The Conflict of Adventure

Most of us live in cities, only to rush into the forests the moment the weekend arrives; conflict or balance? Many of us own thousands of dollars  worth of the most technically advanced gear available, just so that we can go into the woods to “live simply”; conflict or balance?

All parts of life are ripe with these conflicts (or balances), and climbing is no exception. Last week I was smacked in the face with one, the Conflict of Adventure.

Shot tower panarama

Shot Tower and surrounding peaks. We hope to make the first free-ascent of the 1600′ (490m) West Ridge. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Gray.

This summer, I will embark on another large, exploratory climbing expedition deep into the Alaskan wilderness. As a group of four, we will spend approximately three weeks attempting to establish new rock climbing routes in the isolated Arrigetch Peaks, a sub-range of the infamous Brooks Range mountains. Our trip to these peaks will involve an 8-hour drive down a dirt-road, a flight on a small bush plane into the depths of the Gates of the Arctic National Park, and two days of off-trail hiking through grizzly country, all just to reach the base of these mountains. Needless to say, this place does not see so much traffic and was chosen as our destination specifically for its adventurous characteristics.

Battleship blog

Battleship Peak. The only established route on the peak climbs the obvious, gaining ridge. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Gray.

Over the last couple months, I have spent an increasingly long amount of time researching, planning, emailing, calling, questioning, and trying everything I can think of to locate even the tiniest granules of helpful information about this area. During one of my many middle-of-the-night, cross-Atlantic phone calls to previously unknown climbers who have visited this region before, the man I was speaking with was hesitant to share all that he knew because, in his words, he didn’t “want to give away the keys to the castle”. In short, he was worried about spoiling that unknown that I so fiercely desire.

Why is it that while I crave the Unknown, so much so that I am willing to travel to another continent for an opportunity to experience it, I am simultaneously trying to shatter it by collecting page after page of information that makes it “known”?

I feel, that as climbers, this tricky balancing act occurs on almost every route. Whether it is a first ascent on a remote peak, or a flash attempt at your local crag, we all want to have enough information so that we feel; a level of safety, a level of comfort, and a chance of success, whatever the goal may be.  It is only after this, that we are ready and willing to step into the Unknown.

Coming face to face with the Unknown on Offline, in Bohuslan, Sweden

Coming face to face with the Unknown on Offline, in Bohuslan, Sweden. Photo courtesy of Rami Valonen

For more stoke-inducing photos of the Arrigetch Peaks, as well as a trip report to the area, click here!

6 thoughts on “The Conflict of Adventure

  1. Hay! And on to the next adventure. Have fun in Japan. When is the Alaska trip? Mush

    On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 6:08 AM, Adventures of Alan G. wrote:

    > alangoldbetter posted: “Most of us live in cities, only to rush into the > forests the moment the weekend arrives; conflict or balance? Many of us own > thousands of dollars worth of the most technically advanced gear > available, just so that we can go into the woods to “live simply” >

    Like

  2. Sounds like a great trip. Alaska is spectacular,you will certainly be in a true wilderness. Bring bear spray,in case no one has mentioned that yet:)

    Like

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