“I want to be the best. I want to be the best, simple and plain. That’s why I play the game, because to be the best you have to win. And that’s what drives me.” – Kobe Bryant
You can run, but you can’t hide from who you are. You can fight it or you can embrace it, but eventually it will catch up with you.
For the past few months I have been content hiding from the thought of venturing back into the unknown. Why should I, I keep asking myself. Why should I go back into the wild and walk that thin line of danger and adventure? When does it all become enough vs. too much? When do you cash out ? Or when do you say f—- it, I’m going all in? It’s easy you know, when you have nothing to lose. But, now that I have my career back on track, an amazing girlfriend, and no real reason to risk personal injury why should I go back out into the wild, rather than live comfortably and continue my somewhat domestic life? A lot of people hide behind photos and portray a life to others they wish they could live. Photos from seemingly life and death situations doctored up by camera angles to make it appear that they are living life on the edge, when they are really 3 feet off the path well traveled. But then again, who am I to judge? If it makes them feel alive and gives them fuel to make it through the next few weeks of the 9-5 grind then all the more power to them.
Their are times I’ll admit that I’m completely out of my element. I went snowboarding for the second time in my life with a group of close friends. I nearly $*#@ my pants when they convinced me to go up to a black diamond run. There was no turning back once I was up there and no matter how terrified I truly was, I was going down that icy run whether my mind liked it or not. I am not going to even pretend like I can say I snowboarded a black diamond run. It was more of a snow plow, sliding mess and I was never a happier person than when I made it to the bottom. It was definitely less than graceful but I felt accomplished all the same. I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this and laughing right now. I know I would be. It’s funny to think that after all I have been through: a last minute trip to Madagascar where we faced less than ideal living conditions, a boat trip with Mikala Jones to one of the most remote big waves spots I have ever been to in the world, Cortez Bank, Peahi, swimming in large Pipeline and Teahupoo, backpacking the Ko’olau Mountain Range, and some other situations that I’m less than proud to say I have gotten myself into that I would be…. I don’t know more used to it by now. But I’m human just like anyone else.
So after being reminded that I’m not superman, nor in the same league as the guys who just freed one of the toughest routes in the world in Yosemite, Shane Dorian, Mikala Jones, Alex Honnald, Jimmy Chin, Keith Ladzinski, Russel Ord, Zak Noyle or a hundred other people I could list right now that I look up to… Why on earth would I want to throw myself back out there in harms way?
I sit here writing this to you as I’m packing for another mountain traverse on Oahu. The weather looks borderline ideal/nightmarish but I already committed in my head to going. My goal is to GPS track and photograph the entire Ko’olau Mountain Range in one shot. Something that has never been done. Chase and myself have both successfully completed the entire traverse but neither of us have successfully GPSed the entire summit or documented it with a proper camera. My intentions for doing so are to help those who want to do it for themselves to have access to valuable info that may help them in their times of need. Whether it’s a bailout trail, where a cozy location to pitch a tent, or a tricky obstacle, this information will hopefully help others succeed where I failed on my previous attempts.
As noble as this all sounds, I must admit I’m bored. It has been a while since I have tested myself against the elements and partook in hiding from comfort.
Reinhold Messner is considered today as one of if not the world’s greatest mountaineers. He was recently interviewed by National Geographic. I spent an entire afternoon captivated by this man’s interview and was inspired once again by his words. “If you are there waiting fear is going. If you are acting fear is getting less…. You can also die, but the art of adventuring is not dying.” He continues to say. “Adventuring is adventuring and you can do it only if you are on your own and carry all your responsibilities on an ascent and descent.”
I’m not going into the unknown of life or death. I will not change the world or cure cancer by doing this. I will definitely not win a nobel prize and be showered with sponsorship offers or be considered the greatest hiker of all time. But, I will once again be a changed person and have the personal satisfaction of not being afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I may also inspire someone else to step outside their comfort zone. I will be honest, I have a great deal of respect for this mountain range. It is no joke and the consequences of mistakes are severe. So do your homework, because even the most experienced hikers, mountaineers whatever you choose to call us, myself included, have gotten lost up there or encountered some close calls along the way. However I’d rather fail 100 times over and over again and learn the tough lessons along the way than live my life in complete fear of the unknown. So embrace the journey and #GoAnywhere. See you…. Well when I see you.