LivingVertical.org http://dev.livingvertical.org AdventureRx Thu, 19 May 2016 17:20:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.10 http://dev.livingvertical.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-LV-FAVICON-32x32.png LivingVertical.org http://dev.livingvertical.org 32 32 Diabetes and driving: what I’ve learned about stereotypes http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/04/11/diabetes-and-driving-what-ive-learned-about-stereotypes/ http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/04/11/diabetes-and-driving-what-ive-learned-about-stereotypes/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:18:59 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=4057 The ability to drive is a lot like your pancreas, it turns out. You don’t miss it until it’s gone and then suddenly you’re lost without it. I recently discovered that having diabetes can put a major cramp on the ability to maintain a drivers license in some states–when my license was suspended for not mailing in a yearly doctors note certifying “compliance”. Here’s where it gets tricky. The state in which I have my license is Utah. The state where I get my healthcare is Massachusetts.

The choice to travel across the country to get better and more affordable healthcare was deliberate; if you think that it’s all the same from state to state, you need to get out more. I tried explaining this to the DMV when they told me that I needed to visit my doctor before I could get a valid license again. The fact that I couldn’t fly (or drive!) back across the country to accomplish this was, not surprisingly, lost on them.

The bigger issue in my perspective was the fact that this entire loss of privilege was predicated on the states tenuous grasp of what diabetes is and how it affects those of us who live with it. For example, simply having diabetes and being on insulin was a red flag with a default association of “uncontrolled”. In other words, non-compliant until proven otherwise. I have never and I mean never gotten offended when people on the street look at me funny when I inject my insulin. I have lots of patience for questions that I get on social media about diabetes. When the government gets their facts wrong and suddenly I can’t fly, drive–or pick up a prescription at the drug store–that’s another issue. I’d expect a state regulatory body to know better. It’s their job.

I know that living with diabetes is a challenge and that there are risks involved, to myself as well as others. I don’t expect a free pass if I get in an accident or wreck my car. That’s why I take my responsibility to manage my blood sugar very seriously when I get behind the wheel of a car. Or when I tie into a rope when I’m climbing a mountain. Or when I pick up my daughter. The presumption of irresponsibility based on an arcane perception of diabetes undermines our ability to be honest about our condition. I’m looking for a chance to move my license to a new state and this time I will definitely think twice about checking the “diabetes” box on the application form. I can’t afford to be grounded and without medication.

I know that I’ll let this go eventually–I’m not even bitter about it. I promise. I just finally put my finger on what exactly makes the whole thing so frustrating. It’s bigger than an inconvenience it’s a prejudice based on stereotypes about diabetes and driving. I’ll be honest and admit that’s not something I’ve dealt with a frequently in my life and it really opened my eyes to what many people deal with in society today. It’s a lot easier to dismiss these situations until you find yourself smack in the middle of one.

Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. How do you think we can change this problem–or do we just “comply” and hope it goes away? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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AdventureRx Type 1 meetup in NY! http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/28/adventurerx-type-1-meetup-ny/ Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:30:52 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=4039 Want to join us for an AdventureRx Type 1 meetup in the New York area? I’ll be upstate on April 23-24th at the Mohonk Preserve which is about 90 minutes north of New York City. For the sake of simplicity, I am asking anyone interested to RSVP via this Facebook event so that we can keep all the communication and updates in one place! This is a really special place to me because it’s where I grew up–I learned to climb at the Mohonk Preserve as an adult–and years prior, I did my first hike there with my family when I was about 3 years old! There is a lot to enjoy here and I am excited to share this experience with you.

Here are the details of the meetup (copied from the event page):

This is a free meetup open to anyone interested in getting outside and adventuring with type 1 (family/friends are encouraged to join!). This is a casual meetup, not a guided or instructional event. All ages are welcome and there is a lot to see/do even if you’re not interested in climbing and would prefer less “adventurous” adventures!

Early arrival is HIGHLY recommended as parking is limited. Meeting place will be the Steel Bridge above the West Trapps Parking Lot at 8 AM. There is decent cell reception available for anyone running late.

