Mountain Running in the Sierra Nevada

One of the best parts of mountain running is when you get to walk. I’m not calling mountain running a gentle stroll, but generally, you’re not full-on, maxed-out sprinting hour after hour up an enormous rock pile. The running part is great, but the main draw is that rock pile and the ones around it. Just being, and moving, in the mountains. Starting from the smell of sage and climbing into solitude with the sounds of rushing water, birdsong, and your own feet finding rhythms on the ground. Often, if you are walking, you are someplace spectacular: a steep forest trail,  a technical ridge, or on the way to a lonely summit where the air is thin. As a mountain runner coming from the Alps, I’ve been adapting to the…

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Leave No Trace: Managing Human Waste in the Outdoors

This is a story about poop. It’s about the principles of Leave No Trace camping not changing exactly, but evolving in the way we need to apply them. Because we are loving our wild places to death by treating them like giant toilets. The focus here will be on ‘frontcountry’ areas which I will define as relatively remote yet road-accessible areas with little or no services, typically managed by the National Forest Service (NFS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These playgrounds are among the crowning jewels of the mountain west and some of the finest rewards for anyone seeking the freedom of the Great American Road Trip. There’s little more satisfying to a vagabond van-lifer than seeing a brown wooden sign that reads “Entering [insert name] National Forest”, knowing…

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Bolting Climbs: The Ethics of First Ascents

Evaluating the ethics behind first ascents begged the question of whether or not we’re creating safer climbs by “conquering routes”. Were we providing positive accessibility by bolting walls? Or just flaunting our abilities?

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