A Sidewalk

Perspectively, things can be easy or hard. A lot has to do with what’s on the other side of things.

There is a climb in Utah that is world famous for the shear exposure. The climbing is relatively easy. But the exposure is real. Also the “rock” quality is a bit on the lower side, the thing is a tower of mud. Petrified mud. Nonetheless, people flock to the Fisher Towers every year to stand on this beautiful feature.


Fisher Towers. Ancient Art is the little squiggly one that extends into the sky up to the left. The Titan on the right, is the tallest free standing tower in N. America.

I’ve wanted to climb Ancient Art ever since the first photo I ever saw of someone standing on top. It is a slender corkscrew top out that leaves you on a pedestal with sheer 400 feet drop off surrounding your 3 foot platform. It’s intense. With the lack of winter in Utah, Fiona and I headed down to Moab for the weekend to tick it off the list.

We left Salt Lake City at 8 am. This put us at the Fisher Towers right around 1pm. The approach is short and the climbing is quick. We figured to top out right around sunset and then scurry back to the car in the dark. We arrived at the base and headed up the mud pile.

As I said, the climbing was quick. On pitch 1, there is some delicate 5.10 sport climbing where a fall would leave you risking being caught by a piece of metal glued into the mud, so whenever uncomfortable, I just aided (pulled) on the bolts. I wasn’t going for the send here, it was all about the spire. Pitch 2 was fun climbing where there was a full mix of trad climbing, chimneying and some face holds. At the top, a party of 4 was about to have an epic.

Fiona and I waited atop pitch 2 for the 4 pack to start clearing off the sidewalk. I started climbing towards them and one of their leaders started rapping the route. Or I should say he rapped off the side of the tower, not really sure where he was going. He ended up stranded on a ledge, somewhere 50+ft off the ground. There 2nd leader decided he was going to save the day and followed the guy, stranding himself on the same ledge. Some people aren’t very smart. They left their two most inexperienced people at the top, to save them. They ended up pulling up the ropes, leaving their two people on a mud ledge somewhere 200 ft below, and planned to rappel into the chimney we climbed, reach a set of anchors and get a rope to their two people on the ledge. The two up top were all sorts of scrambled in the brain, double, triple checking things and being quite unsure of themselves.

I let them do their own thing for awhile and led up the corkscrew. The last pitch starts off by having a sidewalk. It’s simple. Walk this sidewalk to a diving board. You would never fall off a sidewalk, right? Well this sidewalk is a little different. It has a 400 foot cliff off both sides. It’s unprotected. A fall would put everyone on the last set of anchors in risk of being ripped off the mud tower. Just walk.  After the walk, a mantle, belly flop, beached whale move to get on top of a diving board piece of mud, still unprotected. So exciting. Then a few tricky moves past 3 bolts and you get an easy way up the backside of the spire.


Fiona about to belly flop onto the diving board after walking the exposed sidewalk.

I love putting myself into subjectively safe, but uncomfortable positions. It makes me feel alive. It takes every thought, every piece of energy and emotion that you have and focuses everything into each movement. You are truly in the present moment. This is something that not everybody gets to experience. It was really cool to see Fiona walking across the feature as the sun hovered above the horizon. Golden hour among the red rock desert. Priceless.


The last moves before topping out. Take a breathe, focus.

After topping out, we had to wait for the party that was still figuring out what they were going to do. At one point they asked if they could just rappel with us to get down. We didn’t mind and offered help but they ended up slowly, really slowly, making their way down the rappels.

All in all, it was totally worth it. The spire did not disappoint and it was quite an adventure. Everybody ended up making it safely to the ground (in the dark). It was something I’ll never forget.


The classic Ancient Art.

Absolutely ripping on psyche,



Whose Land? OUR LAND!

Today, Donald Trump visited Utah to make a couple devastating blow to so unique Utah landscapes. 2 of our national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were reduced by 85% and 48% adding up to millions lost.

