The shifting boundaries of reason

I sensed the pin tumblers of a lock rotate slightly and I was left holding the key to a different door. The new door, and the new lock, could only be opened by following a different understanding.

Antarctica: breathtaking paradox

When I was younger, I often wondered whether I would ever stand in a place that escapes definition because it is so unlike any other place on earth. A place that I would struggle to describe because the visual and emotional references demand a new vocabulary. A place that only a few have ever witnessed….

The Quiet Warrior

A poem I’ve written to celebrate the 60th birthday of my older brother.

I hate sleds

So let’s start with the headline: I travelled to Antartica to climb Mount Vinson and reached the summit at 7:00pm on December 5th 2021. You can stop reading now unless you want to find out what made this expedition truly challenging.

‘Gaz’ and ‘D‘

In the photo, Dan was holding a Tiger snake by the tail. I read in the local news that venom from one of these snakes killed a man the month before not far from the famous sea stacks we were about to climb. He looked at me and said “Good you’re wearing trousers. It’s harder…

The Martian

Some experiences are simply too strange to adequately describe. The morning I spent climbing in May in the desert area of Jordan called Wadi Rum is one example. My guide for this particular adventure was Abdullah, a man more at ease rock climbing with a panama hat than a helmet. During our day together he…

Rough water

Every year I attempt a swim between the island of Lipari and the island of Salina. The idea was hatched several years ago with a good friend while enjoying a boozy lunch on the terrace of his family restaurant on Salina. I was staring across the 4.5 kilometre straight toward Lipari thinking it didn’t look…

Climbing Cariocas

I went to Rio de Janeiro last November and I’m happy to tell you that every single stereotype about this energetic city is true. The beaches are packed with people wearing bathing suits that would get you arrested for public nudity in many US states. The city of Rio shouldn’t bother painting lanes on the…

The roots of wisdom

My garden on Salina is a place of joy and magic. Many friends and guests have sat mesmerized amongst the trees, flowers, bushes and vines looking out toward the sea. This poem is dedicated to Maurizia and her son, Roberto. entwined, the branches dance together the beat is slow inaudible, incomprehensible to me the ancient…

Things you should know about your climbing Sherpa

In western society we have carefully cultivated unwritten rules governing social engagement. Many of these rules are on display riding the Tube in London. For example, you really shouldn’t talk to anyone unless you need them to move so you can get off the carriage. Sometimes these rules are challenged by circumstance. The concept of…