This past summer I attended a writing symposium with Rock & Ice Magazine in Carbondale, CO, led by climbing legend John “Largo” Long, R&I editors Duane Raleigh and Jeff Jackson, and my personal writing hero Andrew Bisharat. It was an invaluable and inspiring week, and I not only met a bunch of great people, but I got a chance to learn about the craft of climbing writing from a group of true masters. Luckily, the editors seemed to like my writing enough to both publish my short story in the magazine and make me a Contributing Editor—a true dream realized for me. I haven’t seen an online version yet, but check it out in issue #222.
It began with a half-assed conversation somewhere. Sitting on the tailgate, most likely, hands swollen and sore and wrapped around some cheap swill beer. Patagonia. The place, not the clothing company. Scrubby plains and azure rivers rising into toothy granite spires caked in rime ice. Clouds whipped by the wind into a swirling meringue. Monster approaches, glaciers, splitter cracks, loose rock and incomparable summits. For months I chewed on the idea, like a piece of gum that never lost flavor. And then I began to train, like I never had before.
At some point I decided to figure out if I could make this trip happen and maintain gainful employment, and so I asked. What evolved from there was one of the most eye-opening climbing trips of my life (despite how relatively little climbing actually took place), and from it came a creative project that I am incredibly proud to have had a hand in. Below are links the three pieces we produced for Black Diamond over the course of a month in El Chaltén—the Alpinism 2014 Digital Catalog and two multimedia stories, one that showcased our experience climbing in the Fitz Roy massif, and the other profiling the legendary alpinist Rolando Garibotti. Getting to work with Keith Ladzinski and Andy Mann, two incredible photographers, as well as my good friends and climbing partners Sam Piper and Luke Holloway was a real treat, and I’m already scheming ways to get back to those incredible mountains. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.