My New Poem Of Resistance

The Resistance Racoon.jpg

I have a new poem out with Writers Resist.

In English:

When Our Culture Is Los Angeles Instead of Joshua Tree, This Is How We Elect a President

And it was just translated into German today (In this scenario, I’m the resistance racoon):

Wenn unsere kulturelle Heimat Los Angeles heißt statt Joshua Tree, wählen wir so einen Präsidenten


Fall Rock Climbing In Oregon

Rock climbing in the fall in Oregon, on clear, cold, sunny days is about as good as it gets.

The following photos and the Ridgemont Video at the bottom are all filmed by Ben Leroy.

First, check out the color of this fall sky:

Blue Sky Columns

Second, here’s the “Third Column Face Variation”:

Face Variation

Finally, click here for a video of a quick top-rope lap on my favorite finger crack in Oregon.

If you’ve never climbed that crack, you should come do it. Crack climbing doesn’t get a whole lot better than that (I’d stack this one, short pitch against anything I’ve done in Yosemite – and my friend who guides in the Tetons says that he misses The Columns more than anything since he moved to Wyoming).


Joshua Tree Versus Los Angeles – Ridgemont Video On My Writing Residency

During my short-term writing residency in Joshua Tree National Park this spring, pro skater and Ridgemont filmer Coop Wilt came up to visit me, climb, and adventure together. He shot this footage and Stacey Lowery edited it.

Click here to see the video.

Joshua Tree N.P. Writer-In-Residence, Day 13

So many beautiful days here. The sky is a smear of pure blue, and even high cirrus clouds don’t mean rain coming.

An update:

– I followed a Mexican Rosy Boa into the creosote the other night.


– I rock-climbed with a few survey biologists.

– I rock-climbed with two excellent Japanese climbers all afternoon one day even though we didn’t speak each other’s languages.

– I explored another granite-piled mountain behind my house.


– I finished revising my novel (THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU LAUGH) and sent it to my editor at Knopf.

– I found a hipster mustache in a rotten potato.

Photo on 2015-03-31 at 12.30

– I camped out five nights under the stars.

– I found petroglyphs with my buddy Coop.


– I read and read and read, and especially liked Nicholson Baker’s THE ANTHOLOGIST and Anne Patchett’s THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE.

– And now I am incredibly excited to be going home soon to see my girls.

New Places Or Getting To Know One Wild Place Well?

This is an old, old debate between outdoors people:

Which is better, going to different places, being inspired by new natural settings OR getting to know one wild place really really well?

Both are good philosophies.  New, different, inspiring places and activities spark curiosity and require adaptability.  And that’s excellent.  It’s good to get out of your comfort zone.

But learning a somewhat wild place (a place that has no trails and no water and no bathrooms) and getting to know everything about it is very cool too.  That inspires confidence and a love for the outdoors, a love for place.

So, basically, are curiosity and adaptability more important than confidence and love?  I’d say they’re both important, good and noble. But which one is more so?
I definitely shade toward the fewer locations.  Jennie, the girls, and I have spent large quantities of time in Yosemite Valley (CA), at the Sisters Boulders (Central OR Desert), at The Columns (Eugene, OR), and on the Willamette River (OR).
By going back to these locations over and over, we’ve gotten to know the plants and animals, the prevailing winds, the hidden places in the rimrock, the river holes that hold trout, the birds that nest in certain Ponderosa Pines.  So immersion has led to deeper understanding.
The latter three locations also fall more into a localist ethic, that it’s better to adventure near your home than to spend inordinate amounts of money and resources to adventure across the globe.
But that’s another debate…
I’d love anyone to weigh in on either of these.

Dirt Notes (Everyday Dirtbag #145)

The Yosemite dirtbags gave up houses, vehicles, television, new clothes, money to travel, and sometimes food, all to live in the splendor of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park.

An “everyday dirtbag” hasn’t made that level of commitment, but her or she can still live a nice dirt-style.

This week’s eleven everyday dirtbag notes:

1.  Total days climbing:  4 (all endurance, all moderates)

2.  Days of outside climbing:  1 (Total vertical feet climbed that day:  650)

3.  Showers this week: 2

4.  Un-dirtbag-like:  9 minutes on Twitter

5. Free clothes worn:  All free, all week

6.  Un-dirtbag-like: 11 minutes on Facebook (maintaining Fan page)

7. Best dirtbag food day:  Wednesday (3 free cookies, 2 free pieces of banana bread, a pile of soggy chips no one wanted to finish, and half of my co-worker Sarah’s burrito)

8.  Jerks I met climbing:  2 (one who chips routes whenever he feels like it and one who complains about the crowds every single time he goes outside)

9.  Times I was sand-bagged by my-only-friend-in-the-entire-world-Jeff-Hess:  1

10.  Ultimate un-dirtbag-like:  78 emails sent this week

11.  Days biking:  6 (all but Sunday)