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MIT student blogger Michael C. '16

#funhogging by Michael C. '16

the best thing I did over IAP. also: INFINITE ICE CLIMBING GIF

funhogging: to take more than one’s fair share of fun

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to browse photos of mountain sports.  These hardcore ice climbers and mountaineers, braving the unknown – it was all very alluring and exotic to me.

Growing up in sunny Los Angeles, though, I never got closer to these alpine pursuits than the pages of a Patagonia catalog.  Certainly I loved hiking, and spent a lot of time in national parks like Yosemite and Zion.  But spending time in the outdoors during winter was never something that I really got to do.

And so I count myself very fortunate this IAP to have discovered Winter School – an annual winter skills program put on by the MIT Outing Club.  It’s been one of the best things that’s happened to me at MIT.

“These are all silent sports. None requires a motor; none delivers the cheers of a crowd. In each sport, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.”

– Patagonia, on alpine sports

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at MIT.  From the pressure cooker of expectations, psets, exams, blah blah blah.  And much has been written about the topic.  People have many ways of dealing with the stress.  For me, winter hiking and climbing are great ways to relieve the pressure.

Because after one too many hours obsessing over an internship or UROP application, it’s good to go away for the weekend.  To feel the crunch of snow under the machine-like efficiency of my crampons.  To feel the tension from my body seep out into the refreshing coolness of the alpine air.

It’s definitely been one of those things where the more I put in, the more I get out.

During Winter School lectures we learned a lot about signs of dehydration, frostbite, and various other dangers – including one particularly nasty slideshow about trenchfoot.  And so here I’ll present facts about another serious disease:

Signs of Winter School addiction:

(1) on Wednesdays at 11:59 am you will invariably be glued to your laptop, frantically refreshing your browser to be the first to sign up for a trip
(2) your facebook friends are sick of you posting photos from MITOC hikes and climbs
(3) you seriously consider cutting your toothbrush in half to save weight.  Hey, ounces make pounds, and pounds make pain
(4) you unironically use the hashtag #funhogging

“The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes.”

– Steve House

Just to give you a taste of what Winter School is like, here are some of the photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks!

^ ice climbing at Frankenstein Cliffs, NH

^ snowball assault! good thing my DSLR is weather-sealed.  also, major props to Ben S. on the right for putting together Winter School 2014

^ post-summit lunches are the best.

^ view from the trail up Osceola

^ it was his first time making a snow angel!

^ practicing self-arresting with an ice axe.  I’m the one closest to the camera

^ breaking the ice…literally and figuratively

^ my pack!


See you next January, Winter School.