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Part of our series: Voices of the Mountains

Voices of the Mountains, the latest series for the Uphill Athlete Podcast, is devoted to the unique stories of those who choose the mountains. Each episode explores what it means to be a human in complex and challenging environments.

On the latest episode, Steve and Alyssa welcome Chantelle and her athlete, Branden Joy, to discuss Branden’s self-designed Scandinavian Arctic Traverse. The route spanned nine hundred and eighty five miles of which Branden covered using a backcountry ski set up and a snow kite, all while pulling a sled full of his supplies. The four discuss Branden’s background in endurance sports and the unique journey he has taken to creating his own endurance adventures. Chantelle and Branden explain Branden’s unique training situation of living and working in Antartica prior to his traverse, and how they adapted to prepare him for the journey. The four dig into the deeper meanings and findings that come from endurance endeavours and explore the why behind what we search for in the mountains.

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00:04.98
Steve
Welcome to the Uphill Athlete Podcast our mission is to elevate and inspire all mountain athletes through education and celebration. My name is Steve House and I will be your host today along with Chantelle and Alyssa Clark and we are excited to welcome a fascinating guest on the podcast today, Branden Joy. Brandan has been coached by Chantelle for nearly four years and recently returned from the Scandinavian Arctic traverse which is a traverse spanning nine hundred and eighty five miles not a thousand 985 using skis, a snow kite.

00:44.13
Steve
And a kayak he did this adventure completely solo and designed the route himself and were here to dig into his preparation experiences on the trip. Branden welcome to the podcast.

00:57.50
Branden
Thanks Steve for having me.

01:03.18
Steve
So well actually Branden just other than that introduction like what would you like to tell people about yourself like how do you go about introducing yourself you know I mean let’s skip the what do you do for work kind of thing like how do you describe yourself.

01:20.36
Branden
Yeah I think when I talk to other people that don’t know me I tend to really gloss over a lot of the things that I do because I don’t really identify as like anything in particular an ultra runner or a climber or a skier I feel like. I have skills in a lot of these different areas. But I’m not like I don’t primarily focus on any of them. So I think I really try to get into more of the endurance side of things and just spending time moving in the mountains I think that’s easier to connect with in general if I start just talking about the Scandinavia trip or some other things that I do people tend to get a little bit confused.

02:15.35
Steve
Chantelle like you’ve been coaching Branden for a long time and you know we all know that after that much time a coach knows our athlete better than they sometimes know themselves how would you introduce Branden to someone as I’m sure you’ve done.

02:27.20
Chantelle
Wow! Well Branden to me is the most diverse athlete that I’ve ever worked with and when I started working with Branden way back in 2020 Branden was preparing for a running race in was it in Mexico. Branden that race you were preparing for.

02:42.89
Branden
Yes, yes.

02:46.31
Chantelle
Was preparing for a running race in Mexico and wanting to get faster and he was doing the typical you know stuff you can get away with in your early 20s you know, just beating yourself every time you went out and then getting a little frustrated because he wasn’t getting any faster but even though he was in his twenties and able to get away with a lot of stuff. He really had a real sense of maturity about him and he just would soak up and listen to anything that I said so if I told him to do something. He’d go do it and it would be exactly the way I asked him to go do it which was a lot of fun. And so I started coaching this runner who all of a sudden starts telling me about these other crazy things that he’s scheming up so I felt like a little like he pulled the wool over my eyes in the beginning with the real goals that he had but it’s been really fun to watch him develop over time from you know, planning to do this. Just this running race in Mexico to doing the Bob Marshall open which he’s done twice which is a wild ninety mile unsupported traverse I can’t even say route. It’s a traverse of the Bob Marshall wilderness in Montana you figure out how you’re going to get across it. But it’s there’s no trail. So he’s done that twice now. He also then dreamed up this project that he called the Montana top 50 and so he researched the top 50 peaks in Montana and summited them all completely solo and unsupported and before that set his caches and that was about eighty miles on foot. So it’s you know he just dreams up all these really amazing things and those are just some of the small ones but he’s meticulous with planning. He’s an environmental engineer by trade. So I think he comes by it pretty honestly, he’s really organized. He can somehow handle by himself for a long time but at the same time. He’s also just a really fun person to talk to He’s a pretty deep thinker. He’s a great cook I will say that he’s made us lots of great meals whenever he’s visited and has a pretty fun sense of humor that I think carries him a long way in these solo adventures that he does so I’m excited for more of you to get to know him a little bit the way that I do.

05:57.37
Steve
So Brendan you lit up a little bit when she mentioned cooking what sort of things. What’s your best dish?

06:04.14
Branden
Oh I feel like I have a lot but it’s got to be the salmon. It’s a creamy tuscany Salmon I don’t know the proper name of the dish something along those lines I call it.

06:07.40
Chantelle
It’s got to be that salmon.

06:10.67
Steve
What’s the salmon tell me about the salmon I want to know.

06:21.43
Branden
Salmon gumbo because it has a base of heavy cream and wilted then you simmer that with some wilted spinach and bunch fresh garlic and sauteed onions and mushrooms and you saute the salmon separately and then combine it all at the end with some rice. And then it’s kind of a wet salmon dish and it’s pretty phenomenal. Some fresh cherry tomatoes as well.

06:45.81
Chantelle
So good.

06:46.82
Alyssa
Wow that sounds amazing I think Steve.

06:50.15
Steve
Ah, sounds amazing. I mean you had me at heavy cream but you know that sounds great. Wow, it’s interesting. I find that there’s a lot of introverts out there that are really good cooks. Does that describe you Brendan?

07:08.91
Branden
Yeah I don’t know is 1 thing I’ve kind of contemplated over the years is if I’m more introverted or extroverted I feel as if I’m a bit of a hybrid I think I can excel and get a lot of energy from social iInteractions, but I also definitely need time by myself I don’t lean one way hard or the other but the cooking has always been a big part of my life and just eating well and especially as I’m more focused and serious about training.

07:45.91
Branden
I think I’m more serious and focused about just eating high-quality food and eating things that I want to enjoy.

07:52.76
Steve
Yeah.

07:55.36
Alyssa
First of all I can relate to the introvert extrovert I think I don’t know if it’s introvertedness. It’s more just the ability. It’s like the space to really discover yourself and who you are and to give yourself time to think. I always think of it as that because I do a lot solo as well and I did actually I think later on want to dig into how you managed the soloness of this journey because that is a long time to be by yourself. But I really quickly I’m curious. How did you take this love of cooking and how do you apply it to a longer trip like what were your strategies for that? That’s probably sorry I’m opening a can of worms but I guess just quickly and then we can go back and I’m supposed to be the referee.

