Wish I Had Said That

"I learned long ago not to be intimidated by an absence of difficulty"
- John Gill

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."-Frederick Douglass

"If my thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine"-Bob Dylan

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fear and Loathing in the Mountains (please save us Hunter)

       Criticism is an art-form of the literary world, ancient and primordial. Funny, how it is increasingly absent in the feel good world of mountain culture. It’s lack there of is seen in everything from editorials to trip reports to gear reviews. Once upon a time a publication would not be afraid to take a potential advertiser’s product and give it a honest, level, impartial judgment. Nowadays, the reader should never take a reviewer’s published opinion seriously. They are most likely trying to placate their editor and probably hope to get sponsored by the very same gear company that they are reviewing. Or they are taking advertising money from the same company. So we are left with the observation that all products that are reviewed are awesome and we should immediately throw-away our still useful item and run-out and buy said new product post-haste. The same holds true in so-called editorials and in general most articles published in today’s skiing, climbing, biking and so on literature. Not too mention a vast majority of individual participant’s internet blogs. Currently, we are bombarded with feel good, self-gratification cheerleading in a variety of forms. Look at me, look at us. Are we not rad and insane? Don’t you wish you could be like us? Well, you better start trying harder. Buy this, go there. Nobody wants to offend or challenge. Many of the people at the heart of climbing’s so-called “Golden Age” refused to purposefully publicize and glorify their actions for the intent of making a living. If they were able to make a few bucks giving a slide show or selling a print then that meant a few more days on a wall. Long gone are the days of Doug Robinson writing about clean climbing, he’s off rap-bolting on Half-Dome in Yosemite while Yvon Chouinard is selling us the same yoga outfit with a different name every season.

        I call them book reports on my blog. I do not want to read them and you should limit your reading of them. There is probably something more worthwhile for you to be doing anyhow. Rarely, anymore do I take the time to actually read blogs or in general any writings in the mountain rags. There is a copy of nearly every Alpinist sitting at my house, and for a decade I used to read just about anything Climbing and Rock and Ice published. A year ago or so I thought that The Ski Journal was becoming something artistic and unconventional. Then suddenly I was reminded that skiing sold-out a long time ago.  Any sport that at its core is aligned with golf courses and real estate developments is definitively in need of a complete make-over.  If it is not being done with a helicopter, in Europe by Swedes, or by one of their bros they are not going to be publishing it.  Plus, just look at the gear.  Its not like its that hard anymore.  Sure, for some dude from Minnesota who gets to ski a few days a year it feels hard.  But I am pretty sure the only way an proficient alpine skier is going to fall anymore is by hucking themselves off a cliff.  Ask any photographer who has worked in the industry for a number of years and they will relate stories of the self-involved nature of the subjects and participants taking part in these sports. The Alpinist used to avoid posed photographs, surely their attitudes have changed by now, if not then bravo to them on their lonely journey.

         That is fantastic that you saved, borrowed, were given, or begged the thousands of dollars to finance your trip to some far-off land. Good job. No epics? Super as well, we cannot all be mountain martyrs. Its nice when limbs or lives are not lost on our narcissistic adventures. But all the same, please give your readers a little depth, something to hold them and inspire them. Stop the name dropping and clique building. Its great that we love to share our experiences in nature with anybody who will listen. But what is the purpose of these adventures? Should it not be to deeply connect with that ancient soup that is at the very core of our matrix? If we are only inspired by the boasting of some meaningless numbers, cultural voyeurism, and social/business networking then we need to re-wire this mountain culture for its surely becoming nothing more then a bubble-gum adolescent hobby. Bring back some of that attitude and the spirit of independence that is the vital soul of the mountains. It actually is the act of experiencing our natural environment on its terms that is the most noble calling.

       This probably just ruined my chances of getting sponsored. Damn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Skier Gentrification

I'll give it ten years and this zone will be fully gentrified by the "dirtbag" skier "culture".  The goods are just too tasty.  Surely, we will be seeing more articles and photos imploring the masses to come ski this last best place.  It is the way.  Until then, I am going to get mine.

 photo f498560c-1789-480e-ae32-4ce6551e6564.jpg Six solid days on top of several previous days around Bozeman created a nice little ski holiday from my normal ski holiday. As my partner sat at home fighting a virus and wishing she could ski with me. I was honored to ski a few days with one of the few winter residents of Cooke who actually back-country skis. Hopefully I passed the muster, even with a non-dynafit set-up. The anti-social nature fits me well. Skiing and partying in posses has no attraction for me. It just slows the process down and you are held to the whims of the most conservative members of your posse. Skied two blissful days by myself, pounding some north-facing steep powder. Even got to listen to some streaming dub-step up high on the spines of Montana. Hell Yes!  photo _AMW1379_edit_bw_resize.jpg Oh yeah, namaste bitches.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Are You Famous Yet?

Been keeping it close to the vest since last year.

Seeking some modesty in this over-hyped world we've got going.

