On 2017-08-08, we stepped out of comfort zones and took to the air for a flightseeing tour with Alaska Air Service, based in Anchorage, AK.  Our pilot was Bill who is also the owner.  We flew into the Chugach Mountains and were treated to awesome views of the Knik and Colony Glaciers.  Also included was a gravel landing with a hike to get closer to the water, glacier, and icebergs.

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Across the black sea I see nothing with these eyes
and I stand here not as I see myself
and not as I desire to be
but as the being accepted by the water.

Across the see littered
with fragments I am
but a whisper cast from
mountain tops.

I hope with every last
shred of this being
that you are out there
waiting with patience

for my return from one
field and when I land
in the black waters I am
able to swim now free of myself.

Through the forest
with only my thoughts
and the morning sun
reflecting off ice and snow.

Through the forest
the sky moves and
the cold wind shuffles
and conceals.

The previous days fall away,
my mind begins to empty
and the wind carries away
the fragments.

Free of what is no longer needed
the feelings of loss and being alone
are replaced with content and comfort
as that wind is you beyond memory.

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Each day rolls into the next
nothing has changed except
the distance between the
smile and the struggle within
the person becoming more of a
shell…

How many more days can
I keep this going? Inside
I am me, but fear it
has to be repressed, kept
quiet and hidden, exposed
through what others want
me to be.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago about ice climbing in 2007 in Alaska (Matanuska Glacier).  The memory and the experience is as fresh as drinking coffee this morning.  It is seared into my being and will be a part of me for the rest of my time.  As I have aged and who I am, and who I have become change and solidify, the path has become more clear.  The part of me left in Alaska is calling, wants to share new experiences as it has grown and matured.  To ignore part of ourselves, a core level of sub-consciousness in our being is to deny who we truly are, to deny being truly happy.  To be ourselves and be truly happy allows us to be better people for those around us, and to show respect to the place we came from, our roots.

Photos are here.


The way up is almost perpendicular to the frozen ground. The glacier looms over me like a white predator, silent, and patiently waiting for a victim to wander into its steel jaws. Snow anchors are set at the top of the glacier. I am roped in with my harness, helmet on, goggles, and an ice axe in each hand.

The sun scatters light across the rock and ice strewn fields. These blue and grey colors I have never seen in such a landscape. This place is foreign, or from another time. I have stepped backward in some geologic time machine.

Looking back up at the white wall in front of me, nervousness becomes fear, which erodes the trust that is required to complete this climb.

The guide who set the anchors, and is now ready to belay, gives words of encouragement through small-talk.

Now is the time to start: setting one axe in the ice a reasonable amount above my head, and then the other. Next are the crampons on each foot. With a downward motion, the spikes on the front are kicked into the ice to provide an anchor and leverage for pushing upward. Sometimes the kick was not hard enough, deep enough, or the snow and ice were not good enough. Kick again until you feel comfortable and secure before continuing. Time to be like spider-man and work my way up the ice in this pattern until the top is reached.

What a view from the top, and the feeling inside is overwhelming. And then the realization sets in that I have get back down somehow, And this is where I freeze for a moment. Many thoughts and outcomes cross through the mind. One of them being, if it is your time to go, is there a better place than here in Alaska. Not really.

The best way down, besides being lowered via the belayer is to put the ice axes away, grab the rope that is attached to your harness, lean back (with a huge amount of trust) and walk down the face of the glacier.

Back on level ground, the moment sinks in, and the adrenaline turns from nervousness and fear, to a huge sense of accomplishment. And of course with anything that we overcome, any obstacle, once we are over the top, we most likely want to do it again.

Two more trips up the glacier were made, before the day ended and we headed to Palmer for an event rest and early starting for hiking in the Talkeetna Mountains.

Senzing Zen_01The way up is almost perpendicular to the frozen ground. The glacier looms over me like a white predator, silent, and patiently waiting for a victim to wander into its steel jaws. Snow anchors are set at the top of the glacier. I am roped in with my harness, helmet on, goggles, and an ice axe in each hand.

