The Adventure Gene

I don’t really know how somebody gets it, whether we are born with it or through experiences we develop it. All I know is that I have it.

I believe the gene is essential to human development and evolution, without the adventure gene we would never progress in any shape or form. It doesn’t have to be adventure in the mountains, it could be adventuring into new fields of science or philosophy. In the end it is the desire to push and to risk to achieve things that have not been done before.

Carnes peak is an impressive mountain massive that is very obvious from Revelstoke while driving down home from Macpherson. I have wanted to stand on this summit for years now. 7 years ago we attempted from the North side and had an amazing day but no way of getting to the summit. Last year we went from the west side and got to within 800 ft of the summit and had no time. CarnesEast face to summit

Looking up I thought that maybe; if things were feeling super stable, we could boot pack up the face directly above Aaron and get to the summit from there, since it is reported to be a small 9 m easy rock to climb over.

Convincing Andrew Mcnab, Christina Lusti and my sister Jesse that we could have a great adventure, we went for it last monday. It felt so amazing to be going deep on an adventure, sledding in 30 km down the Downie logging road felt so good. Adventure and exploration awaited.IMG_0026

I had thought we would sled to the bottom of the climb but it turned out the road was out and the sledding beyond us. So we camped and woke up at 4 am and were off touring by 4:30. An extra 4 km on the road brought us to a good old fashioned burl fest through the trees and up into the alpine. It was crusty, steep, pilloowed,treed, creaked out and everything we needed to challenge ourselves before the sun was up.

Eventually we were up and into the alpine on Phogg Glacier, such a great spot to be hiking through.IMG_0052IMG_0062

We made it up to the high col by 9 am and were looking into the basin I wanted to get to. Except there appeared to be tonnes of avalanche debris. It had gotten quite warm the afternoon before, and either then or late in the night when it got stiff the whole face had ripped out. This was the face where I thought maybe we would try and climb.IMG_0072

It didn’t look remotely friendly, the crown lines looked to be 15-20ft tall in some places. Obviously this made us wonder about the safety of everything. But it was 10 am things were still frozen and nothing appeared to be moving. So we found a nice little boot pack up to the ridge.IMG_0077

From here the ridge looked doable and we hoped that the summit would not evade us once again. Wanting to give it an honest effort we continued upwards. It was hard to tell where the cornices began so we stayed on the climbers left near the rocks. Popping in small deadman anchors and body belays to make us feel a little safer. IMG_5978

Eventually the ridge got really steep for the last 20 m, exposed on both sides, cornice on one with a 1000ft drop, steep rock on the other with a 1000ft drop. There was a thin line that maybe; if you were crazy, you could climb up, but it was beyond our risk tolerance. Barely 100ft from the summit and no success, damn another way and another day.

From there we had a decent ski down the ridge and tun rolling into the north side, the Abyss glacier. Which is by far the most amazing place in the Selkirks. carnes

We had fantastic turns the whole way down, through blue ice and convoluted terrain. Super fun.

To me this adventure satisfied my gene in so many ways. I had deep untracked exploration, new phogg glacier ascent, lots of unknown and questions, skill testing moments and then a great ski with friends. I know that i need moments like this in my life and I hope for many more. The next day also proved as awesome but I have yet to write about it..

so odd…

wrote an entire post a few weeks ago explaining that my 40000ft on my birthday was a drunken bar brag and that I was no where near ready to attack 40 000 uphill feet in a day. I also realized the selfish stupidity of such a challenge since I would not be able to hang out with anyone who cares about me. Instead I would have been running up and down hill for 20 + hours simply to prove that I was not “over the Hill”… As my birthday approached I became more mature and could see these reasons for not going for it.

But now I am training and trying to remember how to become that animal that crushes vertical for breakfast.

Every challenge comes down to believing the whole time. Doubts will come and as long as your belief is stronger than them you can persevere.

How to believe so strongly in myself and my abilities… Training.. its what allows the belief to grow stronger and stronger till it will no longer crumble under the doubts of the challenge.

So I am training my butt off now, so that I can do 40 grand in March or April. Trying to skin lots of vertical but also do some xc skiing on the days when life keeps me busy. I am not the rubbery little kid I used to be so I need a few more days off than I used to…. I am forty now..


Forty… I am in the final months till I turn forty. Its kind of a big deal. I remember when I was twenty looking at forty year olds and thinking they were old. Now that I am approaching 40, I am trying to think of it as young. I firmly believe that the fitness I bring into my forties is very important to my fifties and onwards.

At Christmas I weighed in at 190 lbs, that’s way more than I have ever even come close to weighing. Since then I have been hammering it at the gym, in the mountains and now more recently on my bike. It has become very important for me to regain top shape. Especially since I am someone who defines himself by endurance activities.

I need to get as fit as I have ever been in my life. I know that age is not a barrier.. but it worries me that I could never regain my former 100%. I turn 40 on Dec 19 and I am dreaming I would ski tour 40 000 ft on my birthday. 40 for forty. It would be a great challenge and focus for me to get as fit as I can. Forty thousand feet of powder skiing in the back country. I have done this once before, years ago, and it was super hard but at the same time super amazing. Now I want to do it on one of the shortest days of the year…

hmmm.. I need to ponder that challenge a little more…. But regardless of the forty for forty, I am very much focused on the #fitforforty. Tuesday I mountain biked the ultimate macpherson, 50 km of single track, wednesday I lifted weights, and yesterday I road biked to the ferry and back, a 90 km crush fest. So I am getting somewhere but how far can I push myself at this age? The following six months will show me.. I can’t wait to turn forty and be the fittest I can be.

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