brodyleven brodyleven

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Brody Leven  forest tourist

Yuck. Delayed luggage. But our ski bag is finally here, we are healthyish, and I’m almost done reading the book on my lap (it sucks to take a 3/4-read book to camp and finish it on day 2). I guess it’s time to climb and ski this thing I’ve stared at on Google Earth forever...?
There’s a pretty darn good reason I’ve traveled halfway around the world—away from @katieboue (let’s be honest who in their right mind would leave her)—to Georgia, to try to climb and ski a single couloir. More on that when I’m out of the mountains in two weeks 😙

I’m in the next-to-last town on our approach to the Greater Caucuses, this region’s preeminent peaks. Tomorrow, a bumpy few hours in a vehicle will put us at the furthest village. From there, we’ll start going up. Almost 10000 feet up.
@marykmcintyre and I will be walking alongside horses burdened with some of our equipment on the way to snowline. There, the horses will leave us with a few heavy loads of gear, which we will carry in multiple trips to a camp that we’ll make beneath the highest peak in Georgia.
The summit of this mountain is the border of Russia and Georgia. Their Facebook statuses? “It’s complicated.” You folks rule. Thanks for always being here, on the other side of this little device. I’ll carry it up the mountain with me, and maybe I’ll even snap a few quick pix if my fingers aren’t too chilly.

Here’s some of our stuff.
[powered by my partners @goalzero]

Just hanging out...waiting for a lost ski bag to arrive.
What are your worst luggage-related travel stories? @marykmcintyre and I have been talking about this while walking the streets of Tbilisi, Georgia. We conjecture that there are probably some instances about 90million times worse than a ski bag delaying a climb. (Pic taken on @garminoutdoor VIRB #garminpro)

#travel #nightmares #luggage #climbing #rock #rockclimbing

Missing: Ski bag
Location: Amsterdam airport (...I think?)
Cause: Poor baggage handling? ...In 2018.
Me: 🤦🏽‍♂️👏🏽 If found, please place skis in nearest taxi and pay a hefty sum for a fast driver. I request their delivery to me ASAP.
In Tbilisi, Georgia. ...2500 miles away.

Why a taxi?
Because the next flight apparently doesn’t arrive for another five days. A good taxi driver should be able to crank 2500 miles in, what, a coupla days?

OR should we just send it into the mountains and try a FrsA and FrsD?
That’s first rental skis ascent and descent.

[Heading to colder pastures]
31 hours ago I left this place and this girl and this dress code.
Now, I’m jetlagged, unsure which continent I’m on, and relaxed for the first time in a while.
My ski bag is lost, our seven other bags are with us, and it’s all gonna work out.
Let the fun begin.

They’re my idols for their athletic abilities, but they’re my role models for everything else. Climbers and activists from across the country met in DC this week to #climbthehill, advocating for climbing’s health with our elected and appointed officials. You may be familiar with some of our crew: @sashadigiulian @alexhonnold @tommycaldwell @_linacolina_ @carolinegleich @margojain. But you can be grateful for all of them.
Why would we discuss access to climbing, through the lens of various legislation, on such an important stage? Maybe because our outdoor industry is 2% of our national GDP. Or because millions of American livelihoods depend on it. Or maybe just because we love it and see the far-reaching benefits of it first-hand. Regardless, it was an experience in patriotism. Just because you don't climb or lobby for it on Capitol Hill doesn't mean that you're immune to its economic or utilitarian effects.
Thanks, @americanalpineclub and @accessfund, for having, teaching, and involving me. We need to keep it up. And with such dedicated, thoughtful, and impactful individuals and organizations, I think we can and will. But I'm happy to be trading my stuffy suit for a down-stuffed suit today.
(2 pics by Stephen Gosling)

Congress members tend to show interest in what we do for work/fun first, like this @forrestshearer turn. That’s always where the conversation starts. Their ears perk up and eyes open wide when we tell stories and show pictures from the world’s mountains. When the conversation switches to political policies, specific bills, and a shared interest in protecting access and landscapes, they stay curious. That’s why we go all the way to DC.
Another 4:30am wakeup and this flight should get me home this afternoon for a day of packing. Then it’s time to leave again. This time, I’m going a bit further. And I’m taking skis.
#climbthehill with @americanalpine and @accessfund was an excellent event in DC and I’m proud to have joined. More on that soon. For now, I have a (stranger’s) shoulder to drool on.

