austincamsmith austincamsmith

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Austin Smith  📍Denver, CO Colorado 14ers finisher 🏔 TransAmerica Trail finisher 🏍 Pilot 🚀

We’re a week from June and Denver is covered with three inches of snow. It has me missing Moab and it’s sunny, ragged landscape. Here’s a flashback to earlier in the season when the @losthorizoncreative crew spent a couple days getting lost in the desert. This is a photo the famous @monascherie snagged of me the last evening of that weekend in the middle of one of the best sunsets I’ve seen this year.

Leaving the still snowy mountains for the desert again today. The diversity of the geography in the American West still amazes me. What do you feel like? Skiing, desert, alpine lakes, the prairie? You can be there in an hour.

I’m in the middle of my typical Friday crisis: realizing I have no plan for the weekend, no bags packed, and only a vague notion that I want to stand on top of a mountain somewhere in Colorado. HALP.
Photo: a skier makes an exit from a couloir on Citadel Peak. These spring conditions = 🤤

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. - Rumi

I’ve been thumbing through my copy of Coleman Barks’ The Essential Rumi again and remembered how much I love this quote. I think about it quite a bit in these strange times we live in when folks seem to forget the humanity in people so easily; exchanging nuance and complexity for easyfit stereotypes and straw men. I like to think the field that Rumi is talking about is a literal one far beyond the digital world where we remember how to appreciate humanness.

Here’s the official winner of my unofficial poll from yesterday. The selecting process always fascinates me. It’s easy to fall in love with the art you make and lose your objectivity for quality. Curation is the other half of presentation. For every photo you see here, there are at least 50 you don’t see. Anyone else have the difficulty I do in this area? Do you have a process for working through it?

No sleep + not enough caffeine + a long predawn drive to the perfect spot + having sunrise over the canyon to yourself = worth it every time.

Haunt lonely, desolate places. Climb awful mountains, climb down the rim of crater lakes, jump into silent cold water, spend all night there. In the place called lost, strange things are found. - Rebecca Solnit

Spring in Moab. In an hour from the snowy high alpine mountains you can be in the middle of a Martian desert. The oldness of everything made more obvious by the absence of anyone. You feel like a trespasser on ancient rhythms. Millions of years of oceans, volcanoes, tectonic uplift, the feet of dinosaurs, the fires of Neanderthals, the slow clock turn of the Milky Way watching over everything, a hundred million suns burning in the night swinging slowly around a black star so jealous nothing escapes it.

When the islands are mountains and the seas are clouds. I love when nature makes your head spin. Also, I wanna stand on it 😍 Mount Adams, I believe? Correct me if I’m wrong!

Winter ends this week. All anyone can ever ask for is a good season in life and this has been a great one. I know I’ll grow old and always remember that time I booked a solo ticket to Switzerland with 5 days notice and skied the best week of my life under the shadow of the Matterhorn. I’m excited for spring, too, and am happy to say my plans are only getting more ambitious as the year goes on. What are your favorite experiences this winter?

Islands in the clouds. The view from base camp at Pico de Orizaba, December 2017. Swipe for the reveal 💫

Last light on Crestone Peak. I first climbed this mountain in early summer when heavy snow still filled the high parts where the route moves from a choke point into a steep trough. In the late morning as it’s caught by the sun and the snow begins to melt, the rock loosens and starts to hurtle down the trough, bouncing off walls until it exits the choke that’s only 8 feet wide. Passing through this area is the closest I’ve ever come to living inside a pinball machine. Watching a rock the size of a microwave break above and fall past you at arms length and at highway speeds - it’ll wake you up real fast.

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