Alpinedon (and family) having a fundraiser

Hello dear readers. As some of you may know, we are moving to St. George, Utah in about 12 days. Unfortunately, due to complications with our RV and our car, we are a little short of the funding necessary to get there fully prepared, so we decided to do a short term GoFundMe campaign to try and make up the difference. We are trying to raise about $600 to cover that gap. Should any of you be in the position to help a beautiful family get to where they need to be, please follow the link below and help us achieve our dream. Thanks so much, Don, Brook, Zoe, Ryan and Julia.

The Link:


The amazing power of manifestation

Have you ever been on the right path, the truly right path, where everything seems to fall into place before you arrive, where amazing offers come your way, often give free of charge? There have been times in my life where this has happened before, but it has been a long time since they have occurred in the manner they are happening right now. I am a big believer in manifestation, and at this moment I feel this incredible belief in the power of intention.

It is the little things, like warm sunshine on your face

It started about a month ago, when I realized that my pain issues were pretty much taken care of (an amazing manifestation in and of itself), and I began conditioning and really focusing on climbing. People began to ask me to take them climbing, old climbing connections that I believed to be lost became renewed, and even at that point I was thinking that something special was begining to happen. It only got better and more amazing since then.

A teacher of mine at UCC (Umpqua Community College), who happens to be a marathon runner, had asked me to take him climbing, and so we began discussing possibilities, and with one thing leading to another, he ended up asking me if I would be interested in going with him on a backpacking trip to Grand Canyon and Zion National parks. Of course I said yes, and I began to ask him about how much he thought it would cost for gas, campsites, etc. I also mentioned that I would be filming the whole thing and making a movie about it, and he ended up telling me that I didn’t need to worry about the gas expenses, since he would have been going by himself anyway. I couldn’t believe it. Part of me wanted to decline the offer, but I reminded myself that you really shouldn’t reject offers like that when they come to you, so I said yes. Amazing.

A short time after that I decided to send in my ‘bucket list’ to Bucket List Publications, right here on WordPress, and while most of my list involves climbing in one form or another, I did put a few other things such as skydiving and scuba diving as well. About a week later, she contacted me and let me know that she would like to make my dream of skydiving come true, and did I know of any skydiving companies I knew of near my area? I immediately sent her the website address for the local company, so it looks like I will be doing that sometime soon. Now, understand, the offer of the Grand Canyon and the Skydiving occurred within about a week and a half of each other.

Appreciation for the beautiful world we live in

Oh, but it doesn’t end there. Being a journalism major, I write for the UCC mainstream, and my assignment for this week was to cover the outdoor recreation classes UCC offers, so I contacted Bill Blodgett, owner of North Umpqua Outfitters, and asked him if I could interview him about the whitewater classes he teaches at the school. He said yes, it would be no problem, but then today he invited me to go on an all-day excursion on our beloved North Umpqua river on Monday. Again, no charge. I was flabbergasted.

So let’s review – a trip to the Grand Canyon, skydiving, and an all-day whitewater rafting trip – all free of charge, and all occurring in a three week time period. Okay Universe, I am getting the hint. I am on the right path, I am heading in the right direction.

Now, I did have this happen to me once before, when I was around 24 years of age and living in Bellingham, Washington. Opportunities and offers kept landing at my feat with such great frequency that my friends routinely said that I was living a ‘charmed life’. Unfortunately, I let it go to my head and I really thought it was all about me, and got way too cocky about it. Then the bottom dropped out, and I went from living a charmed life to going through one of the worst and most desperately grim periods of my life, ending up being nearly homeless and almost ruining one of the best friendships I have ever had.

Appreciation for those who love us

I would like to think I know better now. I know, without a doubt, that this isn’t about me. This is about love, and passion, and holding true to your path no matter what is thrown in your way. For me, that way is Outdoor Adventures, rock & mountain climbing, kayaking, rafting, and documenting it all so that the world can see my passion through filming and writing. I am much more humble now, but then, my family and I have been through some really rough stuff, at least financially, and that in itself makes me feel grateful for these amazing opportunities. I do not take these things for granted anymore. I will enjoy it while it lasts, but I also know that there will still be rough seas at some point, and I won’t always have these opportunities landing at my feet. I definitely have the ‘attitude of gratitude’ now, even for the routine things in my life – our humble home with its idyllic setting, my amazing partner and our even more amazing children, our extended family and our friends. We still may not have a lot of money, but I believe that will change soon, and when it does, I want to provide others with the same amazing opportunities I am receiving now. You have to pass on your good fortune, and extend it to others who might be in a similar boat. That is my intention as well.

I really am a fortunate person. I may have had some pretty rough times, especially with the pain issues, but even that was a great teaching experience, and it has forged a tougher, more resilient human being, so I really am grateful for it. Now I am almost completely pain-free, and I can now go after these adventures with a much more appreciative mindset. Not so long ago, it looked like my days of climbing and crashing through whitewater were nearing the end, so great was my physical suffering. I was a worn-out shell of a person. Now I feel happy and satisfied, just by the simple absence of pain. As Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Buddhist teacher says “The foundation of happiness is mindfulness.  The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.  If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy.  When we have a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing.  But when we do not have a toothache, we are still not happy. A non-toothache is very pleasant.  There are so many things that are enjoyable, but when we don’t practice mindfulness, we don’t appreciate them.  When we practice mindfulness, we come to cherish these things and we learn how to protect them.”

