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November 1st
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24" boxes vs. 14,000 ft. peaks
Scott puts things into perspective… 

Crossing the Knife Edge
Colorado has 54 mountains that are 14,000+ feet high. For the last 8 years, my son and I have been climbing them and we have been on top of 22. We have climbed lots of other places, but there is something about those mountains that keeps bringing us back. Usually the hikes are between 8 and 12 hours and about 5,000 feet up. Each step you take on the trail, you feel everything in your life washing away until it is just you and the mountain. It is glorious.
Some of the mountains are easy and some not so easy. This year, we decided it was time to tackle the hardest one – Capitol Peak. What makes it so hard is there is a 120 foot stretch known as “The Knife Edge”. You are at 13,700 feet and there is no place to put your feet as you cross. Each side has a 3,000 foot dropoff. The best way to get across is to straddle it and push across using your hands. Here is a quick video to give you an idea. I have down some dangerous things, but this was the longest toughest move I had ever attempted without a rope. You are on your own up there and you either make it or you don’t. And yes, some don’t make it.
I saw the video the night before our climb and it shook me. By 2 am, I had convinced myself that we needed to do another mountain. But after getting ready I realized I would always know that I had chickened out. I would never be able to look myself in the eyes and call myself a mountaineer if I didn’t at least try. So we were on the trail by 4 am and after 6 hours and 4,000 feet of gain, there we were, facing the Knife Edge.   Oh, we did meet someone on the way up who had gotten to the critical point and turned around. Said he just could not do it. That helped my confidence! 
It took all I had just to kneel down and straddle the rock. But then a clarity of mind swept over me. I heard this voice in my head saying, “This is what you do. This is who you are.” And I scooted a little further out. Before I realized it, I was half way across. I stopped and looked around me. Wow! What a view – and I could see myself in my minds eye sitting there like I was King of the World! Then a gust of wind hit me and I got back to business and finished the Knife Edge. I was across!
As they say in mountaineering, Getting Up is Optional, Getting Down is Mandatory. So after summiting, two hours later I stood at the Knife Edge again to come back across. But this time it wasn’t the enemy, it was an old friend. I got across in about half the time and we made it back to the trailhead after 14 hours and 18 miles.
As Ronnie No Good says, “If they aren’t shooting at you, how hard can it be?” And he is right. Some of you guys face difficult situations every day and I admire you for it. But that day, I faced my elephant and beat him. Go find yours and do the same.
-Scott Smith

0 thoughts on “Posted: 10/11/2009

  1. t. says:

    This place is so full of role models. If I am half the man Scott is when I grow up, I’ll be happy. Actually, I wanna be a combo of Scott (S. and P.), Clint, Ilario, Don O., Em., Taylor, Julie, RNG, Mike Sorg, and my Dad. I’d be a freaking indestuctable CFW super villian the can do lots of pull ups, climb mountains, smash dopers, be calm and cool, have super old man strength but be wiser than strong AND ride a chopper. If I had the role models that walk in and out of this gym daily, I may have accomplished much more by now.

  2. No GOOD says:

    Scott you may have or have not brought tears toy eyes now I have to kill something or blow somethingup! Scott I have told you before I pray to be as healthy and whole as you and your beautiful wife are when I become as YOUNG as you! You have become one of my inspirarions that I pull on when I am tired and or down. Thanks you for being so F'ing AWESOME! OMS! It's not just about a PR. T I concur with ur post! Can't wait to get home I miss you all and I miss that damn BOX!

  3. taylor says:

    I just read it again. Yup, your still awesome. I like "This is what you do. This is who you are." Very courageous, very very cool.

  4. ilario says:

    Scott, you inspire us all. Every day you leave us awe-struck. T. summed it up, and I couldn’t agree more:
    “If I had the role models that walk in and out of this gym daily, I may have accomplished much more by now.” That is a challenge to all of you younglings (and some of us young-ish-lings): STRIVE!-2010 Baby!

  5. Jason Beninate says:

    hey everyone i've been busy with the start of the infantry officer course here over in quantico. i just read scott's post. amazing my friend. i will take this story with me to share with my peers. in the near future we all will be facing challenges in our training…and i will let them know what a wise man put himself forward to do way up there in the peaks of colorado. thank you for your words and wisdom. and to everyone…you already know i miss that place like crazy. t, it was great to see you and josh that day i stopped in for a little bit. keep gettin some ya'll!

  6. Rachel says:

    Scott great words as always. Today I am going to a funneral for a 25yr old kid. It has really made me think this week. I have so much I want to do with this life I have been given and now that I crossfit I know that I can "face my elephant" but the best part is knowing that on my side I have all of you guys cheer me on, pushing me though. Each time I bring Blaine to CFW I know that his life is being changed for the good. I am so excited to see what what kind of influance our box is going to have on his life. Thanks to everyone being the better part of our lifes. 2010 Baby!

  7. Jen S. says:

    Wow Scott!! Truly inspirational! Yeah, don't know if watching that video the night before was such a good idea…scary! What an awesome feeling I know you had when you accomplished that!! It is very humbling to be in the presence of such courage…and to know that most cfw'ers have that courage and tenacity makes me want to be at the box ALL THE TIME! Such great energy! Thank you all!!!!

  8. Don O says:

    Scott you have no limits do you! OMS in it's true raw form…..the one thing that sticks out is you do it with your son…..NOW THAT'S A ROLE MODEL….Thank you Tony for the kind words…..just to say MY SON loves spending his free time with me and this is another reason I love CFW and all who enter those special doors…..take care of each other…Don O

  9. Julie G. says:

    Scott..I always love your posts. Everytime I think of skimming a rep on a WOD I think of your last post of not cheating yourself. This post makes me think of how short life really is and how you have climbed 22 of 54 mountains in Colorado. That is way cool! Congratulations on "The Knifes Edge" and thanks for the kick in the butt to plan my next trip!

  10. Brock Wilson says:

    I'm not a CFW member, so I hope it's ok to comment, if not, admins please delete. That said, WOW! What a story and what a video. I'm not usually bothered by heights but I doubt I could pull that climb off. A real credit to your training and fortitude. Sincere and impressed congratulations!–Brock Wilson