with you and can’t wait for the next adventure!!!!December 19, 2016 – 3:50 pm

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Colors of the Red River Gorge

On many occasions, Sebastion (aka Sebs, aka Professor Crush) has suggested we make a trip to Kentucky’s Red River George. Though the RRG is the preeminent sport climbing destination in the United States, I always considered ‘sport climbing destination’ to be oxymoronic, usually keeping my bolt clipping local while building longer trips around intimidating trad destinations that shred both the skin and the nerves. But the RRG is on every serious climber’s bucket list and the prospect of a week climbing amazing sandstone with great friends was too enticing to let my idealism derail the fun.

So Many Puppies

Too Many Puppies (Photo: Tyler Scheer)

I also knew that Sebs, who in his Chicago days spent many weekends roadtripping to the Red, would give a first class tour. So I sent the hang dog bat signal out and Tyler, Kevin and Andrew answered the call, joining us from Boulder.

Ryan nearing the chains on Crown of Thorns

Ryan nearing the chains on Crown of Thorns


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Andrew - I had a great time exploring a new area! Thanks for setting things up and getting us out there. Next time, I will not be doing work while on vacation!!!April 12, 2016 – 8:42 am

Eli - Wow, beautiful. I love that second to last photo.April 13, 2016 – 6:25 pm

Tyler - Thanks, Eli! That climb actually looks like that – there wasn’t much photoshopping done!

Adam, thanks for the post. It was amazing to get out there with you and climb some again. What a great place. We should plan the next big trip soon.April 23, 2016 – 11:38 pm

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The Illusion of Control

We stood around the blue light of our headlamps discussing the options.  Do we sit tight and wait it out?  What supplies do we have?  What are the skies doing?  Is that the howling wind or rushing water?  These questions needed to be asked to ensure the right decisions were made about surviving the night or at a minimum until the storm passes.

Up until this moment all climbing epics that I have experienced have been minor:  forgetting a head lamp and being benighted, it gets cold but not cold enough that motion can’t keep you warm, or having your rope stuck and having to make due with a cut short rope.  All these situations are simple mistakes or circumstances that have the potential to turn into something more serious however never have.  Our current situation was different and we were faced with serious consequences if a wrong choice was made.

Morning at Red Rocks. Photo: Andrew Kuklinski

Morning at Red Rocks. Photo: Andrew Kuklinski

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Eli - For once, I am glad I wasn’t out climbing with you. :) Glad you’re ok buddy.March 22, 2016 – 7:27 pm

Kate - Wow! I second Eli- glad I wasn’t there! =) Happy you guys made it out and that a search and rescue wasn’t needed!March 29, 2016 – 2:32 pm

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The Many Faces of Whitney

The sunset shadow of Mount Whitney drapes for miles across grey talus fields that descend into mossy stair step alpine meadows. When moonlight ices over the last traces of warm red hue, Whitney’s massive east face towers in silver above, a frozen slab of vertical granite that shrinks you smaller than a star against the black night sky. Nowhere in the continental United States does a peak rise higher, and nowhere does the brushstroke of the Milky Way stand as bright against the universe’s canvas. Yet, somewhere in the breath, the echo or the vast silence of the place, even a blind man would not mistake that he stood in the presence of a monster.

The sun setting behind Keeler Needle with Mt. Whitney to the right

The sun setting behind Keeler Needle with Mt. Whitney to the right

Our goal was the summit via the historic East Face route, which, astonishingly, was first climbed in 1931. Though not difficult by today’s standards, the route is known for circuitous route finding, breathtaking exposure and, of course, climbing above 14,000 feet.

But before any of that, you have to get to the base.
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kris - Superbly written, Adam. I love that opening paragraph, and it along with the closing one wonderfully describe the attraction and thrill of climbing in the Eastern Sierra alpine. Phew, I needed that.December 17, 2015 – 7:28 pm

Tyler - Awesome! Beautifully written. Congrats on the summit, Adam and David, sounds like you earned it!December 17, 2015 – 8:23 pm

Eli - Really enjoyed reading this, makes me want to get outside!December 20, 2015 – 3:44 pm

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Valhalla to the Shore

To an outsider looking in, California climbing is a caricature of cathartic meccas: Yosemite big walls, Bishop perfection, and Joshua Tree Joshua trees. But to a local, the cliffs between those cathedrals are just as inspiring. With Tahquitz and Suicide Rock, Black Mountain, Tahoe, the endless shoreline, the Sierras and so much more, lifetimes of climbing await the next stranger in search of a familiar home.

Contemplating the last of Cracker Boy

Contemplating the last of Cracker Boy

During the last 12 months, I’ve spent my weekends exploring the monuments that don’t often feature in film tours.
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Andrew - I will go! I have been discussing with Kris some adventures in the Sierras this fall. I need to heal first through, maybe that will be enough time. September or October?July 1, 2015 – 11:09 am

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