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

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Skiing takes up way too much of my time.
More death in the mountains in the past week.
Canada is still on my mind.
I didn't go to ski academy.
Started to submit photos today.
Ski camp is happening this weekend....
Snow Fairies Dancing
Sleep outside, move yourself, bootpacking required.
No sleds, cats, and 'copters.
North-facing and wind-buffed.
The cornices are mitigated.
Leave your one-piece and clique at home...
Get Some
This is an open invitation.

"Live to Ski"- Thanks for the inspiration Steve Romeo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Getting Out

With the amount of time I spend skiing and especially skiing in the mountains its behooves me to get out and taste the goods of other areas.  While we have extraordinary skiing opportunities here in Montana, I have been pining for a few years to get up to the interior mountains of British Columbia.  I am always one to opt for my own adventure via independence.  Plus, life is expensive enough as is.  So we were off to guide and provide for ourselves.  The amount of terrain available in ranges such as the Bugaboos, Monashees, Selkirks, and the myriads of other ranges blows the mind.  However, it seemed prudent to get a proper introduction on this initial foray.  So it was a simple choice:  Roger's Pass in the Selkirks.

Zana was able to get a week off of work and we made the trek up north through Golden to stay for 5 nights at the only roadside lodging at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park of British Columbia.  Needless to say, we were both geeked to get out and explore this terrain.  Being one to usually live simply it felt quite luxurious to be paying for accommodations in such a ski mecca.  Nice, overpriced, and oh so convenient lodging.  The Canucks and Euros making us poor Americanos feel like good ol' common folk. The car was packed with $250 of choice USA foods and produce, a large grip of elk, and of course all of our allotted beer quota.  We quickly settled in for the week.

We may be paupers, but we know how to move and shred in the hills.  Having a ski partner like Zana is priceless.  She can move in the mountains for 12 hours at the same pace morning through evening.  Plus, she is oh so very excellent at reigning in some of my more fantastical ideas while out and about.  While I may want to boot-up and ski every halfway decent looking north-facing couloir, it is not always the best choice for that particular day's ski.   But, if we agree that conditions are ripe and ready she can be counted on to remain safe and yet steadily move towards our goal.

After a mid-day check-in we put skis and skins on and went out the backdoor.  2000' feet of steep, over-skied, forest brought us to a variable run down through some beautiful old-growth fir-spruce-hemlock forest.  Nothing to really make you buzz, but fresh air and mountain views are always good medicine.  The views out into the Selkirks were eye-popping and created fertile grounds for tomorrow's travels.

The forecast was calling for two more days of good visibility followed by some smallish disturbances.  We were able to get up early the next day and bypassed permits and got going before 7.   So without to much more wordiness here are a sizable array of visual aids.

(note on photos:  The majority of these are untouched photos. In my photographic pursuits I find that by not overshooting scenes I can control and learn more about situations and light.  Too much digital manipulation takes away from the process for me.  I like to come back from a good day with only a few select photos that I deem worthy out of the gate as opposed to sitting at computer for days sorting through endless shots.  While this may limit my output it provides lasting insight.  To each their own.)

Good Morning.
Z Crossing a large run-out zone going up to Balu Pass, cool temps for these ranges at 15 Fahrenheit. 

Looking west into the Cougar drainage.  We would ski the glacier/moraines in the foreground in absolute no visibility a few days later.
Cougar Peak and Ridge....terrain is looking big.
Looking South over the Trans-Canada 1.
Only posing of the week.  Zana making the low-angle slope look good.

