How To Stop Looking At Mountains and Start Climbing Them!

So I recently took a much needed trip to the mountains with my wife. I knew the weather would be cold the first half of our trip but I really wanted to go hiking.

The cabin we rented had the best view out of anyplace I’ve ever stayed at. The entire back of the cabin was all glass, and the mountain I wanted to climb was staring at me EVERY DAMN DAY!

I’d relax in the Jacuzzi with a beer and that mountain was looking at me. I’d go out on the back porch to grill food and I’d look over and see that mountain again.

I’d pull into the parking space on my return from a trip to the store for groceries and the first thing I’d see was that damn mountain again!

Now, I love hiking, but equipped hiking isn’t something I’m experienced with. When we hike it’s usually in the spring and summertime where slipping on ice and falling to your death isn’t an issue of concern.

I asked some of the locals around town about the dangers of trying to hike the mountain and they all told me to “Stay away from it right now.”

I must have looked out of my back window 200 fucking times at that mountain that week. I started to get more and more pissed off.

I went to Wal-mart (yes I know and you know by now that I DESPISE THAT PLACE) but going to Wal-mart wasn’t as bad as the defeat I’d feel not even trying to climb.

If you’re looking for a decent day pack and some basic survival gear, adjustable climbing poles, rope, and cheap items such as emergency ponchos in case it rains, and other various items like cheap battery operated headlamps, then honestly this isn’t a bad place to pick up these items without breaking the bank.

Yes, I fucking hate going to Wal-mart and I try to avoid it like the plague, but I didn’t know exactly how cold the weather would be near the peak of the mountain or what might come in handy.

If I didn’t use it, I’m sure I still would eventually.

Also, the day pack had a lifetime guarantee and it ran me under $40, so not a bad deal!

So my stay was supposed to be for 4 nights and to leave out on the 5th day.


I called the property rental agency and they gave me 1 additional night for 1/3 of the cost since nobody had rented it out.

The following day my wife and I were going to hike that son of a bitch that we had been staring at all week! All bets were off!

I woke up at 6 am and started packing my gear up. I didn’t eat breakfast as it wasn’t a concern for me. I tossed about 6 or 7 granola bars and 2 bags of beef jerky into my pack, and 2 liters of water.

I had been timing the sunset all week and we had about a 10 1/2 hour window to ascend and descend before dark.

We began hiking at 8 am and as it was warmer that day than the beginning of the week (although some snow and ice on trails, most of them were accessible to climb).

We walked through caves on the way up, rock steps, tiny bridges over streams and waterfalls with icicles. Winter hiking is pretty fucking bad ass! I like it even better than warm weather hiking.


Like-minded people were who we ran into.

We had great conversations with people who talked about how they were sick of the rat race, tired of seeing kids glued to electronic devices like zombies, and how much of a beautiful day it was for what we were all doing!

People smiled, they asked us where we were from, and they talked about where they were from. They didn’t knuckle bump us, they shook our hands. One guy even offered us some extra food in his bag that he brought with him.

Then we ran into a group of about 5 or 6 friends who were on that mountain in freezing temperatures for the past 3 days. They were already at the peak before sunrise, just to get photos of the sun coming up over the clouds.

The sky looked blood red, and the cloud coverage was 100% below the sun. The clouds rolled on for miles and the guy showed me one of the coolest photos I’ve ever seen!

Getting that photo didn’t come easy and it took sacrifice. How cool were his friends to be on board with spending 3 days in freezing cold temperatures in the mountains just to accomplish something?

The only issue with this climb was once you got about 4/5 of the way up, it was impossible to ascend the peak without micro-spike shoes.

The ice became far too dangerous and we didn’t have the shoes because it’s just something I didn’t think of, nor planned out well since I’m new to cold weather hiking.

So we got pretty close to the top but we decided it wasn’t worth dying over, so we decided to go back down. Trust me, one slip in some parts and it would have been game over!

Another couple was in the same situation, only they had micro-spikes but accidentally left them in their car.

As we walked back down and got about halfway back, that same couple that forgot their spikes walked back up past us. They were going to basically hike the mountain twice, because ascending the peak meant THAT MUCH TO THEM!

They weren’t going to make it back before dark. They would have to hike back down with lights, but they didn’t seem to give a damn.


I walked past them and felt instantly empowered by the strength I saw in them!

I knew that I was around winners that day. Every person we spoke to and passed was a damn winner! You don’t find people like that just anywhere now!


I was probably the only bodybuilder on the trail that day.

But I was surrounded by winners and warriors!

I’m getting to the point in my life where I would rather be around people with a winning attitude regardless of whether they’re into the gym or not.