08:39.37
Chantelle
We should have a whole podcast on we could have a whole podcast on what people eat it would be fascinating.

08:49.84
Branden
Yeah, that’s a really good question and when people ask me what I ate for example on the Scandinavia trip I just preface it by saying that my journey in the food that I ate was not a culinary experience that I wouldn’t recommend my diet to anyone nor would I be at all excited about having those types of meals when I’m back in the US or wherever I am in society I think. And that was also the first big trip that I did where I didn’t have precise control over my food in nutrition intake like I did as Chantelle mentioned the 50 peaks I set caches and each cache had. twenty to twenty-five thousand calories of very specific food that I knew I could find here or I could order online cliff bars, gu gels you know my favorite assortment of candies you name it whereas in even the Bob Marshall trips or I also did a traverse of Grand Teton and yellowstone national park a couple years ago which inspired this trip and all of those trips I had full control over the food and I would either bring everything with me from the start or have caches in this in the ski trip.

10:17.87
Branden
It would have been way too expensive to mail everything to myself to like strategic locations along the way and hope the hotels got it and there weren’t translation issues and there were so many resupply spots that it just made sense to resupply at grocery stores. So I looked on Google maps and on the left hand side when you click on a grocery store. It’ll show you the photos of whatever strange people decided to take photos and post it online of like the fruit section or the rice aisle I have no idea but I assume that they’d have enough resupply. More than bananas and sardines for me to be able to take to load up on and that was the case so I was always I don’t say a victim of whatever the grocery store had to offer and I just had to be creative and everything was also in different languages. So sometimes I’d have to I didn’t know if I was holding a bag of oatmeal or flour and I had to walk around and ask people in the grocery store like hey sorry I don’t speak swedish but what is this? Can you help me out and so that was kind of the approach to the food and I tried to make it as enjoyable as I could and also focused on just getting as many calories in as I could in the cold climate.

11:44.35
Steve
Let’s talk about that for a second I want to hear what was your daily like I mean this is a thousand miles you’re going like paint a picture. What do we see when we see Branden out there in the middle of the white great whiteness of the Scandinavian Arctic you know last winter. What would we see if we were flying over you? What would it look like?

12:05.88
Branden
Yeah I think the day to day in general was waking up. It was very cold usually towards the end it got a lot warmer and I had some issues with that and snow melt. But for the most part it was just wake up.

12:25.52
Branden
Turn on the stove start melting snow have some coffee, eat. The oatmeal was my staple breakfast with an assortment of dried fruit and I put in protein powder along the way and some other things I could sprinkle in nuts or seeds and whatnot and then I would pack up camp, pack the sled and then mostly walk I think 80% of the miles covered was just skinny skiing. So it’s mostly that and move throughout the day. And get to a good place to set up camp in the evening as it got dark or whenever I thought it was a good time and then repeat the process in the opposite manner from the morning. I guess it’s very similar actually but setup camp, melt snow, get in the tent, try and stay warm and then go to sleep soon after.

13:27.22
Steve
And what does it? What is the environment like were you on snow the whole time you say cold. What are you talking about very cold. What are we talking about degree Farenheit would give us some context.

13:43.55
Branden
Yeah I planned the trip for worst case scenario with these types of trips you have to go in expecting it’s going to be the coldest it could possibly be or else you’re going to have a bad time or you’re not going to come home. So I set the threshold with the yellowstone trip and also this trip as just negative forty fahrenheit or also negative C to just be the foundation for the equipment that I would bring and in the beginning of the trip I started and early March right after I got back from Antarctica it was a super fast transition and I flew to Norway and in I think it got down to about ambient temperature negative 15 but it was also windy so wind shell. Maybe negative 25 for a few days, few nights and that was pretty taxing just to be out there for that long and still have to go through the daily routine and as you all know it’s just general stove operation and setting up a tent and dealing with a lighter dealing with ski bindings. There’s a lot of finicky things that require finesse with your motor function that you can’t do with huge gloves on and so the cold eventually turned to be a lot warmer and towards the end of the trip. It started to get above freezing during the day, especially with the solar radiation. The snow was getting softer and spring came early to the north I think. If there’s a spectrum of like a record spring early spring and also like a record late spring early and late spring this was leaned more towards the early spring spectrum and I also was traversing such a large distance that certain areas that I was going through.

15:52.89
Branden
And I would talk to locals. They would say oh this is the most snow we’ve had in like 10 years this is crazy and then I’d get another one hundred miles and they’d say wow there is a big warm spell and this is the least amount of snow we’ve seen here in and the last ten years so there’s a lot of geographic fluctuation with how the climate was impacting the snow conditions and so two-thirds of the way through the trip. The snow really started getting above freezing during the day and so I started traveling at night.

16:28.19
Branden
And at that point it was almost 24 hours daylight there’s only a few nights of headlamp requirement I would say and then the last big section I did on skis was one hundred and eighty miles between resupply locations and snow it turned into I would say dire straits and a self evac situation when I thought it was hard to I thought the whole concept of doing this in winter was like ridiculous enough.

17:03.69
Chantelle
Yeah, no contest.

17:04.18
Steve
Yeah, we all agree with you on that.

17:04.74
Branden
Right? I think ever at Chantelle and I think that no one disagreed with that and no one told me anything of the opposite opinion before I left what I didn’t imagine.

17:06.51
Alyssa
Um, yeah, yep.

17:20.43
Branden
And what I didn’t expect was for the snow to melt and for me to be having to deal with melting lakes and open rivers and really soft snow and crazy snow glop on the skins and my sled trenching behind me like an anchor and.

17:37.33
Steve
So the back just went isothermal and kind of collapsed on you just wasn’t supportive anymore.

17:39.39
Branden
All of the things.

17:43.21
Branden
Yeah, totally, and or it was just gone like yeah, most of the last year I would say it’s very mixed honestly.

17:48.98
Steve
Porous is gone but which is almost better actually right.

17:53.60
Chantelle
Well not when you’re dragging a sled and you’re on skis. Yeah.

17:54.52
Alyssa
A little bit of moment.

18:01.87
Branden
They’re the last most of the last couple weeks that I was on skis. It was either dry ground or it was say two feet two and a half feet of just pure slush the top six inches would look like snow but then I’m just sinking down like a foot with my skis and it’s just wet.

18:17.65
Steve
Yeah, it’s just.

18:21.51
Branden
So I take off my skis and then I’m just in alpine ski boots and the bottom half of that depth is just water so my ski boots are getting flooded and it’s just two and a half feet deep of slush and it’s pushing forward and like against my hips and my sled behind me.

18:28.33
Steve
Yeah, yeah.

18:39.53
Branden
So depending on what type of tundra or rocky terrain there was in that area or if it was grassy it was more efficient just to put my skis on my back or on my sled and drag my sled across the tundra.

