Throughout my life, I have always tried to maintain a balance. In high school, I balanced music, running, and academics. After my racing career ended, I kept running, from the track straight into the mountains. During college, I jumped into one mountain activity after another – backpacking, scrambling, ultra running, rock climbing, skiing, and ice climbing. Each new sport gave me a newfound freedom, a foreign challenge, and brought out something positive within me. Now, as the seasons change, I change the way I move in the mountains, maintaining that same balance I have always valued. Wherever I go, I seek a connection with the land and the others with whom I embark on these adventures with.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my incredible family for making these adventures possible and always providing a comfortable bed when I return.
In more ways than not, I’m a lot like you. I’m just a curious kid trying to better myself, make friends, and create meaningful experiences. The mountains are such a vibrant canvas upon which we can draw, dance, and tell our stories. If there’s one thing I’d want people to take away from my blog, it’s this:
You don’t have to be an extraordinary person to do extraordinary things.
To greater heights, to unforgettable sights.
The only way is up.
Questions? Want to chat? Comment on a post or send me an email at email@example.com.
Meet the Rest of the Crew
Logan is a super talented skier, climber, runner, and sax player! We met back in high school, playing saxophone together in jazz band. In many ways, Logan is the heart and soul of the trips we do together. He embraces every part of a trip: the planning, the highs and lows, and the inevitable sufferfests. Together, we have put a lot of vert in the bag. Since high school, we’ve grown a lot together in the mountains and always find we are on the same page when to push, when to slow down, and when to just appreciate the moment.
Daniel and I have been close friends since we were nerdy sixth graders taking advanced math together. Our interests have evolved from math to producing electronic music to marching band and to mountaineering. He first took me snowshoeing and rock climbing. Daniel brings an incredible sense of humor to any day in the mountains, making the long approaches more than tolerable. He is also a great runner and has fully embraced moving fast and light in the mountains. His trip planning is impeccable and I know will plan some more great trips for us in the future.
When Jacob and I met in college, he was a powerful sport climber but did not have a big background in alpine climbing. I immediately sensed his drive and passion for the mountains. We grew together, learning to trad climb, multipitch, and ice climb. With his technical abilities and my mountaineering background, we make a perfect team capable of tackling big, challenging objectives. He lives for the vertical ice bulge or steep cruxy hand crack, leading us through the most difficult sections. His positive attitude and incredible work ethic is always a great asset on any adventure.
Sara is my older sister. We have enjoyed hiking together since our teenage years. We actually hiked together since we were babies, but she was probably jealous of her little brother for a few years for bumping her out of the carrying pack. And I complained a lot. JieJie (older sister in Chinese) is one of the hardest working people I know in all aspects of life and always inspires me to stay focused, humble, and disciplined. She knows me better than anyone else and can always understand where I’m coming from, like you would expect from an older sister.
Kylie is a passionate skier, hiker, swimmer, and climber from Reno, Nevada, making a new home in the Northwest. At 18, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This autoimmune disorder is affected by sleep, exercise, temperature, and food so she has to keep this in consideration when out in the wilderness. Nonetheless, she has not let it stop her from enjoying the outdoors and is a constant inspiration to everyone in her life. We met at Gonzaga through the music and engineering programs and have had many great adventures together since. She is always a positive, fun, hard working and reliable partner who makes any adventure special.
Chris is the most humble, non-chalant badass you will ever meet. We were friends in high school cross country and band and decided to take our talents into the mountains after finishing AP/IB testing senior year. Our mishaps and adventures using heavy, 30 year old gear from our parents were incredibly formative in our development as mountaineers. No matter what happened, Chris never would complain or say anything remotely negative. In fact, he would usually ask if he could carry more weight, taking both tents. Nowadays, he is applying himself more to designing rockets and formula one racing cars, always with a relentless work ethic and positive attitude.
Blake is a fun, down-for-anything runner. We were three year varsity members together in high school cross country, spending so much time together on the trails. Sometimes I drag him on epic runs in the mountains and despite the training I do, he still manages to kick my butt every time and leave me in the dust (at least until more serious scrambling is involved, which he tolerates nicely). Blake is a soul who truly loves running and could do it forever. He brings the child out in me and always makes trips light-hearted and fun.
