The Moments That We Miss

Posted: January 18, 2012 by bcbuzzards in Uncategorized

You always hear that the destination is not what matters but rather the journey.  Although I agree with the sentiment, I really need the destination to be worthy of my journey and that’s the carrot that often drives me.  As a climber I can look back on the last 12 years of my life and very vividly remember the emotions, movements, and motivations that got me up some of the most meaningful routes in my life.  Nearly a decade after it happened I can tell you how hard my heart was pounding the first time I clipped the chains of my first 5.10 sport route or how terrified I was when I missed the pads on Strength in Numbers in Bishop, CA and wrecked my ankle.  It’s not that it is so unusual that I can remember these things so well its just that I’m in awe of how tiny these slivers of my life were, mere seconds.  The months of hard work that lead to that few minutes on the route seem to disappear into the mists of time but the route itself lives on in a disproportionally large time scale.  The journey’s of my life seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye while the destinations live in some sort of time warp that makes me feel like those were the things that lasted so very long.  A collection of very small moments, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, are what make up the bulk of the sense memories of my adult life.

100,000 ft and counting.

This year something new happened for me.  I decided I wanted to become a backcountry skier and really wanted to focus on seeing how many vertical feet I could ascend this season and basically chose 100,000ft as an arbitrary goal.  Just the other day I passed that milestone and have no intention on stopping any time soon.  In the process I’ve gone out for 34 days so far but it was also one of the first times where the journey is truly in the forefront of my mind.  There are surely milliseconds of amazing turns, or minutes of perfect drops, but the bulk of it is hours and hours of walking up hills on skis.  The journey is the destination for the first time in my life.  In a great and energizing twist a journey like this gives you a lot of time to breathe, reflect, think, plan, experience, dream, and remember everything that has come and everything that will be.

 

These last few weeks I have been very fortunate to share these days with some very good friends namely Tris, Phil, Wally.  These guys are always there being supportive, smiling, breathing hard up the last hill, and pushing harder for the next goal.  I firmly believe that the closest connections and the ones that have lasted the longest in my life were all forged in the mountains.  The mountains are a pure, simple, inspiring place.  And they are a place without limits.  There is always a higher peak, a farther destination, a bigger day, a faster time, a cleaner line.  The only thing that ever changes is you.  The mountains have infinite patience and they will wait until you are ready, and if the day comes they will reward you with a moment of your own.  That moment may be brief or it may be long, but it will be a moment that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

 

We can learn so much from our time in the mountains if we pay attention and come to it with a beginners mind.  Mountains are strong, but they can crumble.  They are beautiful, but they can become ugly.  They can be inviting, and they can be dangerous.  They can inspire, and they can cause despair.  All of these things are things the you can see all the time, but they will reveal themselves in the moment, and if we don’t miss them, we’ll be forever enriched.

Head out towards the horizon beyond the horizon, and you’ll find that your journey will be eternal, and complete.

Never Ending Lessons
 
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