I find life exciting to learn about new things and you bet your ass that I’m going to be ordering 2 sets of micro-spikes off Amazon really soon, and seeking more snow and ice hikes!

Winners are out there, but you need to look for them in the right places! Just because someone is into the gym, doesn’t mean they have the best attitude nor are they happy with life.

But it certainly CAN HELP!

How many of your boys (or girls) would be down for going to a mountain in the cold and spending 3 days up there away from all normality?

Probably not many, IF ANY! So this leads me to my next topic…


There are people out there that are like you; they’re sick of the way the world has become and they’re sick of all the fake, plastic bullshit! There are groups who do things together based on common interests.

These activities develop camaraderie and relationships and can enhance your life!

Some of the guys or gals you become involved with may be picking your brain for gym knowledge while you pick theirs for climbing knowledge or backpacking, or whatever you get into.

Listen, I LOVE THE GYM, that’s no secret! But when I combine my gym lifestyle with other activities that positive people partake in, life is so much more fulfilling to me!

It’s a reminder that good people still exist; like-minded people who value good conversation and living 110% in the moment rather than”tuned out” STILL EXIST! But you need to find them in the right places.


I could have just looked at that mountain that was covered in snow at the top all week, telling myself that climbing wouldn’t be possible or worth it.

But I said to myself on the last day ,”Ok, it’s a little warmer today and maybe we can get to the top. What’s the harm in JUST TRYING?”

Today my wife and I actually lived. We looked out over the skies, explored a new area, and for the first time ever did winter weather hiking (which is dangerous as fuck, look into micro-spikes for your climbing boots!)

During the climb I thought about a lot in life. I thought about how some guys could not do what people in their 50’s and 60’s were doing due to bad knees from squatting too heavy over the years.

I thought about proactive measures to stay strong and ripped up but healthy enough to be active for the long-haul!

I thought about how hydration and cardio were the 2 most important things to FEEL GOOD as well as LOOK GOOD. I pounded that thought into my mind throughout that entire hike;


So because of the brainstorming during the hike, I picked up a new priorities for my physique development AS WELL AS PERFORMANCE!


My wife felt worth a damn because she accomplished it with me. Okay, so maybe we didn’t ascend to the very top due to ice, but we at least tried!

I will return next time with micro spikes and reach the top.


Do you know what master plans always got me? Yea, fucking disappointment! Everything and anything great in my life came from those last minute decisions to just say “FUCK IT, I’M GOING FOR IT”!

Stop telling yourself you cannot do things, stop telling yourself that you cannot enjoy your life because of roadblocks that you’ve mentally created for yourself. Look for every reason to do something than every reason to avoid it!

Because when you begin looking for every reason to avoid things you don’t grow, you get weak! Most adults are worse than kids when it comes to having the balls to just get up and do it!

The only difference is that they’re experienced enough at spewing bullshit that other people believe it.

Yea yea, life is about having that perfect little job, paying your dues for a retirement you may never see, and investing all of your money so one day you “finally make it.”


If I want to eat a rib-eye steak every God Damn day then that’s what I’m eating. If once a month my goal is to conquer some shit then that’s what I’m doing!

Foolish? Irresponsible? Sacrificing wealth for life experiences?

Nah, you see I’ve seen a lot of death in my life. One day you’re here and the next day you’re gone and then you’re social security number is erased like you never even existed!

Families cannot even process what has happened when someone goes, IT’S CRUEL AND IT’S QUICK!

So here is my advice to you and you can take it or leave it; you may not live in the biggest home or the nicest area of town, and you may not drive the newest and nicest car.

You may be like me and live in a tiny home that was all you could afford at the time you purchased it. The home has no “man cave”, nowhere to get away from your family unless you go to bed, and everyone is in the same room 90% of the time.

Quit listening to social media bullshit about how you’re never successful enough!

I’m not saying that I’m a rock star, but I wouldn’t trade my life for ANYTHING!

Maybe you could achieve success right now if you started actually living a REAL LIFE and quit getting distracted by bullshit and this over-hyped idea of entrepreneurship.

You see, I know better; most entrepreneurs are making jack shit and still living off the system or their parents! (not saying it’s not a great idea and possible, but it’s not for everyone).

Stop worrying about snapping photos of Lambos and posing in front of someone else’s car. Ok, you have abs and you’re standing in front of someone’s car…


Real entrepreneurs don’t play this “fake it till you make it” game. They just shut the fuck up and keep pushing forward!

Don’t forget to have fun in life! Not everything has to be the best… but is the hiking gear enough to at least start climbing?


You’ll feel so much more alive! -JD

Shredded Ops ebook


16 thoughts on “How To Stop Looking At Mountains and Start Climbing Them!”