18:51.82
Steve
Yeah I’ve done some of this kind of maneuvers in you know, late winter, early spring mountaineering in Canada and I’m sure you crawled right? Did you try the crawl technique where you like get you know surface area out as far as you can try to shimmy across.

19:11.34
Branden
Wow I didn’t even cross my mind I would have I felt like I would have been swimming if that was the case I did not. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

19:13.62
Steve
Try to distribute your weight and not go into the actual slushy wet water underneath all that. That’s the worst. No I never had a sled you know I was but we did sometimes.

19:24.77
Branden
Yeah, but were you dragging a sled as well.

19:33.62
Steve
Take our backpacks off and drag them behind us because they distribute the weight away from our bodies.

19:36.87
Branden
Yeah I think that would be a lot more practical if there was not a hundred pound sled behind me.

19:44.31
Steve
Yeah, and I was also say like I mean totally different scenario right? I was also going downhill because we’d been up and climbing something and we’re coming back. So I wasn’t like trying to make distance and your the different scenario.

19:50.70
Chantelle
Oh yeah.

19:58.70
Alyssa
I was actually going to ask what does the terrain actually look like is it pretty flat or is it undulating mountainous.

20:06.36
Steve
Yeah, good question.

20:09.30
Branden
Yeah, and one of the most interesting things about the trip and one of the reasons that I gravitated towards it was because it was so diverse most of the trips that I’ve done are siloed in one type of terrain if it’s alpine or forest and I haven’t really done much of any water stuff but I could assume that would also be the same in terms of just being isolated to that type of area where this went. It started on the ocean and then it went up into the mountains and then there was fluctuation between forests like dense forests and sparse forests and I went through the largest mountain range in Sweden and there was a lot of mountains along the way. I tried to stay down low in the valleys. It wasn’t really a trip to be doing a bunch of ski mountaineering and I didn’t really have time for that. So I tried to make it as minimal topographic change as possible and then there was also the tundra the second half of the trip was I would say predominantly tundra. And I thought it was going to be a lot flatter like I had this visual and looking at topo maps just like oh it’s flat but you get there and it’s just continuously going up and down. You can never get a good vantage point where the snow is melting and I would want to see where I wanted to go through the labyrinths of snow veins. I could get up a little bit and see like a hundred yards and then eventually it ended back at the ocean as well.

21:54.94
Steve
So what brought you to these ultra endurance I mean I guess we can call it. I’d actually like to categorize it as ultra adventure because I don’t think this is a real endurance event as much as an adventure event. What draws you to these what draws you to this?

22:11.71
Branden
Yeah that’s a good question I think that it was really a natural progression in my life over a large number of years I never envisioned myself doing these types of things. And when I was in high school. Yeah I had like a standard like childhood like playing soccer growing up and doing cross country and track in high school but I barely made the junior varsity team for racing 5k’s when I was a senior so I wasn’t some like genetic prodigy or really felt like a lot of I don’t want to call it ego but like I I didn’t get a lot of like validation from really excelling at this and so I would continue on that trend a lot of these things just came up naturally in my life and I found particularly during difficult periods of my life solace and movement and it helped me to work through some challenging times I would say and during college I started doing triathlons. And my first triathlon was a half iron man and I didn’t know how to swim at the time and I was just like watching Youtube videos and eventually did it. I thought I was going to drown and it was terrifying but that was a big first event and then eventually worked my way up to a full iron man. I think the next year again very like average or below average for males in those races but I just really found the process of training and moving to be exciting and I was going to school in Montana University and there’s all types of things to do there. So I started mountain biking and doing a bit of trail running and climbing and backpacking and doing some winter stuff but none of it was ever with this vision of combining it all together in these kind of heroic like multi-month trips. It wasn’t until covid actually that changed and as Chantelle mentioned when we started working together. I was very race focused. I had done some climbing and was interested in pushing the boundaries of say like lower technicality or I don’t know moderate technicality mountain efforts with say like scrambling but also endurance and also ultras and with a definite primary focus on ultras themselves and trail running and at some point covid happened out of the blue.

25:14.50
Branden
And all my races were extinguished one by one and I think for a lot of people covid was a really terrible thing in general and a lot of people got sick and a lot of people died. But I think it forced our society to invest more time into themselves and to take on new hobbies or to think outside of the box to try to not go crazy and when the races were canceled 1 by 1 at some point I just got fed up with it. I said I just want to do my own thing and I don’t want any permits. No gathering group restrictions. Nothing out of state. No support, I just want to do this totally on my own and no one can stop me. And that’s where the the concept of the 50 peaks thing came into place and yeah, go on.

26:10.63
Steve
So yeah I just want to want to stop you there because I don’t know if I should ask you this or Chantelle this but maybe Chantelle it should start with you like how do you go about coaching for this an event. Like an ultra adventure.

26:30.67
Chantelle
Well there’s just a lot more that goes into it right? If you’re doing a race you pay your money right? You show up, you get a map, you get the course that you can download onto your watch in advance. You know that there’s going to be aid stations every however I mean could be every 5 it could be every twenty miles and you go and you do the thing right? You train for it. You prepare when it’s just a blank slate. You have to do all of that stuff yourself like Branden had to figure out the route, he had to research the criteria to determine the top 50 peaks of Montana. He had to map it all out. He had to he spent oh my gosh if we only we had tallied it up Branden but had to figure out you know what some of these peaks had no names they were just numbers. No one and he’s scouring the internet to see is there any beta has anyone climbed these before and a lot of them had no record of anyone climbing them so he really didn’t know what he was going to experience out there. We also had to spend a lot of time preparing what he was going to eat so we worked out how many calories he was going to need per day to calculate where each cache should be and how much food should be contained there and then because Branden is Branden he wanted to do all of this on foot. So all those caches eighty miles or so worth that was all done on foot before he actually started the the project.

28:03.52
Chantelle
Had to introduce Branden to the Garmin inreach because I was terrified of him being out in that kind of grizzly country by himself as were his parents. So got a Garmin inreach and had to figure out how to use that help his parents understand how they could track him. And check in with one another. There’s just so many small little things that you have to think about in terms of what is it going to look like and also thinking about like what can go wrong and trying to pre-prepare for all of those things and pre-pre preparere for the different skills Branden was going to have to use on this trip. So obviously hiking moving pretty slowly and deliberate gear selection like he couldn’t carry 5 different types of shoes right? So he had to choose shoes that he could move around in but also climb in he had to practice different types of climbing for what he might encounter as well. So it was a lot more logistical in terms of planning but also logistical in terms of training to make sure that he was prepared for the different types of things that he was going to encounter out there.

