Life slaps me upside my head!

Life slaps me upside my head!

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Hiking

Summit Post. Why?

Looking south towards the...
This website is absolutely driving me insane! Why you ask? It has everything a hiker/climber could want! If you are looking for a mountain to climb, no matter what part of the world you're in, you'll find information on Summit Post. There's information for all types of skill levels. It's on this page that I've learned what classes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are, even though I still can't see the difference between 4 and 5. That just means steep and steepest to me. Yes, I'm a simple man. There are also hundreds of very interesting people that post their climbing experiences. Matter of fact, there are so many posts I highly doubt one could keep up or see them all. Even the nerdiest of nerds, spending 24 hours day on line, couldn't keep up. It's amazing. I can't get enough! So, whats the problem?

This brings me to my dilema.

My Dilema

I've always liked to hike. But, lately, I think I like Summit Post more than hiking. Weird huh? Let me explain, as I spend hours on Summit Post working on my first article.

I feel pressure to hike and post my pictures and trip reports. There, I said it.
I also feel the need to post perfect pictures. No one wants anything lower than a 10! So, I make sure my Nikon Coolpix is always ready and set just right. But, I also know that a photographer I'm not. I try though.
So why, do I feel pressure to go hiking? I shouldn't feel that way. Let me take you back.

Reality slaps me upside the head!

I was married in 1990. My wife was previously married and had two children. I was 22 when we were married, and I now had an instant family. I adopted them both a year later. Life was good.

The year was 1998. I decided I wanted to start hiking with my kids. I started out slowly, exploring the canyons and "family hikes" that are plentiful in northern Utah. In October of that same year, I talked my two nephews into climbing Deseret Peak. We bagged it, and peak bagging became my passion. I climbed several peaks in the Northern Wasatch the next few years with my kids and alone. I secretly wanted to spend an entire summer bagging the Utah county highpoints, knowing all along that I just didn't have the time. My career and family was always a priority.

Flash forwad to 2007. My oldest son is 21. My youngest son is 17. My 19 year old daughter has a child who was born with a rare, genetic muscle disorder. Just as my wife and I are getting to the point where we see the light at the end of the tunnel, it becomes dark. Life as we knew it, came to a standstill. Our life would revolve around this special little boy.

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2008. We adopt Kash, and take on the responsibilty of caring for a handicapped child. This wasn't in the cards. He would require 24 hr care. We would get some nursing help, but not much. How would we do it? He couldn't walk, he has a trach, breathed with the help of a ventilator, and was fed through a tube into his stomach. What would life become? Hiking and doing the things I wanted to do would be put on hold.

2009. I love this little boy more than life itself! Yes it's difficult, but at the same time, very easy. He's extremely smart. Speaks using ASL, can read 50 words! I can't wait to get home from work each night to see him. My marriage is strong! We're not strapped down either. My wife and I run four marathons. My knees kill me! I'm tired of running. I want to hike! The mountains call. I start checking out Summit Post each day, sometimes up to three times a day. I decide that I will start again. My wife agrees as long as I don't over indulge. In November, I bag two peaks on consecutive weekends. I post pictures immediateley. I feel like I'm part of the club. I plan for some vacation around Chistmas. I want to bag two more. I start looking at southern Idaho and the west desert on the other side of the Great Salt Lake.

Christmas Day, 2009. My wife's grandmother dies after being bed ridden the past four years. My wife spends the entire weekend with her mother consoling, and helping plan for the funeral and future as she should. The following wednesday, my wife has to have some minor surgery. Nothing major, but it will lay her up for a few days. The hiking I had planned wasn't looking like it would happen. Plus, it kept snowing! Arrgh! This wasn't supposed to happen! I NEED to post some pictures. I need to keep up with the Jones'!

Yee Haw! I was able to get a nurse for Jan 1st and 2nd of 2010! My wife was going to spend some time with a close friend in Salt Lake. I had two days to hike. On the 1st, I dropped my wife off at her friends and drove straight to the southern end of the Salt Lake Valley and snow shoed up View Benchmark. Took some great pictures too. Yes! But, the clouds came in and it was forcasted to snow the next morning. I had to go hiking, but where? I decided that I would bag Grassy Mountain in the west desert. There shouldn't be to much snow out there.

I woke early and was on I-15 southbound toward Salt Lake. Fog obsured my view to the west, but as I transitioned onto I-80 westbound the sky cleared. I passed the Lakeside Mountains. Not much snow as far as I could tell. I exited off 70 miles west of Salt Lake, and headed north into no mans land. 14 miles later, I transition to a dirt road, only it's snowpacked. Better put the truck into 4 WD. 4 miles later another left, and more snow. No biggie. The peak is in sight. The enemy will fall and I'll have my pictures! 2 miles later the road begins to climb and the snow is drifted. Started to spin. The snow is pretty deep on both sides of the road. Don't want to get stuck. No cell phone service. No one around. Stop the truck Eric! The mountain sits there and laughs at me. I can't turn around. I have to back down the hill. Finally get turned around. Now what am I going to do? What peak am I going to hike? All the access roads are the same, snowpacked.

Wake up dude!

I finally make it to the paved road. I head back toward the interstate, looking over my maps. I settle for a hike on Stansbury Island. Ended up having a good time. No peaks bagged though. Heck, I'll create and album!

On my two hour drive home, I have alot of time to think. I was obsessed. I am obsessed! I need to throttle it back. I realize that I can't rush hiking, something I truly love to do. I'll end up not liking it. But, there are so many peaks that I need to bag! So little time! Then it hits me.


You're 41 years old. You're in the best shape of your life. You just ran 4 marathons. What's the rush? You have plenty of time. Time to enjoy the most important things in life, and hiking is NOT the most important. Time for family and friends. Time to enjoy life. Then, the time to hike will always be there.

