Bear with me for a second-

It’s been a good season, but now, as the daylight gets scarce and the rock doesn’t warm up so much, I’m feeling kind of worked, run down, and unmotivated. Which is kind of ironic, because, yeah, it’s been a good season, my best few months of climbing ever, in fact.

This isn’t meant to be a spray down. As tempting as it is to go down the list of routes I’ve sent this fall, I’m not doing it (unless asked, at which point, I’ll give you move-by-move beta on each one and enumerate with excruciating detail how I trained to accomplish them). And honestly, even with accomplishing lifetime goals, the point isn’t how rad it was. Really, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had so many days with good people who helped me climb with everything I’ve got. Add to that the last month I spent with my wife traveling and climbing in Patagonia, life has seemed a bit surreal recently.

Frey

Especially in the dark demotivation of winter, it’s helpful to take a moment to look back and feel proud and show appreciation because winning streaks don’t come all the time and who knows how many seasons of training, getting stronger, and climbing harder we get before life throws greater concerns in the way or our connective tissue throws its hands up and walks out of the room. After I sent China Doll, my buddy Alex said, “Enjoy this, because it’s last time you’ll climb a new number.” While one of the beauties of climbing is that there’s always a new challenge, a next level, we all know somewhere out there, we’ll cross the ultimate peak and begin the descent. And for that reason, we celebrate each summit along the way.

The thing is, all this hard rock climbing and personal summits means a lot to me, but it’s pretty insignificant. Anyone who’s heard me rant about climbing has probably heard me say, “Rock climbing is great, but we’re not curing cancer.” I’ve probably even written here before. I still believe that, despite how much I care and invest in my own climbing. Which is why the thing I’m most appreciative of right now is my other project, HMI Gap.

My wife and I started working on the concept for this program years ago, and this fall the High Mountain Institute hired us to actually make it happen. We wrote our dream job description, and HMI hired us to do it. I won’t go into too much detail about the program here because there is plenty more information on the website: HMI Gap. In short, the program is a 12-week course for high school graduates in climbing, wilderness, and conservation. Students will climb and explore the American West, mainly around Moab, and central Patagonia (hence, the recent month I spent there).

Here’s how I see. I love climbing and the climbing community, yet I have no pretense that I will somehow make some grand contribution to that world through my own climbing. But I think HMI Gap could be a great contribution. Climbing has been the lens and vehicle through which I’ve learned about the world and who I am, and now I hope to share that experience with other young people, which is definitely an opportunity worthy of a lot of grace and appreciation. So there you go. Now that I got that out of the way, here’s a sweet climbing video about HMI Gap.

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