Tomorrow is my last day of work at Glumac.  After 3.5 years of cycling through the same basic sequence, tonight I’m uniquely aware that the cycle is about to break.  In some ways, this would seem like the ultimate freedom, but quitting my job is not about a vacation.  It isn’t really about a lack of activity, taking it easy, or goofing off.  While I do look forward to a bit of all of those things, this time is much more about action.  It is much more about learning, exploring, and working very very hard than about not doing anything at all.  So, how have I envisioned this time?

In the short term: Thursday morning I be driving south with two good friends to play music in Arcata, California on Thursday night, and Berkeley on Friday night.  If you are in the Bay, come check us out at The Starry Plough at 10:30pm.  Saturday is a chance to see my brother and his wife and enjoy the Bay area, which is always a good time.  We’re headed back to Portland on Sunday.   I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks helping out at The Commons while my foot heals, I finish selling my unnecessary stuff on Craigslist, and spending some quality time with friends here in Portland.

Sometime in the first week of April I’m headed south with my good friend Jordan.  He takes pictures, really good ones, so we’re going to take some really good ones in really cool places, hopefully of me doing interesting things.  Depending on weather, conditions, snowpack, and the state of my foot, destinations may include: Smith, Red Rocks, Zion, the Moab area, and Salt Lake City.  Probably towards the end of April, Jordan will need to head back to PDX, and I’ll be free to roam.  I’m hoping to spend all of May climbing and skiing the Eastern Sierras between Bishop and Tahoe, culminating with two weeks in early June in Yosemite Valley.  During this time I’m also looking forward to feeling out new places to potential settle down again, and reflecting on my recent career as well as what might be next.  That’s the rough plan, but we’ll see what actually happens.

Something says I can't leave Oregon without kicking off the trip at Smith.

June 13th I’m headed north again for a rare opportunity to complete the Muldrow Glacier route on Denali.  True this is not a glamorous technical route, but it might be one of the most classic wilderness mountaineering routes on the planet.  Our team of 6 will spend approximately 30 days climbing the Muldrow and descending the West Buttress.  Based on my last two summer trips to the Alaska range, I have little doubt this will be both intensely challenging and intensely beautiful.

The mighty Kahiltna on our way in to Denali Basecamp in 2009.

Despite a variety of extended trips, there is an awful lot of Alaska to see, and I’m planning to spend a few additional weeks travelling and exploring before heading south again.

Mt. Foraker, as seen from 14,000 camp on Denali, from my trip in 2009

My passion for climbing sparked in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, but I haven’t been back since my first trip there in 2002.  I hope to spend several weeks there in August, as well as spending time with friends in Lander, WY.  I’ll be back in Portland for sure by August 20 to celebrate two back to back weekends of weddings.  Doubtless, it’s a full summer.  However, September I’m not so certain about…

I’d like to put my climbing toys away for a while.  Seeing family in Australia and traveling in Asia are at the top of the list, but the plans are more vague.  Based on what I expect to spend climbing this summer, I think I’ve saved enough to continue traveling abroad for about 6 months.  I’d happily consider working for a non-profit or volunteering for a while as well.  In a year when I can do anything I want, why not do whatever feels right?

Live in the moment. Let the baggage go. Get the feeling to stick.

“Without a purpose, training is just exercise. Use life for something.” -Mark Twight

3 thoughts on “Plans

  1. dustin

    nice buddy, this is going to be life changing! (ps your link to “the commons” is broken) 😉

    — Ed note: link is fixed.

  2. Quinnie

    Best of luck to you, Skander. 🙂 I’m sure this will be a great adventure.
    See you when you come back.

  3. sydell Adelberg

    This all sounds vintage Skander! To thine own self be true. Perhaps you, like me, think best in motion. What looks like idling is deep thought-filled consolidation. I wish you pleasant journey. As for May? pls let me know as during much of that month I will be under the Philippine Sea. Off to Chicago for a week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s