Activities available: Hiking, Climbing, Running, Biking, Photography

Accommodations: NOT PROVIDED
Equipment and instruction: NOT PROVIDED
Food/snacks: Bring your own…

*There is an entrance fee to get into the Mohonk Preserve (pay at the gate)

 

If you’re able to make it out, we will be stoked to see you! If not, please feel free to share this with your friends and social networks so that we can get more people outside and pushing the limits of type 1 together. Also, let’s not forget that it’s fun to be out in nature and feel normal with a group of people who are in the trenches right there with you.

If you have questions please comment or email: steve@livingvertical.org

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Hiking Observation Point in Zion http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/27/hiking-observation-point/ Sun, 27 Mar 2016 21:41:22 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=4022 I’ve been meaning to hike Observation Point in Zion for several years–but it was only this week that I followed through when we were visited by a fellow type 1 climber, Andres and his friends from San Diego. They were visiting us in Utah for spring break and were looking to get some spectacular views of Zion National Park along with some hiking–and we initially thought of doing Angels Landing but opted against it because it’s insanely crowded and honestly, it’s far from the best view of the park.

Observation Point in Zion is the best hike that I’ve done in the park to date–probably because you have options about the level of physical output required to gain the rim of the canyon and the stunning overlook. The option exists to hike up to Observation Point from the floor of the canyon which is a great workout–if that’s what you’re in the mood for. You can also start from the east side of the canyon, high on the plateau and take a much gentler trail that is much less arduous–gaining and losing much less elevation.

I definitely want to do Observation Point from the bottom up at some point–but we weren’t looking for a workout as much as a casual hike to take some photos–and Stefanie wanted to bring Lilo so we headed up to the Zion Ponderosa trailhead around sunset, hoping to reach the overlook as the colors peaked and then hike back out to our vehicles in the dark, for 6.6 miles round trip.

I’m not a big hiker. There. I said it. I greatly prefer climbing and I typically view hiking as the suffering that guards the entrance to the vertical world rather than an end unto itself. Having Andres along really helped mitigate this lack of motivation because when I get to see Zion through the eyes of someone who hasn’t been here before, it serves as a powerful reminder of how beautiful this park is. Every now and then we need to get out of our own way and remember all of the amazing things that surround us. They don’t become less remarkable over time–but we do lose our “vision” and that is one of the principle benefits that I enjoy when I am able to meetup and hike or climb with other type 1s. It removes the haze from my sight.

This hike wasn’t an epic adventure. It was just good fun, feeling normal checking blood sugar and eating together–checking up on each other, counting carbs, comparing methods and remembering that these types of experiences belong to all of us. Type 1 diabetes is the reason to try a little harder and go a little further–and to take a partner along to share the journey.

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Blood sugar check!
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Andres and Kaila
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The compulsory summit portrait of Andres.

I have been in a bit of a personal limbo over the last few weeks as our family is at a bit of a crossroads. It’s good to have to choose between good options–but it’s also a bit overwhelming too. I have been feeling like LivingVertical is reaching a point of maturity while other ventures, new goals and projects are peeking over the horizon. I’ll be writing about those things as they develop of course–but it was refreshing to spend time with Stefanie and Lilo in such a beautiful place.

We have a little more than a week before work will call us back to the east coast. It’s important to soak in the experience and the beauty–because that’s what we are investing in, after all. There is no sense to having it all around if you’re not going to fully dive in.

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Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever been on an adventure with a fellow type1? How did that impact you? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

Or if you’d rather discuss in private: steve@livingvertical.org

 

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1000 feet of climbing before lunch! (video) http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/24/1000-feet-climbing-lunch/ Thu, 24 Mar 2016 10:15:07 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=4015 Red Rock Nevada was a great stop on our journey–because where else can you knock off 1000 feet of climbing before lunch on just about any given day? This was a short stop for us–three days or so–but that was enough for me to start off fighting a low blood sugar on the first day of climbing and dialing in my insulin and diet to match my energy output. By day 3 I felt like I hit a great stride and this really has improved my confidence about what I can do, despite having to deal with diabetes.