Appreciation of my family is absolutely the key!

Thank you to all of you who have been making these things happen for me, thank you to the great and wonderful Universe for working through them and myself to bring these little miracles into place, thank you to all of you who read this and are now taking part in this incredible odyssey. Thank you to my awesome friends and my loving, supportive family who have helped me arrive in this place. Thank you thank you thank you!

What amazing things will happen in the future?

My Destiny is to Climb.

Do you believe in destiny, in fate? Some do, some don’t, and mostly the argument seems to be about free will versus determinism, but I have often thought this is too black and white. Does it have to be one way or another? Can’t it be somewhere in between or a little bit of both? What if fate is simply what you decide it is, and if you live with conviction and faith in your desired destiny then perhaps the universe begins to align your experiences with what you believe. Maybe fate is malleable. In any case, that is what I tend to think, and I certainly have seen it at work in my own life, when all the parts and players seem to fall into place before I even arrive. I believe I am arriving at such a place in my life now.

Much of what I am now experiencing has come about by one factor alone: The surprising removal of severe chronic pain from my everyday life. In the fall, my pain had progressed to the point that I was seriously contemplating giving up climbing and outdoor adventures permanently, but after a few weeks of tortured soul-searching, I realized that I was not ready to give it up so easily, and decided that I would still pursue whatever level of climbing was available to me. Maybe I would never climb 5.12, but I could still do moderate routes, and I certainly could still climb easier mountains, and that would be enough for me. At least I would still be climbing.

Then, about two months ago, I discovered Tramadol, or as it is known by its brand name, Ultram. I had been experimenting with different medications, and had had little success in pain relief, but then I tried Tramadol, and to my utter astonishment, found that it removed 98% of my pain, and with little or no narcotic effect on my brain. It is hard to explain to anyone who has not closely experienced the unending agony I had been subjected to for something like 17 years, but anyone who knows me well has also been astonished by the results of taking this medication.

When I realized that this stuff was really working consistently, I knew what I had to do next: Climb. A lot. Make up for lost time. Allow my dreams to flourish. Start training (that is a big one for me since the most severe time of pain for me is the off season when I should be conditioning for climbing, and I was rarely able to get myself in shape.) I began to make plans, and I began to dream big. I might be 41, but I knew that if I could get the resources together, I could still climb the biggest mountains on the planet, and I could still climb 5.12 with some training (okay – a lot of training). That is where I am now.

Climbing partners began making themselves available to me. Even people whom I didn’t suspect being interested in climbing started asking me to take them on climbs. A fund-raising project – The Pain Project – has begun to take shape. I am now planning on making an attempt on my first really ‘big’ mountain – Aconcagua – in the winter of 2012-13. The plan for now is to climb more mountains this year than I ever have before, mostly regional peaks in Oregon, California and Washington with further forays into Idaho, Wyoming and British Columbia. I may be going on as many as three different extended trips, to the Grand Canyon in early June (not really a climbing trip), The Bugaboos at the end of August and the Wind River range somewhere in between or possibly in the fall. Thank God I have a supportive family.

I have always wanted to have a season where I just climb a ton of peaks, and this year is looking really promising. I believe in manifestation, and I feel the universe recognizes my passion for the ascent, and is rewarding me by sending plans and partners in large amounts. Plus, I have signaled to the Universe in turn that I am ready to take this seriously and commit to my calling. Taking action like getting in shape, giving up medications that were really slowing me down (while not really relieving my pain a whole lot) buying the necessary gear required for these ventures, budgeting my limited income to not only have the money and gear I need, but also by being responsible and getting bills paid first. Plus, I am praying more. I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual and really believe in the power of prayer as a means of manifestation. So, if you read this and feel the passion I feel for mountains, say a little prayer for me, would you? Ask the universe to grant me this heartfelt wish. Let me become the alpinist I know I can be. All I lack is the money and a few items of gear. I honestly believe that if I was given the chance, I could climb any mountain in the world. Yes, even Everest, yes, even K2. Time, however, is of the essence. I am not getting any younger.

I have entered a stage of life where many things are coming together in a sort of spiritual convergence. The ineffective pain medication has been left behind, I have been conditioning, I am focused like I haven’t been in…well, ever. The Universe has been speaking to me, giving me ideas, hunches and intuitions, and I have listened and paid attention. I don’t want a lot out of the world, I don’t have outrageous material wants, I don’t crave fame, I don’t need adulation, all I really want is health, a loving &  happy family, a comfortable financial situation and the means to climb the mountains of my dreams. I cannot climb all the mountains I want to, there simply isn’t enough time in ten lifetimes to do so, but if given the chance and the resources, I will climb absolutely as many of them as I can. This is my prayer, this is my plea.

I am ready.