Thanks to all of you. After 4 years, 21 issues, and over 300 articles, I am proud to say that we accomplished what we set out to accomplish: to create a central place for outdoor lovers of all kinds to join together in their celebration and exploration of all that God's great outdoors has to teach us.
Probably no endeavor has been written about, celebrated, and philosophized on more than mountain climbing, and sometimes the constant media coverage of these modern day heroes just serves to make me feel that much more incompetent. Thankfully, in God’s lexicon, epic fail has way different connotations than in man’s limited vocabulary.
Often called "The Mountaineer's Bible," Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills was first published in its current form in 1960. From basic knot tying to rapelling to alpine climbing, this book has been the source of inspiration for instruction for thousands of people heading out into the mountains for challenge and fun. However, even the concept of an instruction manual for freedom is a bit of a conundrum.
When it comes to politics, religion, and the environment, most people just want to scream platitudes at each other and go their separate ways. Whether it’s ignorance, intellectual laziness or conscience-soothing, the Slippery Slope Argument is one of the most misused lines of logic behind these platitudes and one that stops real discussion in its tracks. Even worse, it leads to rediculous extrapolations that prey on our worst fears rather than working towards constructive debate.
We picked up a boat last year and my family and I spent most of the summer exploring new places. After winterizing the Eagle VI and putting her away for the dark, cold months, I began to wonder what was it that made the summer so amazing? Although sheer novelty certainly plays into it, everybody likes their new Christmas toy for at least the first fifteen minutes, I think that our desire for new goes deeper.
I am probably done. Although it isn’t like they will never listen to me again, but I’m done with any sort of imprinting in the way that a salmon fry will simply know exactly which stream to return to after years out in the ocean. That’s right, from here on out it’s going to take much more effort and planning to pass on any real wisdom or advice to my kids.
Crowdsourcing has become a staple in our modern lexicon. In fact, the concept seems so simple and logical that it's almost taken for granted that this is the way current and future problems should be dealt with, both personal and professional. Yet when we break it down into its component parts, the reality becomes a little more challenging than it seems.
Are you a better climber if you go faster with supplemental oxygen than someone who summits slower but without 02? Does a better fisherman use dry-flies and catch high-alpine Brookies, or live bait and catch 300 pound Mako Sharks? Is it more impressive to run a class IV rapid and waterfall, or paddle 500 miles in ocean swells? What makes for a “good” outdoorsman, and who exactly gets to judge?
Fears bogs us down and causes us to keep accumulating stuff: stuff we think will improve us or protect us. We buy houses with alarm systems and cars with airbags. We buy the latest and greatest so that we don’t look like failures or so that we don’t fall “behind the times.” Then after buying the stuff, we buy insurance to protect the stuff. But do we really need all of it?
The pitch black night hides any sense of scale as I step out onto the Cowlitz Glacier, a massive sea of ice flowing steeply down to my right and simply disappearing into an inky abyss. l know from yesterday that a knife-edged ridgeline of rock and ice towers a few thousand feet above me to my left, but this morning it can only loom somewhere in the back of my consciousness. Sunrise is a long way off.
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