Ever met someone who seems to embody all that being an adventurer entails? With a deep love of the natural world, a desire to test his physical strength, and a sense of humor, this week’s Shoestring Warrior is a true adventurer. Meet Shoestring Warrior and Computer Programmer, Adrian ‘Ados’ Crane.
As a boy, his father and uncle took him climbing through snow and freezing rain in the Scottish Highlands. That might paint the outdoors in a negative light for some kids, but those experiences introduced Ados to the wonderful possibilities that exist in the outdoors and cultivated his love for adventure. Today, Ados is an ultra runner and mountaineer who has attempted Everest, summited peaks around the world, and has spent over 1000 nights sleeping in a tent (he loses count after 1000).
The spirit of mountaineering and adventure is not being led up a peak but it is the learning and gaining of experience that gives you the ability to tackle mountains yourself; making your own decisions and own choices.
Ados’ adventurous spirit shines bright and he has many stories to tell of his days on the trail. Keep reading to learn more about his Everest expeditions, what he considers to be his most memorable expedition, and to get a sense of his philosophy on turning mishaps into opportunities for laughter. When he’s not adventuring himself, he’s coordinating adventure races for Gold Rush Adventure Racing. Check out their website and Facebook page to learn more.
Shoestring Warrior: Adrian ‘Ados’ Crane
What are your passions outside of work?
Traveling to the outdoors, ultrarunning, mountaineering and talking up my current hometown, Modesto.
Tell us about yourself!
Married to a wonderful woman who lets me go do what I want. Two sons who might join me on a trip at any time.
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
Post-grad; only because I have been camping for so many years in so many places from sizzling deserts to freezing mountains.
I occasionally try to count how many nights I have camped and usually run out of time at about 1000.
When did you first discover your love for the outdoors?
My uncle and father took us climbing in the snow and freezing rain of the Scottish Highlands every year.
You’re an experienced mountaineer and have attempted to summit Mount Everest a couple of times. What is one of your fondest memories from your Everest expeditions?
The single moment would be sitting at my high point of 27000 ft and looking up at the summit and trying to decide if I should go for it. The broader memories are the trips through Nepal and Tibet and their fantastic cultures.
What’s your most memorable expedition and why has it left such an impact on you?
I recently summited Denali for the third time on a trip with my sons and my brother. We had a smooth climb and all summited. To achieve that on a family trip was fabulous. The pride that I had in my son’s skills and camaraderie was wonderful.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in mountaineering but don’t know where to start?
I always say the best way to do something is to go and try it.
You may, and probably will, fail at first but that is how you learn and have the most genuine adventures. The spirit of mountaineering and adventure is not being led up a peak but it is the learning and gaining of experience that gives you the ability to tackle mountains yourself; making your own decisions and own choices.
As an ultra runner, you’ve completed many races and have aided runners in reaching the finish line by pacing them. What does it mean to be a “pacer” and what’s the hardest part about the role?
Pacers are basically trail companions who move with the runner. They typically start running with a runner after the runner has completed many miles and is probably about to run through the night. For example, in a 100 mile race the pacer may join at 60 miles. Ostensibly this is for safety but in practice it is a great way to share the fun of the run. Occasionally runners do go a bit ‘stir crazy’ after that distance and a pacer can help then with route finding, pace and decision making. Typically the pacer is not allowed to provide any physical help. I have really come to love being a pacer.
You get to be part of an event and not have to run too hard (you meet your runner after 50 miles or so, so it is usually pretty easy to keep up).
The joy of witnessing someone achieving a personal challenge is wonderful and then when they give you credit for helping it is a real bonus. Also It is such fun to go be a part of a major event without the pressure of your own performance. Just make sure you don’t contribute to a did not finish (DNF); then you feel terrible!
Funniest outdoor experience/mishap?
With the right attitude every adventure is humorous.
When you get tired and strung out the silliest things are funny. Lying in a crowded tent that you just managed to put up in a freezing rainstorm and then crawl into with 4 other wet people can descend into a stomach cramping laugh fest. We had a great day recently waiting out a blizzard near Mammoth California on a snow trip; nothing to do but hang out and tell stories. Plenty of mishaps: Racing across Death Valley with Jim Fauss and getting mired in the deep mud beneath the salt crust. Backtracked to the road and tried to get a ride into Furnace Creek while we were covered in mud. Getting approached by a gunboat as we paddled past Port Chicago military terminal on the California delta. Having a teammate lose all his climbing gear during an expedition adventure race in Argentina and spending the next day successfully begging and borrowing a complete set of gear. For pure humor: Arriving for the Sacramento marathon and forgetting my running shorts.
Which mountaineers, ultra runners, or adventurers inspire you the most?
There are so many astonishingly skillful outdoors people that I wouldn’t know where to start. I think those that go into the unknown are at the top of my list; Maurice Herzog, Dougal Haston, Doug Scott, Neil Armstrong, Alison Hargreaves, Reinhold Messner (apologies to Peter Habeler), Sherpa Tensing. Herzog was the first to summit an 8000 meter peak. Dougal Haston and Doug Scott were British climbers who had the first ascent of the south face of Everest (and I have a signed poster to remember the achievement by), Neil Armstrong is the first human to set foot on another celestial body and should go down in history as an unparalleled adventurer. (although constrained by NASA’s protocols and provided the opportunity by fate, he demonstrated remarkable skill and personally enabled the feat to be successful). Alison Hargreaves was an accomplished British women climber who died on K2. Reinhold Messner was the first to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen. Tensing was with Hillary on the first ascent of Everest. Of the people I know (I did shake hands with Sherpa Tenzing) I would have to suggest Roman Dial and Clare Le Claire from Alaska who dove into the Alaskan bush several years in a row for the sheer adventure of it in the Alaska Mountain and Wilderness classic.
What’s your next adventure?
Life continues and it is one big adventure.
A couple of weeks from now a group of us from Modesto will hike to Post Peak in the Sierras to look for obsidian. Beyond that I am going to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to referee at the Adventure Racing World Championships.
The perfect s’more? (If you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
I really prefer cheese and crackers and a good cup of tea to wrap up the evening.
Photos © 2018 Adrian Crane