Brant is a talented skier and climber and all around awesome guy who I met in Spokane at the local crag. We immediately sensed that we have similar interests and passions for getting deep into the wilderness and finding good pow or rock. Skiing with him can be an adventure, trying to keep up with this guy who flies through dense trees, hitting cliffs and bumps without blinking an eye. He has taught me a lot about backcountry skiing and I know we will have more shreddy days in the future!
Jon is a Texan who can shred and climb like a Colorado boy. We met in Physics class in college but did not start skiing and climbing together until after college. An aficionado of off-width cracks and deep pow, Jon is a joy to bring on any trip because of his incredible work ethic and total PSCHYE just to be in the mountains. He is hilariously vocal and passionate while exerting himself. He can put a smile on anyone, even when on the toughest skin track or burliest crack. Jon embodies everything that’s right about the mountains: determination, joy, passion, adventure, style.
Anthony is an incredibly driven skier, climber, and runner. We met on Facebook and I immediately sensed he had a similar desire to push himself to new heights and explore new places. He skis and runs most days each week, putting in huge training volume and developing incredible fitness. I look forward to many big days in the mountains with him in the future, and maybe the occasional first descent or FKT attempt.
Like many of my friends, Porter is young, fast, and talented. He has somehow managed to balance a collegiate running career with being a part-time mountain guide and maybe attending class sometime in between. Porter thrives in the vertical world of ice, constantly demonstrating a passion for alpine ice and mixed climbing. However, the greatest thing I appreciate about him is simply the relentless positivity and psyche he brings every day in the mountains! I know we will climb to great heights together in the future.
If you looked at a list of Steve’s typical alpine schedule, you’d think he was either extremely unsocial, a masochist, or born in the 40s. He seeks out the schwack and adventure, rather than the crowded classics, with a voracity found in few modern climbers. It never takes much convincing to get him on some remote ridge deep in the North Cascades. However, there is one condition: it cannot mess up his perfect hair. Gotta impress “the honey”, after all.
Kyle (aka KJ) is perhaps the more talented of the half-Asian climber-skier Kyles. He has a great sense of humor and superb taste in quality gear. We share an appreciation for the diverse nature of the Cascades and the High Sierra. He has seemingly been everywhere in the Cascades and is a great source of information and inspiration.
Sam is another avid adventurer, loving long remote expeditions. He is one of the youngest partners I have, but is as well traveled around the world, having led expeditions around the world to New Zealand, Mexico, and South America. It is fun to plan and dream big with this guy.
Anthony is an incredible solo adventurer from Salt Lake City turned Bellingham. He has done some massive, multi month bike and ski tours throughout the West, New Zealand, and Himalaya. He is someone who dreams big and always sends bigger, an inspiration for many.
Will is easily identifiable in my trip reports as the splitboarder. He is an awesome endurance athlete who ran with Peter and Porter in college before applying his endurance to running and splitboarding in the mountains. Anthony and Will have traveled all around the world together, skiing some huge objectives.
Lael is one of those people who stuns you with her talent and wins you over with her indefatigable smile. Along with Porter, she has to be one of the youngest guides on Rainier. When she’s not sticking her tongue out (and while she is sticking her tongue out), she can race and climb with the best of them. While it’s easy to feel inferior around her, she’ll never make you feel bad about yourself because she is so incredibly positive and STOKED on mountains, adventures, and life. Keep the positive vibes coming!
Peter, Lael’s older brother, is the PNW version of Kilian Jornet. He enjoys prancing across knife edged ridges and skiing steep couloirs with incredible speed. He also is a devoted material scientist and makes ultralight skis. Pick up a pair before it’s too late!
Nick is a rad PNW skier with a an adventurous mindset. He makes impeccable jump turns, but what is more impressive is his passion for skiing deep in the North Cascades, regardless of the entrance or exit fee. He is currently compiling an unparalleled list of couloirs in the Cascades.
Doug (aka EZD) is eazily the most experienced climber and skier I know. He has been crushing it in the Cascades and elsewhere for over 30 years. Despite a lifetime of adventures, he is still always looking for something new and to keep exploring. He also has the sense of humor of a 16 year old.
Jenny has been crushing hard rock grades for a decade around the world before discovering the ways of fast and light movement in the North Cascades. Finding joy in similar styles of trips, she reached out to me about partnering up for some creative Cascade objectives. Jenny is an experienced, talented, and super thoughtful partner who keeps finding new ways to stay stoked about progressing in the mountains.