Stay tuned for more videos coming up about my journey with diet and tips about adapting type 1 diabetes to being more active. Being empowered to push our limits is an incredible tool to take back our health and the more I can do to encourage and facilitate that, the better!

If you enjoyed this video make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as we keep on the move!

Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever felt like some good has come from a challenging moment with your diabetes? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

Or if you’d rather discuss in private: steve@livingvertical.org

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The best day ever http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/22/the-best-day-ever/ Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:15:50 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3984 (Make sure to read part 1 of this post, “How a low blood sugar forced me to face my fear” before you read about the best day ever!)

As Rob and I spent the remainder of Day 1 hiking around Red Rock canyon and scouting possible climbs for the next two days I remarked to him that this occasion we shared was probably my proudest–and yet my most esoteric achievement ever. At the crossroads of a difficult diabetes moment and a committing climbing moment lies an instance of victory that only a handful of people in the world will fully understand. The result of it all–which I think many more people will understand–is empowerment. Feeling like I can. I can bring my diabetes there (wherever that is).

I’m not trying to plug the Keto diet but I can tell you that I’ve never felt this kind of freedom and possibility before eating this way–even across my 8 or so years of climbing and my 17+ years of diabetes and many experimental diets. The lows still happen (see part 1 of this post!) but with much less insulin on board they are much less disruptive.

As we returned to our trailer (parked at a friend’s place where Rob was staying with us) the wind that had chased us off the climb earlier in the day delivered its payload of rain onto the park. Wet sandstone means no climbing for 24 hours at least, because the porous rock absorbs the water and can break if you climb on it, so we had to change plans for the following day.

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Day 2: We spent the afternoon hiking in the park, about 6 miles total distance with a heavy pack. This was enough strenuous activity to remove the need for rapid insulin–and I cut back my basal insulin by an additional 2 units. I felt excited about climbing the next day–not scared or negative. This was where it really hit me–how much I had come to feel negatively about climbing. It had stopped being fun and exciting because I had reached my limits. Not my true limits but those which I had started to accept in relationship my diabetes and my climbing. It was an unhealthy relationship that I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

I can’t explain how amazing it felt to reconnect with climbing as I smashed through that plateau and found suddenly that this was no longer a relationship that I wanted to escape from.

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Day 3: We decided to link up Cat in the Hat and Birdland, two moderate routes for about 1,000 feet or so of climbing. These are both busy routes and so we had to be on point technically–moving quickly up and down with an emphasis on efficiency. I maintained my lower basal dose and still took no rapid insulin with my standard breakfast. This time my numbers were on point. There was enough of a drop in my blood sugar for me to eat my low carb wrap with almond butter and espresso beans at the start of the climb, but it was gentle enough to balance out without any lows or highs as Rob and I climbed.

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The upper pitches of Birdland

By mid morning we were finished with Cat in the Hat and back on the ground (I forgot to bring my camera because we were going so quickly at the start of the route!). We headed over to Birdland and I led the first three pitches, which I can only describe as pure joy. The climbing was straightforward but the protection was sparse (I took a variation to the first pitch) which made it that much more fun. We had logged about 800 feet that day when we looked at the amount of other parties on the route–above us and below and saw an impending traffic jam forming for our descent. Birdland is one of the most popular routes in Red Rock Canyon when multiple parties converge on anchors it can turn into a real clusterf#@k. That’s actually a technical term.

There were three parties above us and one party below–going up would mean hours of hanging at crowded anchors with moments of climbing interspersed. We quickly decided to see how quickly we could rappel back down to the ground and used the opportunity to practice simul-rappelling. Less than 15 minutes later we had descended 300 feet and were reflecting on our oddly satisfying change of plans. Nothing that we set out to do went particularly smoothly or got fully completed–but diabetes was no longer clouding my joy in the problem solving process.

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As Rob and I discussed how this newfound freedom could open up new climbing objectives for us to pursue together, another fast moving party descended and their names were Mark and Lizzie. We started talking with them and as is my way, I wound up telling them a slightly abridged version of my entire life story. The diabetes, the climbing, leaving my job, living on the road with my family–and the culmination of my most recent breakthrough.

