Sharpening Up in the Backcountry

By Brett Mentor - Community Stories

Inspiration to journey into the hills stems from a knowledge of boundless treasures within my experiences thus far in life. Freedom of flow and body movement among the majesty of the mountains and tranquility of the trees, brings me presence; and presents. The gifts of joy, laughter and elation provide healthy and simple stepping stones to my complex and fast-paced life. From a delicate dance gripping a mountain to the effortless floating through freshly coated spruce trees in winter. Inspiration for me, stems from the roots of outdoor recreation, where those that chose to venture into the hills, did so at their own expense. In the heyday of recreation, the margin for error used to be a lot smaller.


As the metamorphic process of inspiration in my life fluxuates, natural reflection of my adventures and self-exploration develop. I’ve been fortunate to explore many nooks and crannies of our massive world and feel gratitude and continuous respect for the wild and it’s inhabitants. Experiences with joy and content in a distant part combined with the consistent fear of being far from help fuels my motivation to get sharp. Risk management and tolerance to adversity shift gears as different experiences unfold. I’ve never had the same two outings in the mountains and don’t ever plan too. As the people, environment, and other variables change, our perception does too. Errors and mistakes can become destructive, problematic, and possibly fatal. Many errors have taken the lives of our family and friends, and yet we haven’t stopped venturing into the unknown. Those who set off far into the hills know the risks at hand, and accept them for what they are, fully knowing the potential impact of small mistakes. Setting off into the unknown, aware. A decent metaphor for life I suppose.


Taking the time to sharpen my tools and mental awareness is a skill I’ll never be able to replace. To stay sharp for me, is a form of self-preservation; however, individuals who are close to me have also benefited from my ability to hone in my skill set. As a comforting body in the mountains, I’ve developed natural leadership skills over the course of time. Risk is dynamic and I strive to continue practicing risk awareness with vigor and diligence to prolong my journey. The lifestyle I’ve chosen comes with complex responsibility and decision making, but fuels the mental sharpness and awareness that are essential for me. Living in a world where there is no natural consequence for my actions would feel meaningless. The more skills I develop, the further I can explore.

By Brett Mentor - O.E Ambassador

Brett, originally from Colorado, has worked as a guide his whole adult life. His career has taken him from snowboarding in Alaska to rock climbing in Squamish, with tons of exciting adventures in between. Brett is an Outdoor Explore ambassador and an occasional O.E guide.

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