29:17.66
Steve
Okay, but so you talked a lot about like all the logistics and the prep and stuff but in terms of the the training like the workouts and the nitty- gritty of the day-to-day I mean when you’re digging around on the internet. You don’t need to wear your heart rate monitor at least I don’t think but how did you prepare Branden for this such diverse things like I mean this thing in Scandinavia especially is interesting to me where you know it’s so long I mean I know what these kind of things are generally like I’ve never done anything like that. But just like how do you even classify something like that. You just go all in on base training. Did you do any specificity. To do and then definitely lots of base training like lots of zone one. You know, technically zone one you know zone 2 stuff lots of hiking but also trail running. Branden did a fair bit of bouldering. And also some free climbing in there as well. Because those were the main skills that were going to be necessary for that one. The lead up to the scandinavian traverse that was a whole other animal because Branden didn’t have access to a regular life. He was working and spent a good chunk of time in Antarctica before that. That was totally different. Trying to figure out he was working super long days so he had to count for the time that he was on his feet working. The limited time that he had available to train but also taking into account the fatigue involved when he’s working super long days. On a physical job. So trying to you know, find the sort of the the minimum maximum that we could fit in.

31:14.68
Steve
So Branden how you were in McMurdo station in the months what six months leading up to this arctic traverse. So yeah, how do you? First of all, what the heck were you doing down there and second of all how did you train like actually train. What were the logistics?

31:36.44
Branden
Yeah, I had a contract to go to McMurdo station and that was the decision point for me to actually do this Scandinavia trip in the first place I knew is something I wanted to do but I didn’t know when. Contract ended in February like say mid-february ish and so I knew that the timing would line up perfectly to then go to scandinavia and I was working down there as a carpenter supporting. You know there’s two components one is we’ll call it the town handyman. Someone like my window won’t shut or my door fell off or someone kicked a hole in that ceiling so we had to go fix those things and my job in particular was more focused on field support. So I spent most of the season preparing for a new structure install at a remote science camp called cape crozier where we then were transported out via helicopter and I spent three weeks out there basically digging holes into permafrost with a picmatic. Which I wouldn’t really wish on anyone but it was cool.

32:52.83
Chantelle
Very unusual training.

32:56.40
Steve
Because you’re like trying to set it down so where you can put in a foundation or get down what is that? What’s a picmatic is that like a hydraulic like chip like giant hammer and I don’t know where even what that is.

33:10.53
Branden
I wish it was a big mechanical tool but instead it was my weak little arms and back that had to put the elbow grease into it. Yeah the name is misleading.

33:17.96
Steve
Yeah, okay, yeah, ah.

33:18.65
Chantelle
It doesn’t sound like it’s any kind of magic.

33:23.70
Alyssa
Um, yeah, also how many times did Frankie kick a hole into the building. That’s what I want to know is that was used as an example, the people frequently down there kick holes into buildings.

33:39.19
Branden
Yeah, you know there’s a limited amount of things that you can do in McMurdo. They don’t let you like venture out too much so you have to get creative and maybe have a couple white claws and then some things happen down.

33:56.90
Branden
And that station you know what? I mean so Steve to answer your question the digging these holes and so we had footers there wood based footers because it doesn’t rain so they’re not necessarily going to rot like they would in Seattle. And they were approximately two feet by two feet and the foundation for these footers. We’ll call them on a slope say degree so we had to clear and there was a lot of volcanic rock. This is the top 4 largest penguin colonies in the world. There are delhi penguins and there’s penguin scientists that hang out there during the austral summer to do all things penguin related and we’re building them a new modest mobile home size structure.

34:49.75
Steve
And so you got to like hang out with the penguins and like knock holes in the in the ground that sounds all right.

34:51.62
Branden
This was yeah.

34:57.10
Chantelle
Fix holes in ceilings.

34:57.60
Branden
Yeah, and fix holes and ceilings. Yeah that’s that’s that’s kind of it. Everything at Cape Crozier is is helly supported There’s no overland way to get there. That’s not ridiculous because you have it’s a heavily, Ross Island, is heavily glaciated and it’s not feasible so we didn’t have like a backhoe or an excavator or anything to to dig holes. So we just had hand tools and the picmatic is one side. It’s like a flat bill like a beak of a platypus or like a spade a hoe that you go and use in your yard and the other side is pointy like a fireman’s axe that on that pointy side. And that was the side that we used to dig into the permafrost. So the first six inches was say volcanic rock and it would scrape off but after that it was just an assortment of sand gravel cobbles everything you could imagine solidified together. With ice so we had to dig down to create flat base for these footers to go on to.

36:08.96
Steve
Hell.

36:12.57
Steve
Yeah, and so Chantelle again like as a coach you’ve got this guy out there. He’s presumably offline for three weeks and you know he’s going to be doing a bunch of manual labor with some bizarre tool.

36:20.25
Chantelle
Me here.

36:31.20
Steve
And how do you coach around that?

36:35.20
Chantelle
Yeah, it was tough because communication was pretty limited. There were times where he was reachable by phone so we could have a phone call and kind of talk about the upcoming weeks and make a bit of a plan. But you can imagine being in a remote place like this and it’s also pretty extreme environment sometime it wouldn’t be at parts of the time. Not safe to go and exercise outdoors because of the cold so that would mean Branden would have to go on a treadmill. What did you call it? Branden you had a name.

37:07.30
Branden
Yeah, there are 2 gyms. Well small gyms in McMurdo and the one of the gyms had the cardio equipment stationary bikes and treadmills and that was called the Gerbil gym. Yeah, and the other.

37:07.81
Chantelle
For the treadmill.

37:21.32
Chantelle
That’s right the Gerbil gym I couldn’t remember the name so Branden.

37:25.91
Branden
Yeah, real quick. The other one I like to had all the free weights and a little yoga studio type thing and bench press and squats and that one was called the Beef palace.

37:36.50
Chantelle
The beef palace and the gerbil gym so he had access to those however because he’s there sort of in a work camp environment. There’s a cafeteria and the cafeteria only serves meals at a certain time so that would mean Branden would have. You know he would finish work. He would have a small gap of time between dinner between finishing work and dinner time and then there would be a small window of time after dinner and bed. But you can’t really you know train well on a full stomach. So we’d have to try to see like what can we cram into that little bit of time before dinner so that he could then eat and get a good rest. So a lot of that was on in the gerbil gym on the treadmill. Um, there were a few other times we could you know do some things outside like he did Everest an observation tower but also like being out there. It’s permafrost. Small things that we think about here that we can’t do there is you can’t pee outside because it’s not going to go anywhere so you got to you know if you yeah either, you don’t go.

38:36.84
Steve
And.

