Editor's Note: Brody Leven is a unique mountain maniac. He’s a professional ski mountaineer who prefers climbing to descending. His time as an Athlete in Residence in Estes was full-value. He ran trails, climbed rocks, and skied big lines in Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Brody Leven
There’s no FOMO in Estes Park.
I have this problem. Wherever I am, I usually want to leave. I can’t seem to help thinking there is somewhere better than here. Something cooler I could be doing. This weird obsession has led me all over the world as a professional ski mountaineer, primarily with the goal to climb and ski mountains (duh), but sometimes simply just to be somewhere else. Combine my job and that strangely obsessive FOMO, and you can start to understand why I have a hard time being “present”.
But on occasion, a place triggers a sense of acceptance, an unspoken invitation to drop anchor and just be there. For me, “being there” doesn’t mean sitting around and watching TV. It means getting so involved with nature and the landscape that I don’t notice if my accommodations even have a TV. FOMO can’t find me here. It can’t crawl under my skin and ruin whatever I’m doing. Whatever I’m doing, instead, ruins it. I found that in Estes Park as an Athlete in Residence.
My first time in Rocky Mountain National Park involved watching the sunrise from my first belay in Rocky Mountain National Park. Behind @joshjespersen when he took this picture of me is a ramp of snowy gendarme-ish wind pockets that I was hesitant to traverse because I was unsure of how well they were connected to the underlying rocks. But that traverse was going to be the only way to reach the bottom of the couloir du jour. So we evaluated the snow as we traversed, placed removable protection in the rock as we climbed, and primarily simul-climbed, horizontally, delicately, to our objective. But we also knew that, hours later, we’d have to traverse this in the opposite direction. If, that is, everything went well.