2017: A Year in Review

Twenty seventeen was a year of profound change in my life. I’ve selected a few photos that represent the year for me.

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In February, Caewyn and I had a late Valentine’s Day getaway in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.  While it was a great time, it was also where I learned my friend from college, Brian Ehrhart, had suddenly passed away. I still remember where I was when my climbing partner, who worked with him at T-Mobile, called to tell me. At the time, nobody knew how such a healthy man took ill and died within a matter of days. Later it was determined to be the hantavirus. Brian was the first person who I knew well to pass away. In many ways it was the first time I experienced death up close.

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Mountaineering continued to be an important hobby for me. My climbing partner and I planned to climb Denali in May. However, during a training climb up to Camp Muir in April (the approach pictured above) two things happened. First, I did not perform to my expectations and was no longer confident I was physically ready for a grueling climb a mere four weeks away. Second, my climbing partner severely strained his knee when we were skiing down.

For days, I agonized whether to scrub our Denali climb, which was the next big expedition for us after Aconcagua. We had been preparing for it for over a year and half and had already gotten our permits. When I finally did decide it was best for me to not go, my climbing partner was understanding, much to my relief, and we pushed it out to June of 2018.  Ultimately, this was a great decision: my partner had knee surgery in May to repair a torn meniscus and I got LASIK surgery — which is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

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A typical spring time after-work drink in Seattle.

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In May, Caewyn and I visited Alaska. We got to take a long afternoon tour on my parent’s boat in Prince William Sound, where we saw spectacular views of wildlife and glaciers.

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In June, I visited Colorado Springs for a friend’s wedding. Colorado Springs is pretty cool. Garden of the Gods is amazing.

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Also in June, my older brother and his family moved from Seattle to Honolulu.

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The 2017 climbing season was the first season in 7 years that I didn’t summit Mt Rainier. With three attempts, it wasn’t for lack of trying. A combination of being unlucky with weather, my climbing partner out for the season due to knee surgery, and bad advice from the park rangers left me skunked for the year. The above picture was from an attempt I made with three others. We got above Disappointment Cleaver but then we were too exhausted to safely continue. I tweeted my thoughts about that attempt here.

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In late July, my wife and I got to visit the island of Corfu in Greece. In short, it was amazing!

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On the way back from Greece, we had a 14 hour layover in London. We made the most of it by having a delayed anniversary dinner at The Shard. It was fantastic whirlwind of fun.

Grandpa B and Me

Early in August my grandfather died. While his passing was not unexpected, I experienced the death of a loved once closer than ever before.

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In September, I returned to London a second time for a work trip. This time however, I was able to hop over to Berlin for a weekend. Berlin is a great city unfortunately filled with monuments and reminders of a sad history.

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In October, for another work trip I went to New Orleans. I loved the music there. New Orleans jazz puts a huge smile on my face.

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In November, the biggest change happened in my life: my daughter, Ella, was born. Though much of the change is just potential (in the early weeks and months there just isn’t that much for the dad to do), she will forever change my life going forward.

Ella has Downs Syndrome. We still don’t fully know how that will impact her and us through the years, but she is a very normal and healthy baby. For that we are profoundly grateful and blessed!

While twenty seventeen had some sad moments, especially with the passing of a friend and my grandpa, it was a great year for me personally. I look forward to twenty eighteen!

 

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