That charisma is gonna get ya'.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Self-Analyzation Arranged with Complex Paragraph Structure

I am coveting the mindset of the cool, calm and collected human animal. The Zen master within me is restless and is taking control. Working on the side of a cliff tearing it apart and then encasing it in metal. What a interesting way to get after the cash.  This cash that is required to fuel any existence in the modern-world.  I feel lost at times, we are not what we do for work.  Instead I believe that we are what we do for pleasure and health.  If those choices are peaceful, then the world benefits.  If not, then more hate, anger, and pain is put forth towards all life-forms.

I nourish my inner-peace with taking work in a foreign environment (i.e. the deep south), working with plenty of individuals with no comprehension of the world that I have chosen to live in, and being away from the things I love.  Practicing patience with those who would scoff at my life, moving forward and smiling and taking the time to learn another's perspective.  This causes deeper reflection for me.  Live has slowly pushed and pulled me along many paths.  I have found love a few times, felt absolutely lost just as often, and plenty of times just in-between.  My early twenties were a time of change and formation of the actual self.  At times nothing seemed worth it, yet I still long for the love of those days.  I was mistreated and I mistreated as well.  I ended up having to run-away for the sake of sanity.  Our brains take up to 30 years to fully mature. From the start a good life has always been there.  Loving family, friends, and safety were always present.  Others are not so lucky, even in this privileged state of affairs occurring in the modern Euro-American dominated paradigm.

Why do we do the things we do and for what? We all want to compare our situation to everyone else's. If you tell me how hot it is where you live, I will come back with the proper retort of how hot I have seen it. And so on. I almost crushed my finger off a few months ago, and now if I bother to tell anyone about it they will most likely reply with their own story of personal injury. Are we listening to each other? Or just waiting to flap our lips? Quietness is so surreal and special. It seems to be losing the battle in our little world and time-space. I am practicing listening and hearing people when they talk to me. Not arranging my next story or witty comeback. As the songs says: "You start a conversation you can't even finish it. You're talkin' a lot, but you're not sayin' anything. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Say something once, why say it again?"- Talking Heads, Psycho Killer.  I remember the stories that are told to me.

You are still reading this.  Why?  Do you not need to be bombarded by some other data source?  I have not bragged about what I have been doing, instead I am contemplating the human condition.  It seems our culture could use a little more of that.  Stop this living for a future that is not guaranteed, choose to live for the present and the future will be beautiful if you are acting in a truly moral and ethical way.  Which way?  I do not know.  You and your ego can pick out of the magician's top-hat.  Everybody seems to have that one figured out for themselves and have convinced themselves that they are doing right by some mythical belief system.  Perhaps instead it would be wiser to practice the preaching.  Lay down the gavel of judgement and pick-up some true compassion.  There are whole tomes with millions of believers that are mis-quoted daily for the purpose of elevating the self.  Chase money if that is what is important, if that brings you happiness, security, and all that shit.  Perhaps our careers, credit reports, diplomas and consumeristic objects define us.  If so chase that race.

I will be busy chasing bliss.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lets Get Known

Ski Season 2012 has come to a close for me.  Made it through a superbly fickle winter season and a surprisingly good spring season.  Plenty of poor light, poor snow, and then sometimes just good skiing days limited the number of quality photos that I was able to capture.  Plus, what fun is going skiing if you are stopping and freezing your hands to take photos all the time?  I love to ski.  If i can shoot a few decent photos out of all it, then so be it.

The following represent the best I was able to capture with an out-dated, but light, Nikon D60 with 18-55mm lens.  Limited editing was performed on the majority of photos and they are all relatively un-posed.  You may notice a lack of hucking, jibbing, helicopters, snow-machines, lift-accessed skiing, and the like.  There is enough of that already.  Its not about models, gear, clothing, and trying to get known.  This is all about getting out in the wilds, finding beautiful un-tracked lines and skiing them with good friends.

May your summer be fantastic and short, let the fall bring a stable early-season snowpack, and lets have a stellar 2013 ski season.

Thank You,

Andrew Whitmore

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How thin is your skin?

Blogging is stupid.  

Here are a couple of bumper-sticker worthy sayings I've been working on.

"Climbing:  Helping Over-Privileged White-Boys feel special for 200 years"

"You reproduced.  Congratulations."

"Alpine Skiing:  So Easy You Can Do It Stoned, Drunk, On Acid and Still Not Fall"

Friday, March 23, 2012


The Back 40 at South Cottonwood
Is it time to switch some gearing on the recreational focus?  I have been tossing this one around once more, like I always do in the spring.

Rock-climbing is a very unforgiving pursuit.  Its not exactly like riding a bike, paddling a boat, or most other activities (I prefer to not put climbing in the category of a sport).  The more time spent away from the rock the harsher the mental grip can become.  Clear, calm, mental rhythms are the essence.  Nothing is more annoying to me then being up on a a climb I know I can do but being too weak to finish it, well nothing except being scared in that situation.  Weakness equates to fear and is fertile ground for its growth.

So the season of change is upon us.  Skiing in the mountains well get some more attention, but at the moment my legs are feeling heavy and unresponsive.  Its all about taking advantage of the situation and not being pigeon-holed to one interest.

Whatever you do have fun.