Off-Belay Americas: From Seattle to Patagonia and Everything In Between


Belay: verb – fix (a running rope) around a cleat, pin, rock, or other object, to secure it.

A rope and harness are essential pieces of equipment for any climber on a belay team. They offer assurance and security while crossing glaciers or when scaling a sheer face. Comparisons are often drawn between climbing and the journey we all embark on in life. Both offer peaks, valleys, treacherous crevasses and points at which the hand holds just seem to run out. A year ago we asked ourselves if this life journey we are on is at its fullest when navigated “on-belay.” Honestly, it’s an answer we don’t have, but a question we are dying to ask.

Over the past two years we’ve had the ability to see one side of the equation. We enjoyed established corporate careers where we were comfortable, insured and safe. It’s now time to give the debate a fair shake and dive head first into the flipside of the conversation. Through the next 10 months on the road we are taking this rope team off-belay to embrace a life of adventure and meaningful relationships along the way.

To achieve an undertaking such as this we enlisted many key partners throughout the planning process. Hailing from Seattle we like to keep things local, which led us to reach out to hometown companies to lend us their strengths. At the top of the list fell Mountain Safety Research for outdoor equipment ranging from stoves to tents; Nuun for hydration tablets; TorFab for Land Cruiser support; and KAVU for outdoor lifestyle apparel. In essence we’re stepping “off-belay” while maintaining an incredibly strong rope team built from these sponsors and our supportive friends and family.

So at this point it seems we’re unroping proverbially while maintaining an incredibly strong rope team…Wait, that doesn’t make sense… Or does it? Regardless, we’re on our way, and you can ride shotgun with us as we continue to contribute right here at The Summit Register!
~The Bowlin Brothers

Preparing for the fix…

The current adventure that we are on is the biggest of our lives thus far. Our foundations are intact, but because we can’t come close to controlling every single variable—10 months on the road from Seattle to the southern tip of Patagonia, climbing, skiing and surfing along the way—we’ve prepared for this adventure with four necessary steps that we’ve never taken before, but that every adventurer should consider:

  • Medical Insurance Double Check

We found that our home state of Washington excluded any activities including a secured rope from being covered by medical insurance. NEWS FLASH… Didn’t know that one!

  • Drafting of a Will and Distribution of Estate

This was probably the most morbid activity of the planning process but very necessary. It helps loved ones back home sort out our affairs in a legal manner if we don’t make it back.

  • Securing a “Digital Assets Agent”

Email accounts, social media, cloud storage, etc. all have to be dealt with if unfortunate events occur, and this facilitates that process through one trusted person.

  • Purchase of a GPS Locator Device

It is hard to put a price on peace of mind for those at home while you cross the jungles of Columbia or climb to altitudes in the Andes higher than you ever have. A simple “I’m OK” message in the morning can do just that.Bon Voyage Shot

DSC01280 (1)Brothers hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Carson and Austin Bowlin are on an adventure of a lifetime traveling overland from Seattle to Patagonia climbing, skiing and surfing along the way.   Their trip partners include NuunMountain Safety ResearchTorFab, and Kavu.  Their progress south is kept up to date at