Monday, June 24, 2013

Heading out to the hills!

After two days of team discussion, safety and weather briefings and final gear checking, we are leaving Anchorage.  Its about a three hour drive to Talkeetna, and we hope to be met there with good flying weather so we can fly up onto the glacier and begin our climb. Mix of excitement and nervousness throughout the group.  So far, an impressive group of soulfull people who i am confident will support, encourage and inspire each other. Climb on!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Old Goat ready to climb!

Lorne's Denali climb fundraising site now live - join us!

Please consider joining me in supporting amazing first generation college students -

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Saturday training on Providence's East Side

Countdown! - one week of training remains - and almost went to jail instead of Alaska!

Many adventures since i last posted....i have been training quite consistently and quite hard.  I don't think i have done more hard or consistent training since my high school wrestling days in 1970.  And although i ache a lot more in the aftermath of workouts than i did then, i am really quite lucky to be healthy and strong enough to do this - and for this, i am quite thankful and happy.

In the nice Spring weather we have had, I have enjoyed being out on the hills of Providence just about every day with my pack full of 50 lbs of rice.  On weekends, i have changed it up a bit by heading out to my old Boy Scout Camp, Yawgoog Scout Reservation in southwestern Rhode Island, bumping around the old trails that i used to scramble with my buddies on the camp staff.

It has been fun to see the faces of people as i walk about the neighborhood - "Lorne, what the hell are you doing?", "What's in the pack", "Don't you have better things to do?"  Perhaps the most interesting adventure i have had is the experience of a couple weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon.  On weekends, i have been taking my 9 year old daughter Annabelle out in my pack in place of the rice.  She weighs about the same as the rice and is a lot more fun.  She hunkers down in the pack with her flashlight, closes the top flap and has herself a party.  Very inventive and imaginative daughter I have!  That afternoon, after doing hills with her for an hour or so, i went to the bottom of the hill down by the river and the RISD auditorium, as is my custom.  I do my sit-ups, pushups, stretches and yoga stuff at this point.  I noticed a young woman who was looking at me a bit strangely as Annabelle complained about some discomfort in the pack and i closed the lid on her to head back up the hill to the Hope Club where i would end the workout and take a shower.  I thought it a bit odd that she looked at us that way, but i guess i thought it was reasonable to see our activity as a bit odd.  So we get to the club and i take a shower and Annabelle hides herself in one of the lockers planning to make me find her when i have finished shower/shave.   I finish my shower and am standing butt-naked in front of the mirror with my head and face covered in shaving cream, mid-shave process, when several fully uniformed Providence policemen burst into the room.  "what is your name?" (Lorne Adrain), "do you have an id?" (Uhhh yes, but not on me at the moment, can you spot me a few minutes?), "someone reported a suspicious character with a kid tied in his backpack and it must be you" (OH! yes, that would be me - I am training for a big climb and my daughter rides in my pack on weekends...."Annabelle, are you there?")  Annabelle bursts out of a locker to the amazement of the officers.   They sort of believe me, but an officer stays watching me (still naked) while other officers go upstairs to check with the staff of the club on this preposterous story i am telling.  the officers come back down and confer and then realize there is  nothing to do but share a laugh.  At this point, i ask,"Officer, is this an official sort of thing, or can we keep this to ourselves?  I am considering running for Mayor of Providence next year and this story might be a bit distracting to the voters of the city."  Officer asks, "you are really running for Mayor?" (yes) and then offers this wisdom...  "Well we've had some nutty ones before, why not one more?"

On to the final push of training!

see my fundraising site at -

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jim Meegan helps me up the hills

my good buddy Jim joined me for a couple hours of hill climbing - what a friend!  we have been friends since 5th grade i think - joined Troop I Warwick BSA in 1965 and got in lots of trouble together.  have been sending the same birthday card back and forth every year for 40 years now (much to Hallmark's dismay)    That kind of friend!   Thanks Jim
Jim Meegan joins me for some training - video
I have a long way to go to being capable in tying all the social media tools into this blog, but i am making progress.  Today, i uploaded several videos to youtube and I will attempt to make links to them here.  The videos are parts of the story of my training for Denali. As previously noted, my training consists mainly of core work (ugghhh and ouch) and general strength training and work on the hills of Providence in my neighborhood around Brown University.  My climbing partner Keith thoughtfully sends me text messages that are essentially a countdown to Armageddon - thanks for all the gentle reminders, Keith.

so here are some links to videos related to my training - critique is most welcome!