It turned out that one of the climbers we were talking to, Mark Hudon, was (is) pretty well known. I’d heard of him before and bumped into him on climbing forums but never met him in person–his climbing achievements in Yosemite over the years are the stuff of legend but he spoke quietly and was very friendly. He smiled and told us how he had always tried to impress on his own daughter the value of making each day “the best day ever” because someday you won’t get any more days.

“Prepare for the future but don’t use it as an excuse to wait or to stay unhappy in the present. Every day should be your best day ever–that way when you die, people will be like, ‘I saw him just the other day and he was having the best day ever!’ 

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Mark Hudon
best day ever climbing in red rock canyon nevada
Lizzie Scully

After a short while, Rob and I said goodbye to Mark and his friend Lizzie. We hiked back to the car and I felt quite accomplished despite the setbacks we had encountered over our three days climbing together. We passed a group of tourists who noticed our packs and the ropes and asked us how our day had gone. Before I could get a word out Rob said “Great! Best day ever!” I smiled and nodded and we kept on hiking.

The best day ever isn’t “out there” somewhere. It’s right here, right now.

Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. Can we have our best days ever on a fairly regular basis–despite diabetes or am I high on ketones? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

Or if you’d rather discuss in private: steve@livingvertical.org

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How a low blood sugar forced me to face my fear http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/20/how-a-low-low-blood-sugar-forced-me-to-face-my-fear/ http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/20/how-a-low-low-blood-sugar-forced-me-to-face-my-fear/#comments Sun, 20 Mar 2016 19:54:08 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3961 I had my best day ever  just a short while ago and I owe it all to a low blood sugar. It all started a few days ago, after our type 1 meetup in Joshua Tree as I spent several days climbing with Rob in Las Vegas (you may remember him from Project365 and our many adventures together). He asked me, “Dude, do you want to link up a bunch of moderate routes over the next few days? I only have a couple days off, so we would have to get up early every day and just crush ourselves and see how much we can climb in 3 days.”

I’ve come to regard Robs invitations with a bit of hesitancy because his idea of fun often involves a lot of what I would not consider fun at all. At the same time I had a keen awareness of my 2016 goal to climb 100,000 feet slipping away from me. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about Rob is the fact that he always seems able to push me out of my comfort zone without making me feel unsafe or obligated. There is this overarching sense of normalization through our actions–in other words, we aren’t doing anything extraordinary, we are simply making extraordinary things normal by doing them.

I’ve been looking for bigger challenges through which to test the effectiveness of the Keto diet as it measures up to greater athletic output. Simply put, I want more freedom from my diabetes. So far, I haven’t found the end of my tether with the Keto diet in the mountains and to be honest, I’ve been a little afraid to keep pushing–because the further it enables me to go, the bigger the letdown (and the consequences) may be. I’m stuck between the terror of flying too close to the sun and staying on the ground looking up at the open sky with resentment.

With three days of climbing queued up before me, each day holding about 1,000 vertical feet and an early start, I shrugged and accepted my fate. ‘Sure. I’d be down for that. Exactly how early are we planning on getting out there?

low blood sugar while rock climbing in red rock canyon las vegas shot with sony rx 100low blood sugar while rock climbing in red rock canyon las vegas shot with sony rx 100 low blood sugar while rock climbing in red rock canyon las vegas shot with sony rx 100

Day 1: We geared up for an ascent of “Crimson Chrysalis” a classic moderate route that requires a pretty strenuous approach. I knew that it would entail at least 1.5 hours of hiking with a heavy pack so I skipped my breakfast bolus injection but kept my basal insulin at the “normal” level. Eggs, bacon, nuts and coconut oil “bulletproof” coffee kept my motor running all the way to the base of the cliff–at which point I decided that I should look at my CGM which showed a gradual but consistent slide from around 140 where I started–to 70.