So, I post this article in order to validate everything I just wrote about. And, it feels good. I'm posting something that I really thought about. I don't really care if I get 1 vote or a zillion. I have the "Summit Post Fever". I just don't want to have it to the point that I don't enjoy it. I've learned one thing over the past month that will be my new "creed".

"Keep climbing, but be happy".


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Viewing: 1-20 of 40

mountaingazelle - Jan 3, 2010 7:21 pm - Voted 10/10

Quality over Quantity

You’re doing a great job Eric. The amount of mountains that you climb isn’t important. As long as you are having fun climbing the ones that you are able to is what matters.


imontop - Jan 3, 2010 9:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Thanks MG!

That means alot coming from you. I've always enjoyed your stuff here on SP. The pages you have are amazing, and I can tell that you really enjoy writing them. Thanks again!


JDrake - Jan 4, 2010 9:15 pm - Voted 10/10


You got yours right my friend:

"2008. We adopt Kash, and take on the responsibilty of caring for a handicapped child. This wasn't in the cards...

2009. I love this little boy more than life itself!"

Life is unpredictable, but fortunately, the mountains are, and they will always be a place to escape for a bit. I do empathize with you and your desire to "climb it all." At times I was guilty of thinking "oh, this will make a good TR" or "if the sun would just shine differently my picture would be better." Then I realized I wasn't hiking or climbing for me, and the experience wasn't the same. SP is awesome, but now I share some pics here and there while reserving some of those precious outdoor experiences to only my memory.

Of course, I still like seeing the votes. Damn, I haven't overcome SP fever yet I guess...

Keep up the good work - both on SP and in life!


imontop - Jan 5, 2010 3:44 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Priorities

I really appreciate your comments. Yes, life is very unpredictable. Thats what helps grow I guess. Whew! I'm glad I'm not the only SP nerd out there!


BobSmith - Jan 4, 2010 10:49 pm - Voted 10/10


Often, human beings are wonderful.


EricChu - Jan 5, 2010 3:54 pm - Voted 10/10

I like that!

I found that a very nice and very human article! Cheers to you,

Eric (my real name too - Maurice Ravel is a favorite composer of mine!)


imontop - Jan 6, 2010 7:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I like that!

Thanks for the comment. That makes me feel good, because that is exactly what I was trying for. Eric is a cool name huh?


Tracy - Jan 7, 2010 3:47 pm - Voted 10/10


for the reminder about whats really important. I climbed over a hundred peaks last year and was starting to feel like I had to match that this year. So far I have none (that may change tomorrow). However, friends, family, and community service are all rewarding and give a sense of satisfaction also. I guess the key is, " In your life's journey, pursue your passion, but maintain balance!"


imontop - Jan 7, 2010 4:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks

Thanks! Glad I was able to help. Happy climbing man!


FlatheadNative - Jan 9, 2010 4:21 pm - Voted 10/10

No truer words

could be written regarding what is REALLY important in life. Too many times we loose track of the basic necessities of the human existence love and be loved well as...the blessing of learning to seflessly care for others who are not capable of caring for themselves... Your article reminds us of these key elements. If we all could do this for just one other person in our lives the world would be a much healthier/happier place! Thanks for sharing.


imontop - Jan 9, 2010 11:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: No truer words

Thank you for your comments! It was a spur of the moment thing, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy the words flowed onto the monitor.


FlatheadNative - Jan 10, 2010 12:06 am - Voted 10/10

Re: No truer words

we too have an adopted child who is a challenge to parent. There is much anguish and even more joy as we learn to parent her. I also find solace and respite in the mountains and draw strength there as I contemplate the true significance of life.

Mark Doiron

Mark Doiron - Jan 10, 2010 8:18 am - Voted 10/10

Great Article; Great Attitude!

It's obvious from the article that you're not going to let life's challenges get in the way of appreciating the wonders of life itself. Very inspiring; thanks for sharing! --mark d.


imontop - Jan 10, 2010 9:39 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Article; Great Attitude!

Thanks Mark, and you're welcome!

Stu Brandel

Stu Brandel - Jan 10, 2010 11:39 am - Voted 10/10

Well Done

You put some important things into words. I too have felt the pull of 'Summit Post Fever', both as a positive and a negative. I have a daughter with cerebral palsy. Climbing is something that refreshes me and renews my soul but it also can become an ego driven escape. Keep climbing all your mountains.


imontop - Jan 10, 2010 3:42 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Well Done

Thanks! It's amazing what these kids with special needs bring to your life.


climber555 - Jan 10, 2010 5:26 pm - Voted 10/10

well spoken

You have spoken like a man. You know what is important. Keep climbing as much as you can, but make sure to take the time to enjoy it. You are lucky man to live in Utah, as my Black Hills seem small and not high enough anymore. I have to drive 4 hours just to get above treeline. If climbing mountains makes you happy, then don't stop. Just climb higher.


imontop - Jan 10, 2010 6:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: well spoken

Thanks man! The Black Hills look cool to me!


lcarreau - Jan 10, 2010 9:15 pm - Voted 10/10

I spent too much time

on SP's forum pages last year. I'd like to have those hours back,
but that's the thing about time, it waits for no one.

Hey, this is a mountain-related site, but you don't have to be
climbing mountains every weekend to impress people you don't even know.

I wish you the best!

As singer Rick Nelsen once sang, "You can't please everyone, so
you gotta please yourself !!!"


imontop - Jan 10, 2010 9:25 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I spent too much time

Thanks Larry. I still check on those few SP'rs that I consider friends, even though I've never met them, and that includes you!

Viewing: 1-20 of 40