A particular peak in the Wasatch Mountain Range has a very intimidating, super beautiful line called the Edge of the World. It’s image was burned into my brain a couple years ago by a photo I saw of Forrest Shearer taming an untouched, highly exposed face on the cover of Arkade Magazine with the whole Salt Lake Valley in the background. My mind was blown. Forrest not only braved the ascent up a snowy peak to see the sight from the summit but he also brought his snowboard and painted a line across the rarely touched piece of earth, a line that would disappear with the wind. I was possessed by the thought that the fantasy land on the cover of a magazine wasn’t a world away, it was less than 10 miles as the crow flies from my front door. Everything in my mind began to revolve around making my way up those mountains. I’d crane my neck in awe out the car window hoping I’d be lucky enough to see just one more piece of the vertical world I was consumed by, but knew little of. I could not yet be so bold as to tell anyone what I dreamt of, the line was a thing of mystery closely guarded by it’s 11,000’ gatekeepers. To make this dream happen I had to learn how to learn about the mountains.
Starting that same fall it took me three attempts to even make it up to the top of the two jagged peaks that must be summited to ride the line. I’d set off from the trailhead on a crisp fall afternoon and once the trail began to fade I ran this way or that way and would top out on an adjacent ridgeline or a peak I didn’t know the name for. On the third attempt, though, the smiling east face greeted me while the breathtaking scenery of Utah in the fall simultaneously overwhelmed my eyes with fresh dustings of snow holding onto shadows and lying vibrant over red and orange and three different kinds of yellow. Here I was, on top of the finest ridgeline you can imagine ultimately disappearing into a sea of desert, flowing down to the snake road thousands of feet below my left hand and building scree fields to feed wild meadows on the wall of the canyon to my right. I would visit this scene again and again in the fall for the next two years, contemplating the daunting snow covered twin.
Fast forward through an awkward and mildly embarrassing two year educational/training montage to 2:00am in early April last spring. My kitchen is bursting with voices while coffee cools and banana nut muffins are pocketed. Ascending through the night sky in our own orbs of light dotting the canyon wall, the glow from the city gives faint definition to the granite skyline above. Light growing, breath burning, smiles abounding at the colors of sunrise as they fall on a cloud to the north. Standing with Kevin McClelland, Zeppelin Zeerip, Parker Duke, Sean Ryan, and Torrey Lyons on the chilly summits I couldn’t help but trip out for a moment on the fact that I was existing in this point in time, in this place, at all. I was in a dream, I was out of my body. There is no way the girl who had dreamed of this moment could actually be standing up here right now. Kevin on the radio counted three…two…one…I exhaled every ounce of breath of who I once was and made my way down an untouched Edge of the World.