Monday, December 26, 2011

Adventure Travelers Install Christmas Tree on the Praying Monk

On the way down from our hike yesterday, I noticed a second Christmas tree at Camelback. This one was on top of the Monk.

Googling around, I found that a couple of TV stations typed out blurbs on the tree a few days ago, and then I found the Adventure Traveling blog post about the teens who'd hauled it up there and decorated it.

Though I have mixed feelings about this kind of thing, I enjoyed the story of the climb and installation. I've been planning lately to write about the Monk and a few weeks ago had come across the teens' blog, which had several fun tales about their first exploits on Camelback's most-classic route.

High-school students Thomas Rankine and Andrew Keating, both 17, are doing the blog.

The beautiful and ambitious dream of cycling to Patagonia, "climbing some mountains along the way," sparked their online effort. (At right, picture and caption ripped from their site.) Besides the challenge of avoiding the banditos, to make that South American trip a reality they'll have to show more organizational skills and less gear-mongering than in their Grand Canyon toproping adventure! (As a master of over-gearing, I'm qualified to say that. Once, as a friend and I looked at some TR routes in Red Rocks, a local sportclimber looked at our packs and remarked, "Are you guys preparing to climb Mount Everest?)

I sure appreciate this sort of teen spirit. Such a trip would be best done with outside support to either meet them or mail supplies as they go. But Goran Kropp, in his astonishing bike ride to Everest (which he nearly summitted) in 1996 proves that no dream is too big for a committed adventurer (or an adventurer who probably needs to be committed!) Thomas and Andrew have some great times ahead.

Whatever they do, I look forward to their future stories. I expect one of them to be how they took the tree and its decorations down.

Below, the late, legendary bike-and-climber, Goran Kropp (Internet shot)

1 comment:

rankinesoccer said...

Hi, I'm Andrew Rankine. I have noticed your site coming up on my tab of referrers, so I decided to check out what it was about. We have awhile to figure all of the Patagonia trip details out, but whatever turns out to will be an adventure. If you have any questions, you know where to find us.
I also like to think of the trip kind of like this (but with a better ending):