Cheops Mountain in foreground with Mount Sir Donald in the back....naming peaks like these for obscure white dudes always seems odd.
Next Day.  Up the Loop Brook to the Bonney Glacier.  This area had been closed for several days to allow for bombing along the road.  Thus, fresh and settled pow.
Looking North at Cheops (across from mouth of Loop Brook)
Z followed by our gracious local guides on the second run off the Bonney Moraines.  At first they thought we were just some more punks from Revelstoke aimlessly following a skin track.  Not these cats.  Hooking up with locals (especially veteran ski patroller locals) usually has its benefits.  Our benefits were two 700 metre runs of outstanding variety and intensity.  The next day's tour follows the spine-like feature of the Lily Glacier lateral moraines seen on the northwest facing slope in the background.
Bonney Moraines.  Incredible 100-200 metre features perched above some super rowdy runs.
Looking at the toe of the Lily Glacier (above blue ice-fall).  The next day's tour would lead us onto the Lily, but snow and super poor visibility would stop us after a few hundred metres of roped uphill travel.
Fantastic touring going up to the Lily.
Day Five proceeds.

On the way from Revelstoke to Nelson.  Revelstoke looks like a place to live.  Not just a resort town filled with real estate agents.  It actually has history and affordable looking housing.  More than a transient community for sure.   Nelson was as expected.  Everyone feeling groovy.  Probably lots of surfers living in the mountains.  Multitudes of lost looking souls.  Organic everything.  Looks like a good place to take a trustfund and act like you are poor.  Like a Canadian version of Arcata, CA.  Been there, done it.  We jammed after a meal and headed to Kootenay Pass.
Camping at the top of the Kootenay Pass.  Neato terrain.  Kinda similar to Teton Pass, but with no Glory hike or Taylor Mountain.  Skied inside a complete wet-blizzard, after the second size 2 avalanche release we agreed to bust camp and head to the states.  Skiing with no visibility and releasing avalanches just is not as fun as it sounds.
Amazing week in the northland.  Skied 6 out of 7 days.  I actually was able to wear Zana down at the end.  Got her close to buying a lift ticket even.  The world has once again been expanded for me, we are so insignificant in the grand scheme of it all.  Love the feel of the mountains and forests up there.  I am constantly reminded of Zana's Canadian citizenship.  How enticing is that?  To have such big country to explore in the winter.  Plus, non-attachment to the disgusting political situation in the states and the mass consumerism of the populace.  I don't need a stinking empire.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slow Ride

Looks like winter might actually get going here in the Northern Rockies of the US of A (discounting those lucky avalanche prone bastards in Cooke).  I have been genuflecting at my snow altar like a religious fanatic the past two months.  I have fully destroyed a pair of K2 Coombacks at Bridger plus that tasty digger in the Gallatins.  My ski tech advisers are advising me to buy better-built skis, or perhaps I should just ride groomers.

The Lines, The Lines
Photobucket The last several weeks I have fully committed to the church of the Spanish Peaks.  Beautiful riding has been the norm.  Not in the mini-alpine zone of Beehive, but beyond.  Skied Blaze Mountain twice, toured to the north side of Gallatin Peak, skied peak 10,602 on 8 different occasions with a variety of good partners.  Pretty sure my feet are getting pissed at me.  The frostbite from last season seems to not be healed.  Every evening has been pain-filled with a good 10 minutes of the screaming barfies in my right big toe.  Sweet reminder of skiing all day in -15 Fahrenheit temps last year.

Keeping it Safe
Photobucket Climbing is taking a rest at the moment.  But at least I ski like a skier and not like a climber.

I love the climbing game, but its rapid transformation into a total ego-driven, me, me sport has really put a bad taste on my palette.  Everywhere I look there is another climber posing down, trying to get noticed for 15 seconds.  Get over it everyone.  Putting your digits and limbs in some granite or sandstone crack or crimping on a dime edge for a pitch and then sitting on your duff for an hour to catch your breath and eat some shitty food is not that impressive.  Wiring routes after 15 goes.  That is so amazing...almost like an idiot savant counting cards.  On-sight it if you can, give 100 percent and after 5 tries maybe wait till you are good enough.  At least in skiing everyone has long ago realized that its a glam sport for the white privileged class.  Climbers are still running around acting like they are living in the Golden Age.  Get over it and get a life.  The most inspiring climbers to me are the ones capable of climbing hard while at the same time maintaining a life (i.e., relationships, children, being an athlete, work, ethical living).