38:48.56
Chantelle
You go indoors or you go in a bottle and you carry it around so you know some interesting logistical things we had to think about there so I was either treadmill time on the treadmill. Some strength training, mobility work. Mobility work was really key because Branden was already doing a lot of physical work and he’s had a few little injuries in the past we want to make sure that everything was working well so we had to keep up with Branden’s pt exercises and some other mobility stuff and really a lot of the the physical labor took made up. A good chunk of what Branden did for his training. The other piece was you know, making sure that really he was eating enough and trying to prioritize rest not just cramming in a whole ton of additional work on his one and a half days off or. Not at all days off sometimes.

39:49.72
Branden
Yeah, and to clarify the work there required was on a standard week throughout the season is six days, sixty hours and when I was three weeks at Cape Crozier it was seven days a week and the job there’s no PTO.

40:01.77
Steve
Yeah.

40:06.73
Branden
We had a couple holidays say it like Thanksgiving and New Year’s but it was very consistent work and I had to first get to Chantelle told me you know when we were talking about the training like how do we set this up to for me to be successful. Optimize success for the Scandinavia trip but if Chantelle said Branden just wait don’t overthink it don’t stress about it just get to Mcmurdo spend the first couple weeks get adjusted get in your new living situation see what the food is like see what the feeding times are like see how much. Like we’ll call it a training load that the actual carpentry like how physical it is. Are you standing there with the drill. Are you carrying lumber around all day and then from there we can help work to optimize your time without overloading you. Or without you getting burned out mentally.

41:05.24
Steve
And it sounds like it worked like doing you left for Scandinavia. Did you feel ready or were you a little bit I don’t know how this is going to go?

41:16.21
Chantelle
Well, we did have to cram in some kite skiing lessons between Antarctica and the trip because Branden was planning to use a kite on this expedition. I also like to to pick on Branden when he brings up these new modalities. That well Branden you better, get some proficiency with these and get the help of an expert so he had a crash course in kiting beforehand. So that he could use the kite where it was possible to use it to help. Move a little bit quicker where possible on the traverse way to cram that in.

41:54.19
Steve
How long did that take is that like how long does it take to learn to kite ski or whatever it’s called is that like a day is that like the week. What is it? What are you talking about?

42:07.84
Branden
Yeah I mean when you say learn does that mean to get really good at it or to like to be able to launch a kite and not have it drag you on the ground for ten miles yeah or trees.

42:16.78
Chantelle
Or launch the kite into the trees.

42:18.65
Steve
Or yeah I mean like I can relate this to climbing okay like five six proficiency in climbing how long does that take.

42:30.37
Branden
I would say for me being a proficient skier was a day I think most people if you can ski or snowboard. It’s a day so I took two lessons I had after Antarctica.

42:47.39
Branden
And before I flew to Norway I had ten days in the United States I spent five days at my home base in Seattle with family getting all my gear organized and then I spent five days in Salt Lake City. Two of those days I had a really good instructor and at the end of those two days I was able to. Put the kite out clear the lines make sure they’re not tangled and you know anchor the kite in the snow launch. The kite flies around a bit I could also kite upwind there was a point where I was kiting upwind and uphill at the same time which was huge. It was very difficult for me. Having just started and then I could like I could eject the kite pack it up and put it away but.

43:29.11
Steve
Okay, so now after a thousand miles are you an expert. Are you like a five twelve kiter now.

43:32.46
Chantelle
Fundamentals.

43:34.22
Branden
Yeah, the thing is I could have spent the whole I learned to kite at in like the most ideal setting at a strawberry reservoir which is southeast of Salt Lake we went out with I went out with the instructor. There was ideal wins. Blue skies no trees. No exposed rock. It was flat like it in and no sled and and then I go to Scandinavia and none of those things ever happened there was blizzards and flat light.

44:06.76
Chantelle
Um, no perfect conditions.

44:13.80
Branden
In Mountain Valleys I was falling I would fall into just random holes that from windblown snow and like River drainages snow kiting across snow bridges.

44:21.67
Steve
So was the kit useful or not it sounds like it wasn’t actually like it was a liability.

44:27.73
Branden
Yeah, it was a huge liability it would have been much safer in a way for me to just walk and it would have been a much faster trip if I would have just brought Nordic cross country skis left the kite at home and my big alpine touring set up at home.

44:45.25
Branden
But the point of it wasn’t to set some sort of speed record. This was an entire self-designed route and I wanted to be able to learn the kiting component because I thought it was interesting like all these other things I did in my life early on was because I was interested in them.

44:47.91
Steve
Yeah, sure.

45:04.16
Branden
And I had other aspirations and dreams of applying the kite to other parts of the world later.

45:10.86
Steve
Okay, see.

45:12.97
Chantelle
Branden also became proficient at using a dry bag and and some ski poles to kite with as well. Which is a great video I could show you guys sometime.

45:26.59
Steve
Wait so you like launch through dry bag as a kite and with your ski pulls and then it drags you a along and I don’t get that need a visual.

45:33.89
Branden
Yeah, there was what when I got halfway through the trip I was in a town called abisco in North. It’s the furthest northern town in Sweden abisco.

45:40.41
Steve
Wait in abisco like the cookies Abisco work I thing got excited there.

45:45.37
Chantelle
A bisco.

45:50.75
Branden
When I was half so at that point there was already dry ground in certain areas like I was dragging my sled like through the streets and stuff to get to where I was staying and there was a couple days of rain I took a few days to relax there and then there’s a huge lake. There was a thirty mile lake section after abisco to go east and continue on the route. Well all of the snow had melted off of the top of the lake and but it was ice was still I was told by locals. It was still two feet thick so it was plenty thick for me. I didn’t know it’s one of these things like can you kite on a lake that is just like contoured glossy ice I didn’t know I didn’t have anyone I could ask if this was a good idea or not I just had to brainstorm in my head how that would work and I came to the conclusion that it was a bad idea. Even if I was able to get the kite up. It would have been out of control and if I fell over I wouldn’t have been able to use the kite bring it down towards the ground and then bring the kite back up towards the noon position in an aggressive manner. Then pull me back onto my feet which is what you do when it’s snowy. So I got onto the lake and at it I did it in the middle of the night because that was the wind window for the next several days and it was windy.

47:21.32
Branden
And in the wind it was a strong westerly wind and I was going more or less due east I’m like I have to use this wind somehow there has to be a way and I took the skins off my skis. It’s pitch black. The ice is translucent I can see all the cracks and bubbles. It was actually terrifying it was raining out I could barely see anything and I took my skins off and and just use my poles and pressed forward and I would glide for like twenty feet just with the wind at my back. It was near frictionless and I’m like well I wonder if there’s something I could use and I had for my negative 40 sleeping bag I had like a fifty five liter dry bag. So I took it out.