DSC01323Austin Smith and I showed our support today by heading down to the protest at the capitol building, SLC. Thousands rallied today after thousands more rallied on Saturday. All had one thing in mind, land conservation. A majority of the support seemed to be for the Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears was designated by President Obama just before he left office. The monument held 1.3 million acres and was home to 5 Utah Native American Tribes. These tribes fought for their sacred land to be preserved.

I’ve spent time in both of these areas. I’ve soaked my feet, torn from the endless climbing at Bears Ears, in the Escalante River. I watched many sunsets light the walls of windgate sandstone. I’ve been engulfed in the narrow slot canyons. The rock here has a powerful presence. It is no wonder that the Natives chose this land to live. It is no wonder the Natives continue to fight for it. If you have never been here, I recommend you visit. Your mind will be blown.

For now, we must move forward. Bears Ears is very new. It wasn’t even Bears Ears when I first started climbing down there 2 years ago. So however I do believe some land will try to be snatched up by the oil industry, I do not fear for much of this area. I’m more hesitant on the Grand Staircase-Escalante reduction. This monument has been around for 20 years. I will put my best bet on these rural areas to be exploited.

It all starts locally. Voice what you believe in.


I stand with Bears Ears.

Rip with Psyche,



Utah Snowpack

Utah is off to a very slow season for snowpack totals. Most areas across Utah are totaling between 10% and 40% average annual snowpack. A few spots are close to average on the North end of the state, but the rest of Utah is high and dry.ut_swepctnormal_update

Below average snowpack across a majority of the state. via KSL.com

This summer up in the Bugaboos, the locals were talking about how many scientists up in British Columbia were blaming the prolonged droughts to the smokey air from the fires. It’s hard not to believe it when forecasted storms were literally disappearing around us. I’ve talked about this theory with several of my friends about the Salt Lake Valley. As more and more people crowd into the valley floor, and the pollution levels continuing to increase, I have watched several patterns over the past 8 years separate around Utah to the North and South when pollution levels are red light PPM.

The resorts this season not only don’t have ample amounts of fresh snow, they are almost bone dry because of the prolonged heat that we have been encountering to start this season. Snowmaking across Utah has been scarce. There is still time for winter to turn on but it makes me wonder about the snowpack to come over the next 10 years in Utah and what it will become.


Park City Mountain Resort high and dry.

For now we anxiously await an incoming low pressure expecting to dump up to 2 feet in Little Cottonwood Canyon and what the cycles after this storm will produce. Pray for snow!

Rip on Psyche,



Bear Ears


Indian Creek splitters!

Well, Trump is coming to Utah to downsize Bears Ears National Monument on Monday. It’s sad to see the administration making these moves against public lands. Utah is known for it’s public lands. It is also known to be rich in oil.

Utah has been on a battlefront between land conservation and selling off our public lands for oil leases and other minerals. I just saw an article saying that Trump plans to shrink Bear’s Ears by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%. When these unique landscapes are extorted for what’s beneath the ground, that beauty will be forever gone. This isn’t anything new though. Even though Utah has some of the highest land conservation in the country, the ever lasting oil battle continues. The tail end of Indian Creek holds an old Uranium mine. There was once a proposal to have a uranium waste site just past the Creek, in the Heart’s Draw canyon behind the popular climbing area. DSC01054

Climbing in Bears Ears

It’s a constant fight. Today at the capitol in Salt Lake City, thousands of protestors will show their support for our lands. However much support has been shown for other protests around the country, there is little to no motivation for our government officials to listen to anything except oil money, in my opinion.

So for now we wait for the final Trump decision on the land grab. Maybe the circus show will make some wild twist of events for the better. I’m hoping for the best. The only way to change these radical decisions in the future is to vote. Make your voice heard. Voting is important and putting local officials into office with your like minded views is the best way to trickle the effects of change for your opinion upwards. Call your local representative and show them that YOU have a VOICE.

Stand with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.


Bears Ears National Monument


Grand Staircase-Escalante

Ripping on Psyche for these precious areas.




Just sitting in Utah, wishing it would snow. Daydreaming of years past. The snow has been a major part of my life forever. I’m almost positive that my earliest memory is of the first night I ever went skiing, when I was 4. Now it’s deeply engrained in my blood. Salivate with me over some photos from the past!