Risk vs. reward.
Without realizing it, it’s become a prominent theme throughout my life. In school, in the mountains, in a lot of what I do.
I’m here in Washington DC to #climbthehill with @americanalpine and @accessfund. Tomorrow, the Utah team, of which I’m a member, will have several meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss our outdoor lifestyles and specific pieces of legislation related to them. This relationship involves clean air and water, healthy energy development, keeping wild places wild, improving access to the outdoors, and growing our economy. As is, the outdoor recreation economy in Utah serves 110k jobs making $3.9B, pulling in $12.3B in consumer spending. That’s more than twice the number of jobs than mining (32k) and energy (18k) support.
See why it’s an important discussion to have with reps?
I carefully weighed the risks and rewards of coming all the way to DC. But I’m here, with stewards like @katieboue, @carolinegleich, @brittany_griffith, and @patagonia, wanting to prevent sustainable tourism and archaeological, cultural, and natural treasures on public lands from being forever compromised in the name of short-term profits.
We have legislation to discuss. We have stories to tell. We have suits to wear. We have meetings arranged. Now, we just need to have representatives who act in the best interest of our heritage and future. (taken on @garminoutdoor VIRB. #garminpro)

It’s just too precious to let it all slip away.

And so, I’m going back.
There are issues that need my support, so I’m offering it alongside a cadre of climbers, skiers, and activists in DC this week.
#climbthehill is an @americanalpine and @accessfund event bringing together climbers and activists to meet with congress members about issues affecting us, our recreation, and our livelihoods. We are focusing on four key topics. And you know what? I’m not an expert on any of them, but I am informed about what I care about, and that’s what I will discuss. I’m okay with that because if I waited until I was an expert to show up and speak out, I’d never do it. And they need to hear from us—regular people—not just professional lobbyists and colleagues. It’s easy for me to remember that I’m not a politician, I’m a guy from Ohio who likes walking around above treeline. This makes walking into these fancy offices in these big, old, beautiful, historic buildings intimidating. And challenging. And I like intimidating challenges.
Let’s see how effective we can be in encouraging policy makers to protect our wild landscapes.
#accessfund #aacgram
photo by @louisarevalo taken this winter.

It’s about time to start chasing winter, hold on tight, and not let go—at least not quite yet.

Midwinter photo by @acpictures.
My @garminoutdoor Fenix 5 wristwatch tracked this day as 7.5 hours, 9 miles, and 4200 ft. It also showed up on my phone and computer with a full Google Earth overlay. #garminpro

Sometimes I get all caught up in the awful politics of Utah. How harmful our legislature is to our health, how out-of-touch our governor is, how our senators are party loyal to a fault.
But then I remember that there’s a country of people doing good. How @grahamzimmerman is doing awesome work in Oregon, and how our fellow climbers and skiers are volunteering for groups like @protectourwinters and @winterwildlandsalliance to effect positive change from the bottom up.
And bottom-up is my favorite way to get anywhere.

This spring has been one filled with self-doubt. Every decision I make I am scrutinizing too much, doubting my final choice. What to say, how to respond, where to go, what to do. It’s a pretty bad feeling. And I know exactly what I can point to as the cause, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to think a company can or should be able to have that much weight on my life.
Instead, it’s likely a reflection of something deeper. But maybe this explains part of the reason I value my time in the mountains so highly. My mind wanders during long approaches, mentally noting all the things I have to do, the ways in which I want to succeed. But when things get steep, or avalanches become a real danger, or it’s late or cold or threatening, I’m fully present. For the sake of my partners and my friends, I am thoughtful when I’m here, where I just don’t feel the self-doubt as strongly.

Went to the Sierra with @acpictures to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Met up with @chrisbenchetler to have a ski.
Checkered Demon.

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