While my wife and I were honeymooning in July, 2 of our close friends died climbing in Peru. I shared epic adventures with both Gil and Ben. Just starting this post has taken me weeks.
This post isn't about their accident on Palcaraju Oeste. This post is to thank Gil and Ben for their friendship and inspiration. They showed me that when we are done trying to fit in, we are ready to stand out. They taught me how to Live The Epic Life with endless fire inside.
“It’s a lost, or it’s kind of an ignored idea, the idea of magnificent failure rather than a mediocre success.”- Peter Croft
Their indomitable spirit will continue to live on through the community of great people they influenced. Gil and Ben were with me in spirit during the adventures I've recounted below:
27-mile 9 Peaks Traverse
My 2012 ultra adventures resumed with the 27-mile San Bernardino Traverse. I've done this route from west to east and east to west multiple times over the years. It's a big day. This time, our group went east to west. The route begins on the (now super-popular) Vivian Creek trail out of Forest Falls with an 8-mile ascent of the highest SoCal peak, San Gorgonio (11,500’), and continues across the entire ridge above 10,000’ to San Bernardino Peak.
I jumped on the permit with Dax, Jess, Paul and Dave and these guys pushed a killer pace, where I barely held on and ascended “San G” in 3hrs11min, for a PR by 19min. Then we ran through a crazy hail/rain/lightning/thunder storm above San Bernardino peak before descending to our other car we left at the Angelus Oaks trailhead in 8hrs for a PR on this route of 30min. Not a bad way to get back into things!
30-mile Jacinto to Snow Creek
Two weeks later, I had put in for another permit to do 9 Peaks with James and Airey but I never heard back from the rangers. So I suggested the missing part of a project I’m working on, which was a similar time and distance commitment.
the tram out of Palm Springs and hiked up San Jacinto, then proceed to run all the way down the other side via the Fuller Ridge trail and the PCT down to Snow Creek trailhead. Exploring new trails, especially the PCT, is pretty much my all-time-favorite thing to do!
25-mile Cactus 2 Clouds 2 Idyllwild
Two weeks later, it was time for another attempt at what backpacker magazine calls the 5th hardest day hike in North America. Last time I tried this route I had to bail at the tram due to altitude issues.
The next weekend, my buddies from www.pullharder.org and I hosted the 3rd annual Pullharder Marathon. It was a rainy day and the trails were a mess, but everyone enjoyed the race, and I ran the full marathon. Plus my brother was in town so we ran about 16 miles together which was great. I always enjoy running with my bro!
Lake Hodges 50K
I was pretty beat up from the back-to-back weekends of high miles so I pulled the plug on racing Paul’s Lake Hodges 50K and volunteered instead. I helped with traffic and parking, worked at an aid station and ran some errands. Dozens of friends raced that day, many running their first 50K, which was great to see because that was my first 50K 5 years ago!
I’m so stoked for Paul and inspired by the way he is following his dream 100%. Both Paul and his wife Carrie now run their own businesses, and to see their passion and hard work be rewarded is super motivating. We have formed an endurance team for 2013 that will be announced soon so stay tuned!
Mt. Whitney East Buttress
This was originally supposed to be the weekend a big group of us were going back to run the Grand Canyon R2R2R in Ben's memory. Just a week out, my buddy Austin invited me to his bachelor party, scheduled for the same weekend. The plan was to climb the East Buttress of Mt. Whitney with me on the other end of his rope, plus Albert and Jake climbing too. This turned out to be the most epic trip of the year, with a 21-hour summit day full of punishment and glory.
|East Buttress on the right side of the main peak behind us. Photo by Dr. Albert Lin|
This was just the adventure we needed to celebrate Austin’s wedding and our enduring friendships. I put some new gear from Skinfit to the test while we each pushed the boundaries of our physical and mental limits. When Gil and I moved to San Diego together in 2005, this was the crew we first got into climbing with:
|Check out the shadow from the peak in the center. Photo by Dr. Albert Lin|
Before this, the hardest post I ever wrote was my first blog post 5 years ago. The adventures I shared with Gil then are what inspired me to begin blogging. But a few hundred blog posts later, I thought my time as a blogger might have been over. That was until the day Ben told me it was my blog that got him into ultra running and blogging. This post was for Gil and Ben. They continue to inspire.
|Gil Weiss (left) on Lost Arrow Spire, Ben Horne (right) on Traitor Horn. Photo by Ben Horton|
My adventures for 2012 have come to a close and the plans for another epic year are already in the works. Thank you all for an incredible year, and your support during the hard times. Have a happy and healthy holiday season and make sure you Live The Epic Life.
Yours in Adventure,