48:10.76
Branden
And I used a carabiner and clipped it onto the ends like the wrist loops on my hiking poles and I held my hiking pulls out and there I know this was a thirty mile section so I probably did like five miles with the dry bag just flapping and flopping wildly in front of me. And then the wind died down a little bit and so the dry bag wasn’t really working I had a max speed of like ten miles per hour with the dry bag I’m like well I need more surface area material to do this.

48:38.85
Chantelle
It’s pretty impressive.

48:48.58
Branden
The only other thing I could think of that I had but I was really hesitant to use was my tent and and so I got it out and it’s still dark out. So maybe sun’s rising and I held the tent in front of me. It’s a black diamond eldorado.

49:07.97
Branden
So it has the two vents at the top triangle vents and I grabbed one of the kind of vent covers and then with my left hand and then with my right hand the tent door was open and I grabbed like the upper, the apex of the zipper point will call it and then held it in front of me. So that the wind could go through the door of the tent and inflate it like a balloon but then the tent door was flapping around and I was terrified holding the tent in front of me. It was almost touching the ice and my skis are right in front of me with their metal edges and I didn’t have a lot of control. You know what? I mean.

49:44.98
Chantelle
Well, it’s not quite what a tents designed for to be fair.

49:46.18
Branden
Ah, and the wind will gust no I think it was one of these like really epic moments where I knew I was already this was forty days in or something thirty five days and I was pretty exhausted. There was very little snow in the surrounding areas south and north facing slopes and I was it was a really like low dark point and this section is one hundred and eighty miles or one hundred and ninety miles and I’m like I need to to get this thirty mile section with the wind. So I just held the tent out and there’s like pooling water on top of the ice and like a couple you know every once in a while like pools of just like slush that felt like playdo under the skis and I just held the tent out rigid. Having not really used my arms other than with the ski poles probably just about gave myself a hernia in the process and I was terrified I was just going to shred my tent with my skis as a gust came by and or sometimes it would be really gusty and and I also anchored the, what do you call it, the corner of the tent. There’s that loop that you can put in a snow stake or a stake into the ground I took a a carabiner and hooked onto that and like tethered it to my climbing harness that I was wearing. That’s what I used with the snow kite as well. So in case I let go of the tent.

51:16.63
Steve
She wouldn’t move to out.

51:16.73
Branden
It wouldn’t fly away into the abyss of the night but I made it thirty miles and then I got to the east end of the lake and I was it was like 8-9 AM or something I’d been out all night totally wrecked and I just sat down on my sled. And put my head on my knees and passed out for like 20 minutes woke up and both my hands were completely numb and then I set up camp and took a nap.

00:32.19
Chantelle
So Branden during a journey like this you were out there on your own for a long time with very little contact with the outside world. I can imagine there’s a lot of hard moments to work through just dealing with challenges like you just explained loneliness, repetitive food, cold, discomfort. How do you work through those things. Do you have specific strategies that you can say you sort of use throughout the trip. Or do you just kind of have some magical capability to manage discomfort that some of us haven’t mastered yet.

01:18.45
Branden
Yeah that’s another really good question and I feel like this one’s more difficult for me to answer than a lot of the other ones I don’t have some magic formula that I use to get through these things and as I’m sitting here a couple months after the trip ended. I think back and I ask myself the same thing like how was I able to do that. It sounds pretty difficult and in a lot of different ways I do think that I come back to oftentimes Reinhold Messner quote where he says. Something to the effect of when you stop. The fear is growing and when you’re moving the fear is going down and I really like that. It’s simple and I just found that there were times where I would be stopped in the middle of the day and I would just feel like anxiety and the pressure and spring is coming and I don’t have much time and I need to get moving but I’m so tired and then I would just force myself to get back up I was very militant with myself which is also like kind of ties in with some of the darker moments and in retrospect I realized that I had a lot of negative self-talk out there even though it wasn’t like calling myself bad words it was very subtle and that it took that militant approach and in my discipline to get this done.

02:54.55
Branden
But I would just keep moving and every day it felt like I barely chipped off a section of the entire trip. It was like another 1% basically maybe one and a half percent of the length like good big pat on the back for you. But I think I just really wanted the experience that there were so many and I struggle to explain the trip to people sometimes because even now in this podcast I feel like a lot of it’s been focused on. How like difficult it was or maybe like I wasn’t adequately prepared because I was doing carpentry before in a remote location but the reality is that this trip is was life changing for me. It was exactly what I wanted and I could not have imagined the types of experiences that I would have really learning to kite seeing the transformation of the landscapes and all of the different types of terrain. All the people that I encountered the conversations that I had meeting all the indigenous Sami Reindeer herders up in the tundra and inadvertently followed the winter reindeer migration pattern were all things that I didn’t, I knew that they’d be part of the trip maybe but as they came to fruition and blossomed It was absolutely electric and those are some of the things that kept me going the dry bagging and tent sailing across the lake and there was a lot of small victories.

04:44.85
Branden
Along the way I think those things helped keep me going on the trip and just knowing that I was doing this for myself and I had this dream or this vision and I stuck with it.

04:59.75
Chantelle
I think that’s one thing Branden that I always find fascinating about you. When you go on these journeys that when you communicate things to me, you rarely communicate that you’re having a low moment what you do share with me though are like. The amazing experiences like check out the northern lights that I saw or I met this reindeer hunter or I had this experience or I had this amazing revelation or thought and in all the times I’ve known you I’ve never had a message that’s negative. And I think that’s part of your success is that even though you you recognize that those things are there but you don’t dwell on them too long. You’re like what’s the little fish in finding Nemo just keep swimming you just keep swimming. You just keep you just keep going and um I think that’s. Just such a great ah thing that I as a coach have have taken away from you as your ability to appreciate this small amazing things and the big amazing things and that you don’t focus on the things that other people might think are. Uncomfortable or challenging.

06:16.94
Branden
Um, and yeah and I agree with that although sometimes the things in my mind feel like negative. Maybe they’re not quite described to you in that manner I I Also want to note that I designed this trip as.

06:26.60
Chantelle
Here.

06:34.92
Branden
As a structure to kind of break me I didn’t go into this thinking that I would be successful getting from point A to point B I designed this to to have an experience and to go for as long as I could and tell my body or my mind or my equipment failed and having that opportunity to embrace. The isolation was the whole thing was terrifying like I didn’t really know how to snow kite going into it I didn’t have like the the most optimal buffet of training grounds available to me. Going into it was 10 times longer duration and distance than my previous my one and only ski traverse it was horrifying in the first day I was out there I was like shaking in my little alpine boots like what am I getting myself into.