The sun scatters light across the rock and ice strewn fields. These blue and grey colors I have never seen in such a landscape. This place is foreign, or from another time. I have stepped backward in some geologic time machine.

Looking back up at the white wall in front of me, nervousness becomes fear, which erodes the trust that is required to complete this climb.

The guide who set the anchors, and is now ready to belay, gives words of encouragement through small-talk.

Now is the time to start: setting one axe in the ice a reasonable amount above my head, and then the other. Next are the crampons on each foot. With a downward motion, the spikes on the front are kicked into the ice to provide an anchor and leverage for pushing upward. Sometimes the kick was not hard enough, deep enough, or the snow and ice were not good enough. Kick again until you feel comfortable and secure before continuing. Time to be like spider-man and work my way up the ice in this pattern until the top is reached.

What a view from the top, and the feeling inside is overwhelming. And then the realization sets in that I have get back down somehow, And this is where I freeze for a moment. Many thoughts and outcomes cross through the mind. One of them being, if it is your time to go, is there a better place than here in Alaska. Not really.

The best way down, besides being lowered via the belayer is to put the ice axes away, grab the rope that is attached to your harness, lean back (with a huge amount of trust) and walk down the side of the glacier.

Back on level ground, the moment sinks in, and the adrenaline turns from nervousness and fear, to a huge sense of accomplishment. And of course with anything that we overcome, any obstacle, once we are over the top, we most likely want to do it again.

Two more trips up the glacier were made, before the day ended and we headed to Palmer for an event rest and early starting for hiking in the Talkeetna Mountains.


AK-20070727-20070805 085


AK-20070727-20070805 100


AK-20070727-20070805 089


AK-20070727-20070805 106


AK-20070727-20070805 110

The way up is almost perpendicular to the frozen ground. The glacier looms over me like a white predator, silent, and patiently waiting for a victim to wander into its steel jaws. Snow anchors are set at the top of the glacier. I am roped in with my harness, helmet on, goggles, and an ice axe in each hand.

The sun scatters light across the rock and ice strewn fields. These blue and grey colors I have never seen in such a landscape. This place is foreign, or from another time. I have stepped backward in some geologic time machine.

Looking back up at the white wall in front of me, nervousness becomes fear, which erodes the trust that is required to complete this climb.

The guide who set the anchors, and is now ready to belay, gives words of encouragement through small-talk.

Now is the time to start: setting one axe in the ice a reasonable amount above my head, and then the other. Next are the crampons on each foot. With a downward motion, the spikes on the front are kicked into the ice to provide an anchor and leverage for pushing upward. Sometimes the kick was not hard enough, deep enough, or the snow and ice were not good enough. Kick again until you feel comfortable and secure before continuing. Time to be like spider-man and work my way up the ice in this pattern until the top is reached.

What a view from the top, and the feeling inside is overwhelming. And then the realization sets in that I have get back down somehow, And this is where I freeze for a moment. Many thoughts and outcomes cross through the mind. One of them being, if it is your time to go, is there a better place than here in Alaska. Not really.

The best way down, besides being lowered via the belayer is to put the ice axes away, grab the rope that is attached to your harness, lean back (with a huge amount of trust) and walk down the side of the glacier.

Back on level ground, the moment sinks in, and the adrenaline turns from nervousness and fear, to a huge sense of accomplishment. And of course with anything that we overcome, any obstacle, once we are over the top, we most likely want to do it again.

Two more trips up the glacier were made, before the day ended and we headed to Palmer for an event rest and early starting for hiking in the Talkeetna Mountains.


