This year was quite thick in events so I decided to write a year retrospect for a change. I read somewhere that people tend to do wild things when they’re nearing a “round” age like 30, except I read about this after I planned most of the stuff listed below… It definitely did turn into a very eventful 30th.
The boards came as a common interest during a relationship that quickly imploded, but going for the slopes after a good snowed climb stayed with me. I’m still not comfortable enough to say “I can snowboard,” but I can get from the top to the bottom without crashing.
Because of a few painful falls the first time, I’m careful with curving, especially as the rental boots don’t necessarily hold my feet well enough to have the control I’d like. I’m actually considering buying my own boots for that reason. No plans for an own board yet, unless someone throws one at me for free.
Just like with going to mountains in the snow, I started bouldering as a way to improve my fitness in preparation for the Seven Summits.
Some people at my company were already going bouldering at a local gym regularly, so I joined them. Thanks to working out in the gym most weekdays for the past 4 years, I had a good headstart that made climbing walls fun.
Being late for flights
Not exactly a positive experience, but I screwed up twice (!) this year. First when going to Toronto in April (when I simply didn’t realize that I need ESTA to transit through the USA) and then just recently when flying back to Hungary for the holidays (this time I simply overslept, which was probably the most expensive mistake of my life so far).
Being in a situation like these taught me some humility and hopefully improved my communication skills as well. Knowing that it’s 100% my fault that I’m in a mess definitely gave me a new perspective.
Harder, better, faster, stronger
Talk at a conference
In April I had the opportunity to talk at Clojure/north in Toronto. It was a fantastic experience, both as a tourist and as a professional. Being able to meet people who contributed hugely to the Clojure ecosystem in person and chat with them over good (and unlike in Tokyo, not ridiculously overpriced) craft beer was huge.
It was held on Easter weekend, which put some limits on what was possible in town (shops being closed and all), but we still got to see the Niagara falls up close through a fun tour of the area. I also took the opportunity of legal weed to check if my preferences changed, but turns out I’m still not a big fan of it.
I got fed up with how troublesome it was to deploy stuff on my server. Developing Kitsune required a live server I’d push stuff to multiple times a day, and manually dealing with jars wasn’t fun. Same for my book log as well.
We’re planning to move to Kubernetes at work as well, so I decided to prepare by moving my stuff to it as well. That’s how I ended up with this k3s setup, though since then I’ve played around both on GKE and DO’s managed offering for more complex stuff. Running k3s on one tiny node really limits what’s possible.
Mountains in the snow
While I’ve been climbing mountains actively since fall 2018, it was an exciting new experience to go for snowed peaks. I started with friendlier places (near Tateshina), but there was no stopping then.
It took a while to gather all the necessary equipment, like crampons and an ice ax, but it’s certain that they make life easier in the white. Not to mention that all that gear is necessary for the higher challenges anyway.
Not to say that all these climbs were “just” training. That’d be just not fair to awesome Japanese mountains. I’m a huge fan of the Northern Japanese Alps, but other ranges have their unique taste as well.
After careful (re-)counting, it turns out I climbed over 20 mountains in 2019. It’s much less than I hoped for, and I’m still trying to figure out why it turned out like that.
Two of the Seven Summits
The real deal. I started the Seven Summits challenge this year, and climbed Elbrus in July and Kilimanjaro in September. Both pushed my limits, and feeling said limits made me train ever harder during the off times. Going above 5000m altitude is just a whole different deal, and the late start long summit nights are extremely challenging as well.
It’s in preparation for these serious expeditions that I’ve been commuting to work with a weighted backpack (at this point loaded with 20kg), that I climb the stairs (even up to the 9th floor office) instead of taking the elevator. Four out of the seven are glaciated, which is why I’m going to snowed mountains as often as possible. Puncak Jaya, the highest in Australia/Oceania involves some vertical climbing, which is why I started bouldering.
One would think that upping such a year will be hard. For sure I can’t “start” snowboarding or bouldering again, but I’ve got plenty of ideas left for 2020 as well. I intend to start Nordic (cross-country) skiing and I should do more of higher wall climbing with ropes, which is closer to what I’ll need in Indonesia.
I’ve got three big expeditions booked for the year, Aconcagua in February, Puncak Jaya in August and Island and Mera peaks in the autumn. Of course I’ll keep climbing mountains in Japan as well, as much in the snow as global warming allows.
I’ll also have to renew my visa to Japan, which will be the first struggle with bureaucracy in the year (and honestly, I hope the last). The process seems to have gotten much more annoying, and it wasn’t ever pleasant in the first place.
On the happy side, I’ve got two weddings to attend (friend and family) which is always a nice occasion.
I’m really looking forward to how the new year will turn out and what surprises or unforeseen adventures life has for me.