Annabelle rides in my training pack - this is a video taken by my 9 year old daughter Annabelle from inside my training backpack, which she rides in to give me a much more interesting and fun workout than i get with 50 pounds of rice in my pack :)

Annabelle asks me about my Denali climb - as i take a break from the hills along the Providence riverfront, Annabelle asks about the nature and purpose of my Denali climb

Annabelle makes me stretch!! - no rest for the weary!  after her interview, Annabelle instructs me in some of her ballet stretching and asks me to demonstrate my sit-up and push-up routine

Friday, May 3, 2013

One foot in front of the other....

as the departure for this climb nears, i am paying close attention to various categories of preparation:

  • Fitness - i am feeling quite good and feel that i am making appropriate progress along the training schedule MountainTrip provided.  my core is substantially more solid (even if not more attractive) after 4 months of work and my overall strength and endurance is dramatically improved.  i can't but think, however, that my fellow climbers are working as hard as i am, but starting from a better place and decades younger.  just hoping i can come up with some way to ingratiate myself to them so they don't just let me slip into a crevasse and leave me there for millennia to come.  College street is my hill of choice.  It is a hill leading up to the main gates of Brown University and it is about a 7 minute roundtrip to do the hill.  i have been alternating days between simply running the hill and walking the hill with 50 pounds of rice in my backpack.  Friends have said they would like to join me for this late afternoon hour or two ritual and so far, my friend Jim from the age of 11 (48 years) joined me one day this week and is threatening to do so next week as well.
  • Gear - this is a major undertaking.  turns out that much of the gear i purchased for previous climbs of Ranier (USA), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Elbrus (Russia) and Aconcagua (Argentina) are not acceptable for Denali or i simply dont have enough - packs not big enough, boots not warm enough, coat too heavy, not enough rope, etc.....  So i have been researching options and purchasing gear and narrowing the list of stuff still to be acquired.   the boots i decided on, (after tracing my foot and sending pics to MountainTools people in california and receiving two pair of recommended boots to try and walking around the house in them) are Millet Everest boots - $999.00!  my climbing partner Keith says, "not a bad deal....only $100 per toe!"
  • Philanthropy - i have decided to use this climb to raise funds to support the college dreams of kids in my community who are capable, ambitious and hard working but don't have the resources, networks or mentors around them to help them develop and prepare a great path for themselves.  I will get a fundraising site up in the coming days to enable that part of my mission
more later!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

As I begin my 60th year, I continue to contemplate how to make the most of my little life.  I am reminded of the great old book i picked up at a yard sale many years ago, "the aim of life" by philip moxom. In this wonderful book of advice to young people, written in 1893, he includes chapters on... the aim of and others.  If I continue to be anywhere near as lucky as i have been in life so far, then I imagine i may have another 20-40 years to enjoy this amazing world and the journey of life.  I hope to keep Moxom's ideas, along with others, as a guide, as a reminder, as a source of inspiration for today and the days ahead.

This blog will serve as a reminder to me that i should keep trying to do difficult things - to keep my mind and body and spirit that i keep enjoying the world and doing my best to change the world in good little ways.  "sixtyoversixty" is an idea...reaching for sixty new challenges in different aspects of my life as i continue in my sixtieth year and beyond.  The first of these big challenges is climbing Mt. Denali this summer, the highest mountain in North America.  It will be my most challenging climb so far, having climbed the highest mountain on each of the continents of Africa, Europe and South America since my 50th birthday.  This will be a long and difficult slog!  A very cold and unforgiving mountain, carrying 70lbs on my back and dragging another 60lbs on a sled for 20+ days.  I have been preparing my body and mind as best i can and am very much looking forward to the adventure.  I will use this climb to raise money to support the higher education dreams of kids in my community who have the initiative and the desire to succeed but need a little help and coaching along the way.

Today (April 18, 2013)  is both the 11th anniversary of my daughter Grace dying and my daughter Annabelle's 9th birthday.  A really emotional day, but also one that reminds me of the nature of life and living - that our journeys are a big mix of joys and sorrows, successes and setbacks, good luck and bad luck, opportunities and risks.  I am also reminded today that i have this one big opportunity to have a life and, as my friend Rebecca says, "enjoy the world and change the world".

Blogging is new to me - this is my first clumsy attempt -  I will throw stuff out there with hopes that it will be helpful to someone in some way.  In any case, i suspect it will be a fun and helpful experiment for me.