AK-20070727-20070805 085


AK-20070727-20070805 100


AK-20070727-20070805 089


AK-20070727-20070805 106


AK-20070727-20070805 110

Rain has fallen the past two days. What snow we had is gone. Replaced with last year’s grass, sand, and mud, the yard is crunchy and slippery. The sun rises over naked rooftops, and bare branches reflect the light. An odd mixture of the winter month and the scent of spring. I hear bird songs. Yesterday while walking the dog to a local park, the small pond had opened enough to allow water to the surface with an icy bottom. A raft of 6 ducks arrived from the east and landed in the cold, icy water.

The wind is strong and leftover leaves tumbling across the deserted soccer field, their consistent sound echoing between the houses, are a reminder that this natures house and we are guests.

Even though winter is paused today, I feel more at home here, then in the stronghold of winter or spring. Fall is a close second with the artist’s palette that nature chooses to paint with. But there is nothing like snow and ice, and the absolute cold fingers that reach for you, and the instinct we run with to look inside for warmth. Winter is truly the season of awareness, and in its depths, I truly feel alive.

I am reminded of the work I have been doing, most importantly around fear and what prevents me from moving forward, and getting out of my comfort zone. What better way than to tackle a mountain, regardless of the outcome. I have realistic expectations, and will be happy with any outcome, as long as I push myself and come away with a new experience, and come out as a better person than I was the day before.

Mountains loom in every direction when standing in the middle of an empty field. There are two choices from within the dark shadows: cower beneath the lessening light, or climb the mountain and emerge on the other side of the obstacles.

Rain has fallen the past two days. What snow we had is gone. Replaced with last year’s grass, sand, and mud, the yard is crunchy and slippery. The sun rises over naked rooftops, and bare branches reflect the light. An odd mixture of the winter month and the scent of spring. I hear bird songs. Yesterday while walking the dog to a local park, the small pond had opened enough to allow water to the surface with an icy bottom. A raft of 6 ducks arrived from the east and landed in the cold, icy water.

The wind is strong and leftover leaves tumbling across the deserted soccer field, their consistent sound echoing between the houses, are a reminder that this natures house and we are guests.

Even though winter is paused today, I feel more at home here, then in the stronghold of winter or spring. Fall is a close second with the artist’s palette that nature chooses to paint with. But there is nothing like snow and ice, and the absolute cold fingers that reach for you, and the instinct we run with to look inside for warmth. Winter is truly the season of awareness, and in its depths, I truly feel alive.

I am reminded of the work I have been doing, most importantly around fear and what prevents me from moving forward, and getting out of my comfort zone. What better way than to tackle a mountain, regardless of the outcome. I have realistic expectations, and will be happy with any outcome, as long as I push myself and come away with a new experience, and come out as a better person than I was the day before.

Mountains loom in every direction when standing in the middle of an empty field. There are two choices from within the dark shadows: cower beneath the lessening light, or climb the mountain and emerge on the other side of the obstacles.

I hope this blog becomes a useful resource, but of course that requires me to actually have information on here.  I am working on content the next couple of days, and will have a lot of stuff for here.

An update on the trips for this year, and my training goals.  The end of June, I will be in Washington to attempt my first mountain climb, and hope the Mt. Rainier allows me the opportunity.  In order to get there, I am embarking on a more intense strengthening and aerobic routine.  Also, I am planning two mini-trips as preparation.  I am taking a local ice climbing clinic, through Vertical Endeavors, later this month.  And in March, we will be Colorado for a few days of additional ice climbing training.  My hope is to learn more skills and become more comfortable on the type of terrain with the correct tools and gear.

  1. January 2013 – Ice climbing training through Vertical Endeavors
  2. March 2013 – More intense training in Ouray, CO, through San Juan Mountain Guides
  3. July 2013 – Attempt Mr. Rainier, near Ashford, WA, through RMI

In between there, I will be snowshoeing, lifting weights, and completing 4 hours on the treadmill each week.  At 38, I realize a couple limitations, but refuse to listen to any more than that.  I have always had big goals and dreams, but seem to find excuses for not pursuing them.  Not this time.  The mountains are calling me, and I see larger mountains after this, on the horizon, that silently beckon to my inner being.