Silvia grew up in Germany and learned to ski tour in the real Alps before coming to the American Alps to play and do research for the University of Washington. Along the way, she has adopted some American ways, such as heavy overnight packs, “fat” 85 mm underfoot skis, and even a whippet. Let us hope she stays Euro, funny, positive, and badass however. Silvia is super fun to get out with and always a reliable partner on big skimo objectives.
Cherlyn is another blogger and photographer (check out her website). Like Chris, Daniel, Grant, Logan, and Zeos, we all played jazz band in high school together and then developed parallel mountain interests. Cherlyn loves yellow trees and baking and always brings us some tasty baked goods on the trail!
Zeos and I met in high school band, but I quickly learned he was a fascinating individual in all aspects of life. He is unpredictable and absolutely hilarious. He is a master of animal and Lord of the Rings impersonations, often making the mountains feel straight out of Mordor or a fairytale. He was also probably the first of us to get into rock climbing and brought some of that passion into our trips.
Gavin is an insanely smart and talented runner, but he was just a little boy when I met him in high school cross country. He quickly zoomed past his senior captain in more ways than one. Gavin has a unique sense of humor and always seems to enjoy being outside and running. I see a lot of myself in Gavin and was always proud to be a role model for him back in high school.
Ethan is yet another young, super talent runner and all around athlete. He shattered many records at our high school as a Freshman, outpacing me in our final race together. He also brings a sly, nerdy sense of humor to days in the mountains (we’re all nerds really) and always makes me feel my age in comparison to such youthful energy.
Grant is one of the most chill guys I have ever met. We became friends playing basketball (he keeps growing still) and music together in junior high school. He has always been down to go hiking and just explore new places. He is very passionate about politics and philosophy and we always have some great debates when out together.
Dan and Madelynn
Dan and Madelynn are two fun shredders and adventurers. They are aficionados of the Crystal Backcountry and always bring great vibes to a trip. On a side note, Dan was born on the same day as me, which gives him bonus points.
Austin is a great ultra runner with an even better beard and even better personality. He is super fun to run with and has a tiny little dog that can crush 50 miles better than us humans. Recently, Austin has fearlessly moved into skiing and ski mountaineering. His attitude and stoke is certainly unique.
I met Sally through Brant back when I was still in school at Gonzaga. Sally is one of the most determined people I have ever met. Whether it is crack climbing, playing guitar, or skiing, she invests herself 100% in the activity. Because of this dedication, she is a fast learner, and is quickly becoming a talented ski mountaineer.
Aside from looking just like Benedict Cumberbatch, Westy brings a well-rounded skillset to any mountain adventure and an eye for the details (hence the binoculars). Although I am an aficionado of trail runners in the mountains, Westy takes this to the extreme, refusing to switch out of them despite snow, ice, or mud.
Nastassia is simply one of the most incredible endurance athletes I have ever met. They once, for no real reason, walked from Seattle to San Francisco… during a snowstorm. Although that is not quite my cup of tea, Nastassia and I share a love for the Cascades, wild places, and one peak in particular – Dakobuddy!
Dylan is a throwback, a Cascade Crusher who has been exploring the North Cascades longer than I’ve known there was National Park up there. He reached out to me after reading my blog and we quickly figured out that I had taken my WFR course with his wife! Dylan is an all around talented and experienced alpinist who shares my passion to get off the beaten path and explore every nook and cranny of our mountains.
I was at the UW bouldering rock one nice April afternoon, talking to Daniel about ice climbing, when Elle overheard the word “ice” and just had to approach us (when one encounters another ice climber in a marine place like Seattle, we are like flies to the light). We quickly learned that Elle was a talented climber, way better than both of us, and an ice climbing guide in the summer up in Alaska. She exudes a passion for climbing and mountains and is simply so much fun to go out with. It took us a while to actually get out together, but the Bonnington Traverse was a rad adventure and hopefully the beginnings of many more to come.
Patti is a co-worker of mine. We quickly bonded over our love for the outdoors and have had some prime days out together since. She lives in the Cascade foothills, very much connected with the local nature. She’s been hiking in the Cascades since I was still figuring out how to pitch a tent. I admire her wisdom, experience, and understanding of the complex relationships we hold with the beautiful mountains around us.