I drew the short straw to lead the first pitch and I anticipated a continuing drop in my blood sugar so I ate a low carb tortilla wrap–loaded with almond butter and espresso beans. Yes, you heard right–it sounds odd but it’s amazing. I thought this mini-meal had enough firepower to get me over the hump of a low blood sugar–so I started up the first pitch, trusting my snack to do it’s job as I climbed. The climbing was exquisite–beautiful holds etched into the dark, desert patina–plentiful options for hands and feet but still thought provoking. The protection was not lacking but going 20 feet between pieces helped keep my attention focused.

Bzzzt! Bzzzt! Bzzt! Bzzzt! BEEP BEEP BEEP!

Oh balls‘ I thought as I heard the dreaded sound of my CGM screaming for attention. That was four buzzes and three beeps…that’s a definite “Oh shit” low blood sugar alarm for sure. I was about 70 feet off the deck at this point but Rob heard the sound of my doom and called up cheerfully to me to make sure I knew that I was still expected to finish off the pitch in good form.

I quickly assessed my situation–my last anchor was about 25 feet below me. If I fell I’d go more than twice that distance and likely smash my feet and ankles on the way down. I looked for an easy option to build an anchor close by and found nothing suitable. Stopping wasn’t an option and the consequences of falling were not insignificant. This was the moment that I’d never fully experienced before–the coalescence of all my fears and risk factors–being runout and unable to easily get up or down to treat my low blood sugar.

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I looked inward for a moment and took inventory. Fear, check. Shame, check. Self doubt, check. Still, I felt like I had the energy to deal with this crisis and since there was no other option, I did my best to avoid overgripping the hold in my left hand while my right hand fished the package of Shot Bloks out of my pocket. If you’ve ever worn a climbing harness you will appreciate the dexterity that this took, blood sugar not withstanding. I squeezed out one Shot Blok into my mouth–I didn’t want to overtreat my low and wind up spiking my blood sugar.

That was it. I’d done everything I could and now I had to move on and deal with the climbing between me and the top of the first pitch. My blood sugar would have to fix itself independent of my worrying and moment to moment inspection. I ignored the clamor of my Dexcom and pulled down, stepped up and repeated. About 10 minutes later I found myself clipping the chains and anchoring in. Pitch 1 of 9 was complete.

The remainder of the day was pretty ordinary. My blood sugar came back up, sure enough. After about 500 more feet of climbing, the wind whipped up and Rob suggested that we finish the route another day rather than risk the wind “sticking” our rope when rappelled off of the summit. I felt totally content bailing–because I got through the crux of my diabetes. That felt like a big accomplishment.

We simul-rapped to the ground and when we touched down I felt a sort of elation–joy even. It was as though I had let go of a huge burden that I’d been carrying without even knowing it. I faced my diabetes, my fear, and I prevailed. For the first time in years I felt truly excited about climbing more on the following days. I no longer felt like I was heading unprepared into a critical test. I felt equipped to seize the freedom that I’d slowly given away to the fear of “what could happen if…

Stay tuned for the second two days of our climbing in Red Rock Nevada–coming up on the next blog post!

Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. Tell me about a time when you confronted your diabetes head on–or share a question you had when reading this article.

If you’d like to chat in private send me an email: steve@livingvertical.org

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Here's what you missed in Joshua Tree http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/13/heres-missed-joshua-tree/ Sun, 13 Mar 2016 22:45:00 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3944 Our time in Joshua Tree started with my trying to figure out how to scale down my basal insulin dose because I was going low all the time. In fact, I didn’t take any rapid insulin for the first three days we were in Joshua Tree–although I eventually acclimated and had to start up again. Still, it was a nice break and a great way to get back to being active after being back east. I love being able to take low carb meals without worrying about rapid insulin peaks–and that’s just one reason I am such a big proponent of being active outside. The sustained nature of hiking and climbing always seems to make my basal insulin work a lot better.

In line with my last post about attempting to do more of my photography with a small Sony RX 100 m2, I wanted to include a few more images that came about after the meetup because Stefanie and Lilo and I took some time to do our own climbing and unwind before hitting the road again. Every time we go to Joshua Tree we seem to dig a little deeper and find more to love about the area. A large part of this particular trip (aside from the meetup itself) was just to get used to life in the trailer while “out on the road”.