Come on Ullr!


One of the most beautiful headwalls in the Wasatch.


James Buehler Contemplating the North ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.


Verts. Get some. Tanner Crow coming up in Hogum Fork.


Austin Smith coming up a fine line in British Columbia.


Croshane on one of the deepest days of the season. The skin trail was up to our knees!


Southern Utah glory light!


James Buehler dropping into Southern Utah magic.


Rip on Psyche!



Keep An Open Mind

Yesterday was quite a day of trying to keep my humility in check. As I posted a couple days ago, I have been having some car problems. In August, before James and I headed to the Bugaboos, my car lost it’s 4th gear. It’s a manual transmission so I decided to just let it ride, going from 3rd to 5th. I have been driving like that for the past 10,000 miles.

Finally, the rest of the transmission has been starting to follow in the footsteps of 4th gear. I located a used transmission to buy on a local website. I also found a local mechanic to install it at a reasonable price. This mechanic was advertising for mobile mechanics, coming to your place of residence and fixing what you needed on site. Well I live in a neighborhood with an HOA and some neighbors of mine wouldn’t exactly love the process of tearing out a transmission and clutch in the front driveway. Our garage spot currently has an Audi with a blown turbo in it. So the guy told me I could bring it to his place and he would fix it there.

The location he sent me gave me an idea of what I was heading for. I’ve been in the area before and there are some really nice houses up there, so I was expecting nothing less. I get to this guys house. It’s an RV parked in a dirt lot with some other RV’s and trailers around. I was like, “is this guy really going to tear my transmission out in the dirt?”. I was a bit unsettled in my thoughts. And of course, this guy wasn’t even home at the time. My last minute call to bring it by left him needing to go grab his tools from his girlfriend’s truck. “Now I see why he was trying to do a mobile mechanic business”, I told myself. And better yet, I get to sit around and think about all of the possibilities.

I am spending all the money that I can to have this guy tear down my car. In a dirt lot. HAHAHA. Having some time to reflect, brought me back to a centered place. I have also been trying to figure out what I want to do with my massage business. Do I want to set up an office or go on the run, mobile style. Having 5 other roommates is quite the task to have people come get a massage. Then I had that moment of humility. I’m really good at my job, massage, but I can’t really advertise to have people over in my situation. In times of need, I have indeed had people over though. So what makes this guy different? He’s just a man with a hustle.

When he finally shows up, he has a big ol’ beard and hands covered in grease.  It was a great sign for me with the greasy hands. At least it looked like he had been doing some work. He pulled a bunch of tools out of a van and basically went to work. If this guy does a great job I’m going to be sure to give him some nice referrals. Hopefully he doesn’t steal my whip. HA!

It took me a little reflecting to realize, who cares about where this guy lives? He wasn’t advertising like he had a shop, although he did have space from a friend he could have had me wait for. He explained to me that he was recently moved out here from Michigan and he refused to pay 1,200$/month for rent. So he and his girlfriend lived rent free in an RV. Hell, they didn’t even have to pay to park it where they were. And I’ve toyed with the idea of living in a van. At least this guy has some square footage.


Always Rip,



Comfortably, Scared


James Buehler (@jimmy_couloir) walking the line 2,000 feet up the Bugaboo Spire, BC.

I’m anxiously awaiting winter to grace itself upon us here in the Wasatch. So for now, I am blasting from the past summer adventures.

Fear. Where do you go when you’re scared? How do you respond when you are trembling in your boots? The process of fear affects most of us all the same way, but why do we all deal with it differently. I’ve seen many friends shut down completely in the face of fear and I’ve seen many friends grab fear by it underwear and give it an atomic wedgie. We all feel the same fear though. The difference is just about how you handle it.