We leave for British Columbia in a few days.  Backcountry skiing is on the menu for 10 days.  To say I am excited is an obvious understatement.  I am beyond stoked.  Do not worry I will bring my camera on every outing and try and actually post while traveling.  A little ego-driven mania for myself.  At least I will have Zana by my side keeping it real.  She really does not care what you do.

Peace to the homies and remember....."Today I didn't even have to use my A.K.  I got to say it was good day."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seaching and Finding

Skiing and more skiing.  Gotta get out even if its not epic.  Been skiing in Yellowstone National Park a bit the past several weeks.  Good stuff, long flat approaches keep the riff-raff out.  Nice country.  Someday I am gonna make a POV movie about a slow approach.  Oh yeah, I would have to waste some money on the camera first.  Nobody Cares About Your POV.  Goes along with the Nobody Cares ethos.

New slogan idea:  "I Skin Steeper Than You Ski".  Zana thought it was stupid....literally.  Maybe she was hating the skin-track I was putting in at the moment.

Took the skis on a great walk into the Southern Madison from the west on Saturday.  After miles of hiking with minimal snow we agreed to turn around.   Saw a nice 200' water ice flow coming out of some limestone.  Drove on some neat country roads.  Was reminded of how you can drive out of Bozeman for 30 miles and enter Montana.

Felt really bad for taking up a day off of Zana's with my silly map-chasing ideas.

I have put in over 10 days already in the Northern Gallatins.  Even installed the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Memorial Skin Track.  Good snow, but getting a little tired of the same treks.  Plus, the skiing is not making my legs tired. 

Went back to one of my favorite zones in the Spanish Peaks.  Success!  Got to do a semi-mega tour.  Booted 1600' of north-facing coolly and then did it again.  Skiing was good, stability was passable.  Did not have to look at Big Sky for long.  The light was amazing.  I did not bring a camera in the interests of going fast and light, plus it was my fifth day in the backcountry this week.  Thought I might start feeling tired.  Got some new ideas rocking for the next week of no snow.

A circumnavigation of Blaze Mountain is coming up soon.  


Friday, January 6, 2012


We are already a few weeks into the Earth's New Year.  Wow!  What can I say, I love skiing so much even a shortage of snowfall and a miserable snowpack cannot dampen my love.  I have been punching the clock up at Bridger much more regularly.  What a special place.  For only a few hundred dollars a year I get my own ski mountain.  Plus, I  like and can relate to the people who work and play there.  Hell Yes!  On the negative side I did not get to enslave any third-world children, cheat some middle class Americans out of their hard-earned money, get Botox, try to act in some ridiculous movie, or hold public office.  YES!!!

Ski that thing.

Multiple (3 last week) avalanche deaths in the region are causing grief for many.  As a surly traditionalist climber it still hurts me to see people who are loved and cherished pass even when its doing what they love.  For many of us, this is one of the choices we make every morning when we step out of the our boxes.  Skiing in the early winter snow environment is a challenging and sometimes intense situation.  This is not like skiing a beat out mountain in May.  Anyone (well, anyone who can ski) can do that.  This is about skiing.  Skiing some powder, getting up in the wilderness, looking at animal tracks, seeking new objectives, and mostly...having fun.  That said, the same part of me that enjoys the challenges of free-solo rock climbing relishes these times in the mountains.  Its me and Ma' Nature.  Its not about luck, its about listening to the earth, sky, and water on one hand.  On the other is knowing yourself and trusting your interpretation of the present, past, and future consequences of action.  When I step onto a rock face and climb, I do not want to die.  When push my skis over the lip, I want to live.  Live life.  Simple as that.  I cannot live it in a box or in front of one.  If I had chosen that life then I would probably be six feet under in one.    Some of us need to feel that darkness pulling at our heels.  Others do not.  We are still lucky enough to get to choose.

Alex Lowe Peak on 01/01/12

So I plod along, poking my poles to the ground, digging in the snow, laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Happy New Year,