ELLINGWOOD PT – 14,042' / BLANCA PEAK – 14,345'

Today’s climb was fun, sketchy. I’ve been struggling in my personal life the last few weeks, and this was a great opportunity to get out of my head and into my body. My legs were throbbing, my lungs on fire. It was freezing, like actually freezing. My fingers were white and numb. I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been. Understandably so; I was distracted, preoccupied.

Today felt like a mini solo, an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts, and more importantly, with my heart. I spent hours thinking and feeling, acknowledging what’s real for me. I reflected on my experience, what I’ve learned, how my perception of myself – my identity – has shifted in the last few weeks. Or has it? I’m still unsure. What’s real? And what’s my pitiable attempt to alter my reality to fit my desire? (We people tend to do such things, you know.) Sometimes I miss engineering, the sterile, detached, formulaic precision of it. People aren’t so straightforward; I’m not so straightforward. How is it that I suddenly get the sense that I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did?

Change. Turmoil. Upheaval. And amidst the chaos, an opportunity to learn and grow, painful as that opportunity is.

Anyways, that’s enough of that. I began my hike at 4a and shortly thereafter was picked up by a truck. Thanks for saving me a few miles, Chris! The road to Lake Como is steep; progress was slow. And beyond the basin, the rock was steep and loose. Nine hours to cover 16 miles. Not my worst work. I saw a few other folks in the upper basin as I made my way down this afternoon, but otherwise, I had the whole place to myself, not a soul in sight. Exactly the kinda climb I needed today. Feeling gratitude for the experience. And looking forward to one or two more before I close out the season.