Setting up, breaking camp, cooking, eating and sleeping were a new combined hurdle to cross and by the time we left Joshua Tree to head back to Las Vegas (and eventually Zion in Utah) it all started to feel as though we are developing a routine.

If you remember my new years resolution blog post and podcast, I have been working on climbing towards 100k feet in 2016. I am hoping to knock off some longer routes in Las Vegas and get back on pace to reach that goal while further exploring the ketogenic diet as it applies to athletic pursuits! I will leave you with a few of the final images from Joshua Tree that we shot as we wound down with some bouldering and climbing.

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Can a SONY RX100 M2 replace my DSLR? http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/08/3910/ Tue, 08 Mar 2016 11:15:43 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3910 Everything in this post was shot with a SONY RX100 M2 which I got off of ebay (used) for under 300 dollars. It’s worth mentioning that most of my youtube videos of late have been shot with this camera as well. Less space and time to fiddle around with bulky camera setups and a greater need for functional diversity (video AND photo) drove me to get some smaller and lighter gear. I wouldn’t call this a review as such–many people online write much more technical pieces about how everything works. For me this is just an opportunity to share what I’ve been fortunate enough to create and hopefully reach others who are looking to create but may not have a huge budget to work with.

Some impressions of the SONY RX100 M2 performance:

  • Night Sky: surprisingly good for a camera with a sensor the size of a tic-tac. I really loved editing these shots and posting them to instagram. It was really easy to shoot, transfer to iphone, edit on the phone and post–plus the small size of the image on mobile doesn’t really reveal the high ISO noise that is more obvious at larger sizes. On my computer, using Lightroom I noticed that these images (shot at 3200 ISO) become pretty noisy. These were 15 second exposures–and I could have probably improved things by shooting 1600 ISO for 25 seconds. I may experiment further with this. This isn’t an astrophotography rig. It’s not going to capture a billboard photo–however for social media, blog and other light and fast needs, you can convey a good sense of the place you’re in with this camera. I got this camera specifically for long climbs where I’d need to go light but want to be able to get some shot in almost all circumstances.
  • Low light: I put the camera on auto-ISO and shot all of these handheld. I really was impressed with the sharpness and detail that came out of these shots. I didn’t run into any unseemly noise issues when I was tweaking the raw images in Lightroom.
  • Landscape: Once you stop the aperture down it gets quite sharp. My landscape shots were handheld at F8 and I was pleased with them. I think this is one category where this camera really excels. It’s useful to manual focus and use the focus-assist feature to make sure your shot is really on the money–the focus peaking is not really very precise if used on its own.
  • Portraits: It’s not the same as my Nikon 105 mm f2 prime but again, the strength to weight ratio is impressive in my opinion. It’s hard shooting people without it feeling awkward and forced. Having a smaller camera helps mitigate that and lets you get more shots. Good lighting is obviously key here!
  • Summary: This is an easy camera to bring with you anywhere. It’s cheaper than the newer generations and really an outstanding performer for the money it costs. It’s not going to replace a DSLR rig for specialized shooting situations but it’s looking like a great tool to easily increase the creative quality on blog and social media feeds where perfection is less useful than a quick turn around on a story. With careful attention to detail and if you play to the cameras strength I’d say that it can do work that will rival a setup costing more than 10x as much. I still won’t be getting rid of my full-frame Nikon system any time soon, but these days when I head out of the trailer to go and do some climbing or exploring–I’m reaching for my SONY RX100 M2 to bring along.
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Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. I am always open to ideas, questions and comments about this post or any of the work we do!

Speak up, your voice matters! steve@livingvertical.org

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Type 1 diabetes meetup in Joshua Tree http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/07/type-1-diabetes-meetup-in-joshua-tree/ http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/07/type-1-diabetes-meetup-in-joshua-tree/#comments Mon, 07 Mar 2016 22:48:09 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3899 Our first type 1 diabetes meetup is in the books for 2016. It’s always a learning process trying to do something new–especially when it involves coordinating activities for a group of people. Part of this process has meant really distilling the purpose of these events and getting a clearer idea in my own mind of what I want these meetups to provide–the service that they can be to the diabetes community at large. There is a need for independence and freedom within the diabetes community. The outdoors are a place where we can tap into those ideals as a group and disengage from the narrative of disease, sickness and limitation that is so pervasive.