07:33.68
Branden
And just giving myself just basically going into this type of trip similar to the 50 peaks thing I thought there was like a 1% chance that I would actually do it but just accepting that the point of it isn’t for this grand success. But the point of it is to open up an arena to operate in for understanding yourself in your position in this world to contemplate life and death and what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for to think about my relationships and my past and in my future and as I’m moving throughout the day. It’s a lot of I’ll call it meditation. It’s a lot of zone one zone 2 just skinning and dragging a heavy sled behind me and it gave my mind an opportunity to just explore. It’s inner workings in ways that is not possible to do in society.

08:38.38
Steve
Yeah, that’s really beautiful. That’s really beautifully said and I think that it goes back I wanted to connect back to an idea you said earlier about you know the negative self talk and being militant with yourself.

08:38.68
Alyssa
Yeah, that’s amazing.

08:57.80
Steve
Because I’ve experienced that myself and I’ve always wondered and I’m curious where where you feel this is right now for you and it may change over time. But you know how necessary is that what do you have to do is that what it takes like is that the price of admission or is there a more gentle way to achieve this objective as you said. I think too you designed this to break yourself I think you said so are these things so at odds with one another like being human exploring your own humanity and your values as you’ve described and can you do that and you know and truly be gentle with yourself or does it actually require this kind of mindset that you’ve described.

09:57.16
Branden
Yeah I think that I want to clarify the breaking myself phrase is a bit extreme I wanted to set this up to be able to push myself beyond anywhere that I physically and mentally beyond anything that I had experienced before and going in with such a low probability of call it the conventional success. I had to push very hard over a long period of time to get there and I wanted to explore where that took my mind and especially after being in Antarctica that was the most socially inundated I had ever been in my life. And I was horrified about the concept of going to the most remote part of Europe alone in winter for up to three months and I do think Steve you’re right in some sense. With a trip like this. It’s no longer. It goes out of if I’ve run a hundred miles before going into it run another hundred mile or like you can take it. You can be more chill about it. You have a cutoff time say you have 30 hours to do it and you’ve done it in like 24 hours before so you have some grace you know some flexibility there with how you handle yourself. But in this case I knew the whole time that I was racing spring and I was racing my european visa cutoff and I wanted desperately to finish the trip.

11:43.19
Branden
And two thirds of the way through I wanted to stop like I really at that point I had seen the full spectrum of what I would see throughout the trip and I knew that it would mostly be grinding tundra miles after that flat. Bleak and difficult and the snow conditions were only going to get worse. But I knew that I really had 2 options either suck it up and continue or quit and even if I quit then no one in my life would have been like.

12:22.32
Branden
Oh Branden’s a little wimpy dude because he only did fifty days in the arctic by himself. I knew I wouldn’t like get any you know flak for that. But the other option was flying back to Seattle. Staying you know going back and readjusting to society sitting on the couch in my parents living room staring out the window and contemplating like why I quit when I could have kept going and that sounded like the least desirable of the 2 options.

12:52.75
Steve
Yeah, but also I would say not a lot of people have the ability and I think one of the key abilities to persevering when things are hard is being able to empathize with possible future abstract options like what you are describing right? And most people just focus on the suffering that they’re feeling and anything is better than that at that point and then they get to the living room when the Tv and the window a few weeks later and they’re like oh why did I quit you know, but they were not able to project themselves into that. Theoretical future and say oh yeah I don’t want to be there I want to you know I’d rather stay here and that’s a key piece of self-reflection that I think could be a lot really useful to people and while you’re talking I just had to look up one of my favorite lines of poetry that I think. Speaks to this and it’s a William Blake line from the marriage of heaven and hell and you probably have heard it but I’ll just recite it here if the doors of perception were cleansed. Everything would appear to man as it is infinite for man has closed himself up. Till he sees all things throw narrow chinks of his cavern and I feel like these adventures are cleansing the doors of perception I think that’s actually what you’re doing you know like that’s what these quests are actually about is and trying to understand like you said you put it. You mentioned a few of the things like understanding yourself and your place in the world understanding a relationship relationships pasts present and future. Those things.

14:45.14
Branden
Yeah, yeah, and I think that another interesting thing is when I decided to keep going and I thought that the outlook for the rest of the trip was very bleak and in terms of what I would experience or see.

14:46.18
Steve
It’s in front.

15:03.38
Branden
I was continuously surprised with the types of scenery and visuals that I was encountering and as I continued to watch the landscape change. There was 24 hours of daylight and just out in the tundra with the cloudy skies and there’s just a hole in this. In the clouds very small and the sun beams through like it’s coming from heaven and shining on the earth and it’s 2 am and I just stand there completely in awe in what turned out to be the most difficult part of the trip physically and mentally and also the most horrifying. Was the transition of winter to spring but it also turned out to be the most magnificent, beautiful and inspiring part of the trip for me like seeing what the actual tundra looked like. Seeing the rivers open up even if I had to like wade through them and drag my sled through like flooding it. It was watching seeing how the lake ice melted and at the peripheral of the lake the ice collapses and there’s like a four foot deep section of water I have to try to like navigate around to get onto the more solid lake ice. There was a lot more birds I started seeing insects it was like I was watching what was this encased winter landscape turn into something that was bubbling with life.

16:47.39
Steve
Yeah, the infinite.

16:53.42
Branden
Yeah I can’t imagine the trip having not gone through that and it was in when I finished I took a bus to the airport. And there were the birch trees that I’d seen the entire time. They’re thin and they’re just skeletons no trees. They don’t make any sounds because there’s nothing on them to like rub against each other or shake the wind and then the Birch trees were they had leaves and it was just watching it was like being able to witness process of of life and ebbs and flows you know and so you know some philosophical sense that we have in our own lives as well and I think that was a very humbling and meaningful part of the trip for me.

17:47.57
Steve
I think that’s a great place to to leave our listeners thinking about the seasons of life and the joy of witnessing that I can so relate you know to.

18:06.41
Steve
Your experiences and can remember some of my own that was somehow similar you brought me back to some of my own experiences in the mountains of actually not the climbing itself being the most interesting thing. But the northern lights or the the view of the tundra or those kinds of things that’s really powerful and that’s really what I think you know motivates so many of us an uphill athlete is you know this connecting with ourselves so we can. Better connect with others and connect with our natural environment and yeah, live more fully simply you know it’s not about a podium or a gold medal or a Bronze medal or any of that. It’s about what you have just described so really beautifully done. Thank you for that.

