May 16, 2017

When did you realize your love for the outdoors?

When I was 8 years old my parents sent me across the country to spend seven weeks at summer camp in Maine. I was crammed in a cabin with a dozen other kids, all wondering how we were going to get through our first summer away from our parents. We were lucky enough to be at a camp whose entire culture was devoted to living a life outdoors. By the end of the first week, I was enthralled by the simplicity of living outside. I learned how to paddle a canoe, cook a meal over a fire, and focus on nothing else but the experience I was having right in front of me. I wanted more, so I came back every summer, and what I learned there inspired me to seek adventure in every aspect of my life.

What does your ideal day adventuring look like?

Spontaneity is the name of the game. Nothing makes me happier than going to a beautiful place with little to no plans, and seeing where the day takes me. It forces me to connect with other people on a personal level, and be more open to unexpected opportunities that present themselves. To be honest, it’s much harder to motivate myself to do that, rather than pick an objective like a climb or a line, but I think the reward you get is well worth the work!

carpPhoto: Trevor Jue

What is your favorite sport to participate in?

Oh geez, all of them? I am obsessed with any type of movement. I sometimes get antsy on long car drives or if I am stuck inside and I just need to get up and go run for a bit. If I had to pick a favorite though, I would probably have to say skiing. When I am skiing that is when I truly feel grounded in the moment—I feel in that ever fleeting state of “flow” that many athletes talk about.

What is your favorite sport to photograph?

I really like shooting backcountry skiing. Not only because it is challenging, but I feel like it allows me to tell a story of our day. Capturing the process of climbing uphill, and skiing downhill, all while being just a small part of a much greater landscape, is what really drives me to want to shoot more backcountry skiing.

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Tell us about an epic adventure you’ve been on.

The summer after I turned 18, I drove my SUV out to Colorado to travel around and take a month long wilderness medicine course. There were a lot of firsts on that trip: it was my first time living out of my car, first time taking a wilderness course, and my first time traveling solo for a trip that long. After all was said and done, the most impactful part of that trip was the hidden benefit of traveling alone. I noticed that since I was alone, strangers were more open to connect with me and help me out. I met so many people along the way that opened up their homes to me, and people who would come on adventures with me on the weekends. I feel like I would not have made those same connections if I had been traveling with someone else or a group. The outcome of the trip solidified my feelings about what adventure means to me, and it stoked the nomadic soul within, driving me to continue this lifestyle.

If you had an all expense paid skiing vacation, where would you go?

Well, as much as it would be cool to travel to some exotic location to ski, there are a lot of places in the US that I have never skied. Particularly the Pacific northwest. I’ve heard incredible stories about the landscape, the people, and most importantly, the skiing. I’ve never skied farther north than Lake Tahoe (on the west coast). I have an idea of doing my own grand tour of the PNW and exploring all of the big mountain ranges and coastlines that it has to offer.

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If you could run out of gasoline anywhere, where would it be? (next to a gas station does not count!)

Personally, I’d say somewhere in Boulder, CO. I think it would be pretty easy to find some people kind enough to help us out, and because if I was stuck in a place for a while and needed to kill some time, Boulder would be the place!

If you could have one commodity from home life what would it be?

A big refrigerator! I’m working with just a cooler in my van right now, and wrestling with the idea of eventually getting a fridge. Having a big fridge (with a freezer) would be a game changer since I love to have as many fruits and veggies in my meals as possible. When I am away from civilization for extended periods of time, it’s hard to keep fresh produce. What doesn’t sound great about coming back from a long, hot day of climbing and pulling out a few ice cream bars from the freezer?

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Do you have a pee jug for late night emergencies?

Of course! When you come for a stay in Hotel-Promaster you will get your very own pee jug as well! Please, take it with you as a souvenir when you leave. You can put it on your mantle and tell your houseguests all about the time you opted to pee in a bottle instead of facing ice or snow in your most vulnerable state. What a conversation starter!

What is the worst thing you’ve ever cooked in your van?

I had a friend bring some home-seasoned bacon and we cooked it in the parking lot at the Mt. Baldy Ski area. I’m pretty sure it attracted every squirrel and chipmunk in the surrounding mountain range, and my van reeked of burnt brown sugar and bacon for days!

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If you could have a drink with any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be with and what would you drink?

I would want to hang out with Brendan Leonard, a well-known adventure writer and the mind behind Semi-Rad.com. I’ve been a huge fan of his writing for years, and I love the concept of being “semi-rad” that he writes about. It speaks to a lot of people in a way that encourages you to get psyched about anything, even if it’s not groundbreaking or extreme. Also, I’d want to eat burritos with him. I know he doesn’t drink, and I could’ve just chosen a non-alcoholic drink, but I just really really like burritos…and the statement “Burritos with Brendan Leonard” just rolls off the tongue. Maybe one day!

Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant mouse?

GIANT MOUSE! Mainly because I like cheese, and being giant means I get to eat a giant amount of cheese. Also, being a mouse has its advantages in the climbing world. We severely underestimate the technical edge of having the ability to “scurry” up things. You never hear your partner yell “yeah, just scurry up that cruxy section!” right? Maybe us climbers should work scurrying into our everyday routine.

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All photos courtesy of Jake Carpenter
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