Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Two days ago I woke up and left to quit my job.

It wasn't that simple. At least I'd like to think that our decision to leave Portland was more of a drops in the bucket scenario. Hindsight tells me that it was more of a light switch.

I never usually drive to work, but that day I decided that I couldn't wait. I had done all the necessary mulling, calculating, and wavering and a quiet walk to work would disturb the whole mental balance I had carefully orchestrated.

Sunlight pierced through branches, flickering through the windshield as I drove on squinting. It was a beautiful day, but that didn't matter anymore.

Early on Portland struck me like an arrow wound. The rain, the lack of bouldering, the mold, and my job all combined to drive the arrow in deeper. I lived with the arrow, dealing with the initial pain and even forgetting that it was even there at times. But every night it wrenched itself in further, eventually becoming unbearable.

Pulling this arrow out was excruciating and messy, but it had to be done. There may not be any guaranteed income in the future, and life on the road may be a tough one, but I will live. I will live in a way that would never be possible while slowly dying in Portland.

While mentally removing this arrow as I had so many times before, I stopped behind a line of cars waiting at a red light. Peering up at the car in front of me I saw that the license plate read "NWRNVR." I couldn't help but try to automatically figure this plate out, at first thinking it was Northwest something, then possibly Newer, and finally realized that it was trying to say "Now or Never."

Yes, I agree. If you saw that in a movie it would be lame, cliche, trying to hard, etc. Real life, however, is typically a mundane drama free experience, making even the validation of a random license plate meaningful.

And with the final nod from NWRNVR I am officially leaving Portland for life on the road. The timeline is open-ended beginning in early June, and I hope to make it last as long as possible. Here is a loose itinerary:

If anyone reading has any tips, ideas, must see locations, beta, temporary job or housing leads, or anything else I would love to hear them. The plan this fall/winter is to spend the entire season guiding in Hueco, so if you are headed that way I'll look forward to seeing you on a tour!

Meanwhile I'll look forward to shooting video, stills, and potentially a short film in some of the best summer bouldering destinations outside of Colorado! So Psyched!



  1. Atta boy Max. I'm sure it will be a summer of fun. The timing works out well actually. I'm currently planning a bachelor party at Hueco come Jan/Feb with a few Chicagoans and Seattlites that you might know... Would love for you to be our guide.

  2. We are finally doing it. This is going to be another great summer.

  3. Make your way to SoCal and I'll make sure you enjoy Black Mt and Tramway granite.

  4. Oh yes, and I'll try my damndest to be in Hueco some next season.

  5. Ah dang. You two will be missed terribly, but I fully support your decision. Live life to the fullest and follow your dreams wherever that may lead you.

  6. Hmmm... Ike sounds like he's suggesting a Rampage... and I fully agree and approve. Add Squamish to your list too.

  7. @David D I would be honored. Sounds like a kick ass bachelor party plan.

    @Ike I'm psyched you're headed back! We'll have to come check out those areas for sure since we'll be in Vegas around August anyway. Have a safe and easy trip back, man!

    @okalex You'll have to come to Hueco this winter, or shoot up to Leavenworth toward the beginning of June when your finger is feeling better.

    @Pedro Squamish is super tempting, but also temp dependent and pretty pricy from what I hear. Excuses aside it looks like an awesome spread of classics.

  8. Great sounding trip dude. Cant wait to hear about the tahoe adventures. Drop me an email if u want beta when youre down here. I recommend: saddles, erratica, pimp juice/quality boulder and loon lake.

  9. I'll definitely drop you a line for some beta on those areas, man. That would be awesome. I'm also psyched to contribute to your wiki site once we're down that way. It's great that you're doing that!