  1. GREAT ARTICLE. I firmly belief in challenging yourself in as many different ways as possible. I’m 59 yrs old and retired 11 months ago. I committed to not being one of those assholes that just sits around waiting to die. Since retiring I’ve climbed Mt Lassen (barefooted), Mt Shasta ( 2/3 of the way barefooted – too much scree), and will be ice climbing Mt Baker this year. Fuck it…. I’ll probably do Shasta again this year and finally do it all barefooted, it bugs me that I had to shoe up for the summit. I lift every day (7 days a week), run 3x a week and compete in GoRuck Challenges. In 2020 I’ll be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, 2650 miles, for 5 months. I refuse to be one of those “wheat bellied – soy boy” shit heads.

    • Hell Yeah Clayton! Get it!! I’m with you, and soy boys make me want to puke!

      Great read JD!! That is better than picking up a pile a dog crap any day, haha!!

    • Well fuck it, that just stole my thunder…..ok Mr. barefoot hiker, I feel like 2″ tall now, hahaha. Thanks for reading man, thats some crazy shit! -JD

      • Hell no JD… your not 2″ tall, dude.
        Just wanted to give you props for pointing out the obvious (and I agree). Fuck the mental block, Fuck the “I cant do this or that”… Just Fuckin Do It and move on to the next adventure. That’s what life is. What a lot of people have lost, are those mental and physical challenges that make you feel like puking, that make you want to quit. That’s when you say hell no, I’m not gonna fucking quit, and you “Embrace the Suck” and move on. Great read, keeping them coming.
        Doing a 5K tomorrow with my future daughter in-law, and I told her we’re stepping it up a notch, and we’re doing it with a pack and a 20lb plate. I FEEL LIKE PUKING!!!

  2. Very good article and great philosophy JD.

    I’ve been bodybuilding for 10 years but I’ve always wanted my training to be a foundation for some real life adventures.

    I’m living in France so I’m hiking, camping and climbing summits in the Alps every year, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone.

    It’s like the mountains are the last place where you can get away from every day BS and degenerates.

    Every person I met during my trips seemed to be calm, healthy and enjoying life.

    And yes, like every thing in life, climbing to the top is not comfortable and not easy, you’ve to earn it.

    Mountains are not for safe space cry babies.

  3. Funny how you mention people having their face in their phones.

    I believe your body is a reflection of your lifestyle. I joined a gym about 8 weeks ago and at first I used my phone as it had my workout app on it. I kept getting texts and was too tempted to look at the stupid thing. I have a smartwatch that I found a program to track my lifting and use that exclusively and ditched the phone. I can say, at least at this gym, that the top 2% of the attendees are ‘Fitness’ or ‘Athletic’ level and every single one of those people do not have a phone in their hands. It’s either paper pad or they have a plan in their head.

    There was this really fit lady yesterday doing an exercise that I hadn’t seen before and wondered if it would work well for my hamstrings as I’ve had two tendons removed due to pulling the tendons from my bone (ouch), so I’m always looking for a good way to strengthen them without doing leg curls as curls hurt. Now everyone is glancing at this lady (hot) and then turn back to their phones (chickens). I walked over and started asking her about what she’s doing and was invited to step in on her next workout. Haha, you lame phone glued soy boy pukes…

    What does this have to do with the article? That was a huge mountain for me. I’ve lived with self doubt and a low self esteem for most my life and it took guts to climb that metaphorical mountain and talk to that lady. I think too many people don’t even notice the mountain to be climbed as they have their face stuck in their phone. I could have failed in that conversation, but I for sure would have failed if I had never even tried…

    • Now you need to work out with her, don’t act like the student, TELL HER YOU’RE GOING TO GO EAT AND WHERE, and take her to eat directly after you train and pay for it all. Don’t mention shit about another workout, you make believe she’s already your girlfriend , DON’T ASK FOR A FUCKING THING, YOU TAKE THAT SHIT!! The only 2 types of guys who wanna be friends with a girl are dudes who want the pussy and are stuck in the friend zone and gay guys. Remenbver that shit

  4. Preparation is necessary, but over preparing and taking too much time to do it will only get in the way of getting things done. You probably don’t want to climb in flip-flops, but waiting for that promotion to get extra money to get expensive gear to take a mountain climbing class is a preparation masturbation.

    I adapt similar mindset when I go for trips abroad. The only mandatory items are wallet with cash and credit cards, passport, visa paperwork, phone and a laptop. Everything else is optional and problem solving mentality can lead you far. Talking to locals in the gym about best places to buy protein powder you didn’t bring might just make you a few new friends.


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