There is a lot of idealism invoked in outdoor writing–I am a willing participant in this trend and I own up to it–but there are also some stark realities that are part of the picture as well. Free meetups require more effort on the part of participants–more scheduling and planning in lives that are already quite busy. On the other hand, that same investment is what makes the experience more valuable. I realize that many people want things planned for them and arranged for them. I realize that schedules, structure and predictability are the markers of success–as it’s defined by our healthcare team and most of the internet.

Adventure is a chance to do things differently. To create our own normal. To go into a situation and say ‘I may not have all the answers, but I bet I’ve got all the tools I need to create solutions to whatever obstacles may arise along the way.’ That is the service that I want to give to the diabetes community. No frills, no bells and whistles. No free junk that you don’t need or schedules that tell you how your time should be spent. Adventure requires you to step outside of your comfort zone–and out beyond the normal is where the entire world of possibility opens up. That is where the opportunity to create your own normal–begins in earnest.

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Not everyone who came out was a climber. Not everyone who came out knew quite what to expect. It’s not a convention or a conference or an event. There were no registrations or pharmaceutical vendors selling their wares. There was just a group of people who were stoked on getting outside and taking their diabetes a little further than the internet says that they should.

I hope that more people join us out here–even if only for a little while. Out beyond the limits and the rules. It’s not without risk and it’s not easy. No one will hold your hand or plan your meals. We will compare notes on the meals we choose and problem solve to get everyone what they need out of the experience. We will share snacks and ideas on taking our diabetes further. We are in this battle together.

Our type 1 diabetes meetups are for the scrappy and the independent. However old, young, experienced or capable you may (or may not) be–we simply want to create more opportunities to rewrite the narrative that we’ve heard since diagnosis that still overwhelmingly dominates the internet: Sick, weak, helpless, hopeless and doomed without a cure or the latest treatment option. 

This is our re-write. Healthy, strong, capable, hopeful and open to new medical options–but unwilling to live in fear of a future without them. 

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Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. I am always open to ideas, questions and comments about this post or any of the work we do!

Speak up, your voice matters! steve@livingvertical.org

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Our tiny home "commute" http://dev.livingvertical.org/2016/03/03/our-tiny-home-commute/ Thu, 03 Mar 2016 22:00:43 +0000 http://livingvertical.org/?p=3891 It’s always harder to come back out west to our tiny home from the east coast–losing time in the air and re-acclimating to a small space all contribute to the challenge. To some, the idea of flying back and forth across the country all the time and working on the fly may seem desirable. I wouldn’t call it unappealing–but it definitely comes with certain sacrifices and challenges. I am thankful to be working for myself though–check out my freelance media work if you have a small business and need help getting your name out there!

We are now leaving for Joshua Tree and our Type 1 meetup. Of course we will be reporting on the events that take place there and we are looking forward to meet all of you who are excited to get outside with our diabetes and create a new normal together.

We learned a lot the last time we towed the trailer–specifically that the cupboard doors are prone to spring open without a lot of provocation which can (and DID) create a massive mess inside. This time we will be securing all interior doors! As we head out to JTNP we will also be trying out the fridge (powering it while driving from 12 volt power and hooking up to 120 volts once we arrive at our destination. Up till this point we have been scamming power and fridge space off of friends where we are parked–now we are upping the stakes and trying out some perishables and getting a feel for the equipment.

More on that in future posts!

After Joshua Tree we are planning to spend some time in Las Vegas again and then back to Zion for some big wall climbing? No specific objectives are on my mind at this point but I would like to get on some bigger and steeper routes than previously in preparation for the spring when we will be all over the US!

Buy LivingVertical photos and support diabetes empowerment!


Ok. So here’s where I’d like to hear from you. I am always open to ideas, questions and comments about this post or any of the work we do!

Speak up, your voice matters! steve@livingvertical.org

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