19:00.10
Alyssa
Yeah I will yeah I would just add I mean I’ve been on some solo quests. We’ll say and I’ve had to stop one in particular I’m thinking where I had to stop and I was so sad because I just wanted to know what the rest of the journey could be. And that it wasn’t that I didn’t accomplish this fkt or whatever is that I wanted to know what came next so I applaud you for for taking that moment and being like yes I will continue and I later on got to do it and got to see. And a different way. What was next and it was incredible. Um, so that’s just that’s such a great point of yeah have have the vision to see, what can come and also that it doesn’t just turn into the same slog. It’s it’s ever evolving. Its never will be imagined to be tomorrow is never what we imagine it to be Um, yeah, are there any other last big takeaways. From this journey that you would like to share before we wrap up.

20:10.82
Branden
Yeah I think that doing a trip like this and you know ultimately working through some of the difficult times. It instills a deep sense of limitlessness which is maybe a double edged sword because I can you know maybe contemplate doing crazier things in the future. But I think it expands in with. You know the people the types of people that are tuned in to what uphill athlete does and what they project. It doesn’t matter if you’re running your first marathon or Trail hundred mile or climbing denali for the first time or doing a trip like what I’m doing. You’re resetting your horizons you’re working towards a goal and whether you’re successful or not I think that there’s a lot of positive outcomes that will precipitate on all aspects of your life and those are things. Alyssa like you’re saying you can’t necessarily foresee and it allows you to reestablish what your perceived limitations are so when you run your first.

21:39.68
Branden
Marathon and you think 50 miles is outrageous but then you think about it and you step up to the plate you train and you attempt it. You don’t know if you’re going to cross the finish line but you show up anyways and whether you finish or not. It doesn’t matter the fact is that you are reestablishing a new ceiling for yourself and that will translate to your relationships and your work and and how you approach your life. If you have the right angle with your mentality to apply it. And I think many people that you know climbing or running or whatever that are doing that’s why being involved with these types of efforts is so gripping and borderline addicting.

22:36.89
Alyssa
Totally agree I mean I always think of a major part of when I am training for something is actually I just call it like the mind expander where you start and you think five miles is a long way to run and then all of a sudden you look back. And it’s not all of a sudden. It’s very subtle and you go. Oh yeah, now 10 miles is my easy run and so I always just think of like I’m about to go do a six day race in Wales and I think about how your mind expands to give you the capability to at least put yourself in the position to take it on whether or not you finish. That’s a whole other thing but then it might shrink back a little bit. As you’re like I can’t like you said at the beginning I can’t believe I did that I sometimes don’t know how I did it but every time that expansion is maybe a little bit easier. And maybe just a bit further and I always love that part of both the expansion but also realizing that you don’t have to live at the the ultimate stretch all the time you can come back. Because the journey back outwards is just as enjoyable. That’s at least? yeah.

23:52.84
Chantelle
Yeah, it’s a great point.

23:54.78
Branden
Yeah I agree and one last thing I will say is that this trip and the yellowstone ski trip and also the 50 peaks have given me a more developed outlook for pursuing the things that I want to pursue and made me in Covid made me realize that I didn’t have to wait around for structured events or go to like we’ll call them business mountains where there’s a lot of Beta that’s available in it.

24:30.17
Branden
And I think a lot of people can do this as well and once you before I saw everything that I did as like around the framework of an event and now I can just open up the world map.

24:45.92
Branden
And I call it like spinning the globe like a basketball and anywhere in the world I want to go if it’s desert or jungle or Arctic or Tundra or whatever it is I feel like I’ve developed the skills and the confidence to be able to design my own future which it’s an ongoing evolution that’s been very fruitful for me opening up to the world I’ll say.

25:16.63
Alyssa
That’s fantastic. So if people want to see what adventures you’ve done and also what you are planning to do in the future. Where’s the best place to find you and contact you.

25:30.82
Branden
I have an Instagram you can search my name or look at search the_wild_ned which has underscores the underscore wild underscore ned or I have a website that is joyofendurance.com

25:49.85
Alyssa
You do have a great name for this.

25:52.44
Chantelle
Branden also wrote a great blog on the uphill athlete website. Not so long ago about unconventional training in unconventional places. So if you want to dig into.

25:53.22
Branden
Thank you.

26:09.10
Chantelle
How Branden has trained to prepare while he’s been living in farflong locations like Bhutan and Antarctica that’s a good. Ah fun read as well.

26:21.30
Alyssa
Um, perfect. Well thank you everyone this you go ahead Steve I was gonna say this I think we could keep going.

26:32.34
Alyssa
We may very well put out another episode on this because there’s still so many parts of it that I want to dig into but for now thank you for listening to the uphill athlete podcast if you could rate review and subscribe that helps us to bring amazing people like Branden to your ears and introduce his views to more people as I hope a lot of more people adapt these ideas of how we move through the world and through the mountains.

27:05.34
Steve
Yes, and I would also add that at least having maybe walked a different but maybe a little being a couple generations older than you Branden and you know you also learn the lessons of failure along the way like you will find those limits and you will find the humility in you know, not completing things and that’s also part of it. There is the the story of icarus is a classic legend for a reason so we all have been there if we fly this high for long enough and yeah, there’s nothing greater than humility to teach you that you know this sort of age old lesson of what got you here doesn’t always get you there and that’s something that I think as you said. Has many applications throughout life. So it’s not, I’m just putting it out there. So like you can’t fail because now we’ve like.

28:01.15
Branden
Are you Steve are you saying you want me to fail on my next trip?

28:14.72
Steve
Because otherwise if we don’t mention it. You know it’s bad luck. We have to set the have to we have to say we have not it’s not failure like there is no failure actually like this was a joke.

28:17.34
Branden
Yeah.

28:26.51
Chantelle
Yeah, there’s no good or bad. It’s just learning right.

28:31.41
Steve
Exactly and this was a joke I used to have with my climbing partners because I remember coming we came down we walked down from a peak in Peru once and the guys we met some people and they’re really excited. They’re like did you succeed and we were like well depends on what you mean by succeed? What is success? Like immediately they’re like wait, they’re completely confused but you know it’s true. There is no success. There is no failure. Yeah know there is no spoon. However, whatever, whatever quip you want to use. But yeah the success is just engaging in the process and that’s obviously what you’re doing in the most meaningful way possible and in an incredibly authentic way as well. Which is nice to see I appreciate that you do what you do and sharing it with us.

29:15.52
Branden
Yeah, of course. Yeah, thanks for having me and I do feel like whether an endurance efforts or not other areas of life professionally or whatever else. We’ll call them like quote unquote failures or where I’m not successful at setting up to do what I wanted to I tend to learn more than when I do get to the finish line. Yeah, and I’ve had plenty of those. We just haven’t focused on those during this talk.

29:44.13
Steve
Absolutely no.

29:54.85
Steve
That’s the next episode. It’s not just one but a community together. We are uphill athlete. Thank you for joining us Branden and thank you for listening.

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