Life slaps me upside my head!

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Life slaps me upside my head!
Created On: Jan 3, 2010
Last Edited On: Jan 3, 2010

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

maddie77777 - Jan 12, 2010 12:06 pm - Voted 10/10

I know how you feel...

I feel the same way when seeing all these other people climbing and hiking, that I need to get out there right away! Although, it feels much better to want to get to the mountains than it does to want that new tv, doesn't it?


imontop - Jan 12, 2010 2:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I know how you feel...

Yep, I'll agree with you on that. I hardly watch TV. But, then thats probably because I have ny nose buried in Summit Post!


garchov - Jan 14, 2010 2:23 pm - Voted 10/10

You da man!

I understand your passion for hiking but I respect your priorities even more. I hiked a lot in central Idaho and now in Sedona, Az as well. You have the time just as you said my friend. Hell, I'm 57 and still get myself into scarey situations from time to time but I love it! Rock on dude!


imontop - Jan 14, 2010 3:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: You da man!

Thamks man! I appreciate your comments.


benjydaniel - Jan 14, 2010 9:23 pm - Voted 10/10

grow up? not yet

I've seen some of your articles and i am impressed. living in northern utah, i completely understand what you're talking about when you talk about the pull these mountains have. In a way it kind of makes me dread growing up when I'll have responsibilities and can't go climbing every time i want.
Got to admit though, I don't really get or relate to what your talking about...yet. probably someday i will. until then... i'll just have to really enjoy the freedom of being in highschool.


imontop - Jan 14, 2010 10:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: grow up? not yet

Yeah, enjoy your footloose and fancy free life while you can brother, because it will change one day. But, so will you, and the things you don't relate to now, you will.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Jan 19, 2010 8:59 am - Voted 10/10


I agree... it is so easy to get too much into SP... You did a great job with your article.
Regarding your adopted handicapped son - it is hard. I think that I can understand being a pediatrician, and I used to follow up home ventilated children. You are never off - small plug in the trach and emergency starts... You are an amazing man! Good luck to you, and happy peak bagging (even if you would want to do more...)


imontop - Jan 19, 2010 2:04 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: obsession...

Thanks for you comments Liba. It's so good to hear of others who feel the way I do. Hike on!


imontop - Jan 20, 2010 4:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Cool read.

Thanks man! That means alot coming from you. You're one of the guys I check up on and admire. Yeah, it just hit me that day, and I thought I'd share it. I had no idea it would get the response it has. I guess all of us SP'rs struggle with this at times.


Marcsoltan - Jan 21, 2010 3:13 pm - Voted 10/10


You're my hero,



imontop - Jan 21, 2010 7:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Eric,

Oh no! Don't even go there Marc! Just trying to get by. Thanks for your support though. Thanks Marc!


beaudaddy85 - Jan 26, 2010 1:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Hey Eric,

Thanks for sharing your story. It’s nice to know that others have this desire and passion... Sometimes the pull can be so strong, almost waging war within our soul, but I'm learning to find a balance. I'm married and have 3 little kids’ ages 7months to 5years, the oldest we adopted when she was 5 months old... so there is a ton of responsibility and balance to juggle, but when the wilderness calls my heart is beckoned to its voice.

I see it as a place to meet with God, a place of refreshing and recharging so I can go back and deal with the trials that life can bring... to find strength for my family...

Thanks again Eric for being transparent. Not everyone gets out as much as it sometimes seems... lol



imontop - Jan 26, 2010 10:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Hey Eric,

Thanks for your comments Beau. I had no idea that there were so many out there, who love the outdoors, and struggle to find the time to bag a peak. And I'm sure you're right; some people post so much, it seems like they wouldn't have time to work or care for a family!

Good luck with the balancing act my friend!


Grampahawk - Jan 26, 2010 3:41 pm - Hasn't voted

Time ticks away

I know how you feel. I took a break for about 20 years with kids, work, etc. I hit 55 years old, my kids were out of the house and I felt this would be my time to "catch up". Then I tor my right knee-lost some time. The next year I was rear ended and have permanent nerve damage to some fingers- time lost. Just as I recover from that I tear my other knee. That gest repaired and I get hit from behind again. I have been hard-pressed to get about 6 months of climbing in each year in the past 5. I feel obsessed with getting out there before I can't physically do it any more.


imontop - Jan 26, 2010 10:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Time ticks away

Thats too bad about all those accidents! Thats sucks big time! Hang in there, and just try to do what and when you can. Keep hiking man!


shknbke - Jan 27, 2010 5:44 pm - Voted 10/10

nice article

You're taking the right stance in not putting the mountains in front of your family. I learned that the hard way. The mountains will always be there for you, your family may not. That's cool that some of your kids are able to hike with you. Savor those moments!


imontop - Jan 27, 2010 11:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: nice article

Thanks for your comments!


Marmaduke - Feb 18, 2010 10:28 pm - Voted 10/10

You've done right!

Wow, you deserve "man of the Year" in your town. Put's everything in perspective.


imontop - Feb 19, 2010 9:54 am - Hasn't voted

Re: You've done right!

I don't know about that, but I appreciate the comments.


pookster1127 - Feb 8, 2013 6:23 pm - Voted 10/10

Me too

The weather sucks for climbing - so I post, read, and comment. Ahhhh. It does seem so weird. I am hooked.

BTW - sounds like you have a great family.

Viewing: 1-20 of 40

Life slaps me upside my head!

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