Voice of the Mountains

Introducing Voice of the Mountains

It's about You.

Voice of the mountains is of the mountains, but not about the mountains. And definitely not about training for the mountains. Here we elevate voices of wisdom and perspective gained from thousands of pitches climbed and long trails traversed. The wisdom of these voices cut across the vastness of the human experience.

Fight with Fear.

We are never trying to conquer a mountain. Rather the mountain itself is but a tool we find, often by lottery of fate. And the mountain discloses a path unique to you which teaches you how to know our true self. Subduing the fear and taking that first step exposes your own energy, motivation, and heart to make the second step. The third step. The millionth step. Whether your dream is finding the motivation to stay fit for a rare mountain day or you dream of someday running the longest, loneliest traverses, all journeys start with the same first step.

You are Being Tested.

This was never about the climb. Not about the mountain. It is about you. Maybe yesterday’s you. Maybe tomorrow’s you. My muse for these explorations is my lonely, driven, trail-tired 23-year old self living in the back of a 1976 red Mazda pickup with a top speed of 52 MPH. Because what the voice of the mountains will tell is simply this: Keep going, your path, it is a good path. A pure path. It may be lined with tragedy and unimaginable heartbreak, love and rarified triumph. And it will end sooner than you think, and maybe sooner than you want.

Walk the Path.

Voice of the Mountains is inspired by the sunrise. By the moment the jagged edge of our fireball-sun sizzles across the horizon. And as the sun rolls into view you feel just how fast we are rotating through space and how fast time is moving beneath your feet. You can stand still in your tracks, as I have done so many times, watching that, feeling and not moving.

Being. not Thinking.

Voice of the Mountains is inspired by the way time slows during a cold bivouac. Sitting on a ledge with a too-thin wetted-out down sleeping bag draped across my legs staring at the stars, willing my toes to move. We search for some, any, indication that time is passing, but there is none. The night sky, and time, feels infinite. Is infinite. The hard-frozen raw-edge of the earth you’re trying to nap on feels infinite too. The hardness of the stone you hold makes your bones feel softer than pan-fried french cheese

Voice of the Mountains is inspired by that one special flavor of happiness spiced with deep-in-my-gut satisfaction that settles in as I sit down when my heavy legs settle in and feel the weight of their efforts. My legs seem to exhale knowing that they’re finally being given their rest after a long day of climbing.

Voice of the Mountains comes from laying my head on my pillow of a folded fleece jacket, knowing that the climb, the challenge, was just the right challenge. That whether I was up to the challenge–or not–that I took that experience and made it mine. Owned it. Integrated it. That it is me. That the challenge was becoming part of me. Like a loaf of bread I’d eaten that my body was turning to brain cells. My soul or spirit or my being had ingested the experience and was already digesting it turning it into some mysterious part of a new person.

Voice of the Mountains comes from trusting the process. But not trusting the process. Trust is not strong enough. Neither belief. The process isn’t even the right word. We, or at least I, don’t have words for what it is. Perhaps that’s why this can be attacked from all sides, from film, from audio, from writing, and we still won’t have the answers. That’s why it is poetry because poetry is what we resort to when conventional prose can’t communicate what the right few words in the spare arrangement placed by an artist can communicate.

Voice of the Mountains comes from our mission to elevate people.

The facile way to do that is with physical training. But that is a smokescreen for the more important work of helping people to find the potential within themselves and within one another. It goes back to “the most difficult 80%” idea of the psychological side of climbing. The mountains with their strict adherence to the laws of physics allow such a beautiful, finite (that finite-ness is a key attribute) canvas for humans to experience and master this. And we need others to guide us as well as hold us accountable.

Developing this is so hard to do because it is impossible to measure. I wrote to Barry Blanchard:
“In my view your life’s writing, guiding and climbing has been built on humility and process. You taking me under your wing was a manifestation of these ideals. Both guiding and writing as intimately as you do about your experiences on and off the peaks are expressions of vulnerability and the strength that it takes to manifest that kind of vulnerability.

And that for me is all so true. That each of us is alternatively a leader and a follower. Someone helps me up, then I reach back and help someone else up. Sounds all squishy-lovey-hippy-dippy but it’s true.

Voice of the Mountains comes from vulnerability and the strength it takes to have vulnerability.

Voice of the Mountains comes from the stoic philosophers who believe a (hu)man is supposed to have an ‘inner strength’. Speaking in koan’s, they never tell us where that inner strength comes from or how we get it or where we buy it or what it even looks like.

The inner strength is a koan. It is in you. And you have to draw a map, a map unique to you, to find it.

Voice of the Mountains is here to help guide you.

Step inside. And keep walking.

Exploring the poetic soul of the mountains.

Voice of the Mountains explores the mental and emotional adventures found in discovering who we are and what we’re capable of. Here we engage in self-reflection, humility, and embrace the beauty and struggle of the alpine experience equally.