Hey there, thanks for checking out the site. I’m Nate Bender, a trail runner from Missoula, Montana. The bulk of writing here centers on running, but I also dabble in rock climbing, rafting, and backcountry and cross-country skiing. You know, the other usual outdoors vices.
The name of the blog comes from a piece of advice my great-uncle gave me years ago when I asked him for advice on balancing different priorities. He merrily paraphrased some Buddhist koan and told me I’d only ever find happiness if I was able to “climb all ten mountaintops and return home before lunch.”
I’ve always interpreted this to mean that it’s impossible to climb ten mountaintops before lunch, so you have to be careful in choosing the challenges you tackle if you’re going to make it work with the rest of life. Or, you could also look at it as the appeal of a challenge you haven’t quite done yet; something right on the edge of possible.
I feel endurance activities in the mountains can be a profound way to explore mental and physical limits. I find myself drawn to those fleeting, rare moments of surprise and awe when body or mind displays a level of previously unknown strength or perseverence. There is a lot to be learned about ourselves in these moments and in striving for them. With any luck, lessons that can be transferred to other areas of life, too.
Resume / Personal Highlights
- Montana 12ers highpoint challenge – FKT (102:44:19)
- IMTUF 100 – 6th (23:53:05)
- Zion Double Traverse – 2nd FKT (25:00:19)
- Ouray 50 Mile Endurance Run, CO – 3rd
- River of No Return 108K, ID – 4th
- Idaho 12ers highpoint challenge – 2nd FKT (37:44:00) (now 3rd-fastest)
- Ouray 50 Mile Endurance Run, CO – T-1st
- Mt. Borah, ID – 01:45:00 car-to-summit
- Le Grizz 50 Mile Run, MT – first ultra; successfully did not die.
UD makes top-notch gear for self-propelled mountain adventures and they are passionate supporters of mountain adventurers of all stripes, from folks on the mainstream Skyrunning circuit to people chasing their own esoteric and badass dreams. I’m proud to be on their Ambassador team. Check them out here.