This summer, James Buehler and I took the long journey up North to the Bugaboo Provincial Park in Southeastern British Columbia. James had never been into the alpine and I had never been leading on such big walls. But we were mentally ready. I was definitely ready until I showed my friend in Fernie, BC some photos of where we were going to climb. Up until that point it was a little bit of a surreal, exciting thing to show people. Now that we were a few short hours away and about to hike 60lbs of gear high into the alpine, the reality hit. The fear set in. It really set in a way that I haven’t ever experienced. My chest felt heavy. It was hard to breathe. I had 100% doubt that we were absolutely crazy and couldn’t help but ask myself, “what the hell are we doing?”.


The Bugs

My biggest lead before this was up on Lone Peak in Salt Lake City. I flashed a couple of 550 ft 5.10 routes. I also led the 2 crux pitches on the NE ridge of Pingora in the Wind Rivers, a 2,000 ft 5.8, the summer before with Clay. But I knew we were stepping up to a new beast. 2,000 ft walls of however hard you want them to be. Glaciers, bergschrunds, and crevasses protected the base of all the peaks. It was a truly foreign experience we were about to dive into.


Fireweed for days.

We trekked all of our gear through the grizzly filled forest, up the steep switchbacks, past the Conrad Kain hut to Applebee dome. Home for the next 8 days. We were nestled nicely into a pre built wind barrier amongst hundreds of other climbers from around the world. The next day, we set off for the NE ridge of the Bugaboo Spire. A 2,000 ft 5.8 to get the juices flowing. Also a North America top 50 classics (top 50 busiest).  I was happy to get going on some easier terrain since I knew that a few other routes on our list were monsters. We set off from camp at 530. Scrambled our way past frozen glacial lakes and up to the base of the route. A gentle headwall with the tackiest (sticky) granite that has ever graced my rubber soles. Even though the climbing was easy, it was daunting to know that we had 2,000 feet of it to go. Especially because I’m awkwardly afraid of heights.


NE Ridge of the Bugaboo Spire on the right. Snowpatch Spire on the left.

James and I were making solid progress. James even took his first alpine leads. Impressive on such a big route. It’s easy to call something a “route”. Until you get into a sea of rock and can pretty easily get off track. But we were smashing pitches. Even simul climbing(at the same time, one persons fall would be caught by the other persons bodyweight) long pitches until we reached nice ledges to switch leads. At the top I sent James to the very summit thinking it was the route and quickly realized it was not. Then I rapped into a hole. I thought I knew where I was going. Before I knew it I was below some sketchy 5.10 off route climbing with no gear and just my rappel device. A subtle 2,000 headwall allowed me to see straight down to the ground. Fear. I was now off route, on a single stand of a half rope, below 5.10 grit climbing with no gear. As a team, James and I decided to get James to the correct place and then I would end up top roping(TR) out of the abyss. It’s crazy how quick it all happened. I didn’t see it coming and before I knew it, I was in a bad spot. I am not sure how others would handle it. I would hope they came to the scenario that James came up with because I tried to get James to come to me and I was going to try to lead out of the hole.

It’s all about logical thinking. Staying calm and weighing in on the options you have, before you make them. Then you figure out the most logical and execute. We would continue to safely make it down the camp after I TR’d out of the hole. We swallowed our fears of the wall and over the next 5 days we continued to climb the 900ft 5.11 Sunshine Crack and the 2,000 ft 5.10 Beckey-Chouinard.


The Vowell Glacier.

We navigated the glacial protected terrain and ended up with memories so branded into our heads that I can close my eyes as I type and picture the footsteps across the Upper Vowell Glacier. I can picture the chockstone with cut rope in it and my rope sitting in the exact same position.


pitch 10 or so on the Beckey-Chouinard. Every pitch is a far as you can take it.

Some fear is legit. As we progress in society today, we now do things that psychologically we are not designed to feel comfortable with. It’s all about taking the time to learn, and executing what you know needs to get done in the face of fear. And don’t go out and be some Jackwagon and get in over your head. When you are prepared, don’t let it hold you back. Sometimes it’s the fear that will give you courage. Stemming from the fact that you are puckered out of your mind and the only way to continue is to succeed. That’s why I do these activities that I am often quite scared of, the fear gives me that extra motive to succeed.

How do you do fear?


Rip on Psyche,