11 min read

A look back at 2023

My statistical year in review
A look back at 2023
Image: Result of a long conversation with DALL-E. Kind of reminds of me of Wes Anderson's aesthetic.

It was a great year, though not without its difficulties. I dealt with a heightened level of anxiety, starting with a job search after being laid off just before Christmas in 2022, then a high pace at my new job, and a lot of moving around as Fiona and I continued our nomadic existence. While away, we put our home on Airbnb, which was its own stressor. I worried about every possible way people could destroy our house: leaving the stove on, stealing our stuff, flooding the bathrooms, etc. Though, fortunately, our guests were easy on the place.

Despite the stress, we cranked up the adventure dial this past year. We moved to the Pacific Northwest for the summer to be close to the Cascades Range, and then to southern Utah for about a month and a half in the fall. I summited four big peaks and one imposing desert tower (the hardest physical endeavor in a day of my life to date). I ice-climbed out of glacial crevasses on Mt. Shuksan. I sniffed the sulfur venting out of the primeval-looking crater on Mt. Baker's summit. I tried and mostly failed to ski Shasta (too little snow). I qualified for a 2024 Denali expedition via the West Buttress route. Fiona and I backpacked gorgeous terrain with Egg, our fluffy golden retriever. We got our fill of the excellent food and beer scenes in Seattle and Portland. We got our fill of the Seattle traffic, too.

Our favorite stay was this place up in northern Washington, bordering Canada. It was a month of forest-bathing in the ferns and large pines. Egg loved it. On my runs, I could see Shuksan's glaciers poking out above the treetops.

Creatively-speaking, I continued to write and publish videos about our adventures. I got back into beer-brewing, and, over these last couple of weeks here in the Tetons, I clicked into my backcountry skis for more touring with Egg.

Other notes from the year:

  • I switched to a Garmin Fenix 6 watch and away from my Apple Watch Series 5. No regrets. Garmins just seem built for what I do. The battery life is incredible (I rarely have to charge it on long expeditions), the sleep tracker seems solid, and I love all of the data I can collect in Garmin Connect, like fitness age.
  • I started using ChatGPT regularly. Mostly for code/SQL stuff. I don't write with it. It's a pretty good replacement for Google, particularly with GPT 4 and its internet-searching capabilities. I'll probably give Gemini a shot this coming year to see how it goes. I'm excited to see where the space heads and what new labor-intensive tasks it gobbles up.
  • I began a new romance with ice-climbing.

And, without further ado, my lists and metric tallies for the year:

💪 Fitness

I changed the way that I track fitness to focus on general "cardio mileage" and, though I changed the ratios of my different activities, I came in about as fit as in 2022.


  •  1519/1500 miles of cardio exercise (running, hiking, cycling, cross-country/backcountry skiing)
  • 10,780/10,000 pushups (vs. 18,500 pushups in 2022)
  • 4/3 glaciated peaks summited
    • Mt. Rainier
    • Mt. Shasta
    • Mt. Baker
    • Mt. Shuksan
  • Get accepted to a Denali expedition for 2024
  • I didn't set a goal here, but I racked up 205 tracked training hours (between Peloton and Strava)

Other things I tracked:

  • 62 hours spent running (vs. 112 hours 27 minutes in 2022)
  • 41 hours on Peloton workouts on the bike/strength (vs. 0 in 2022)
  • 91 hours of hiking and mountaineering (vs. untracked in 2022)
  • 11 hours of walking and other workouts (vs. untracked in 2022)
  • 16,545ft running vert (vs. 43,868ft in 2022)
  • 88 total runs (vs. 168 in 2022)
  • 777 miles cycled on Peloton (vs. 0 in 2022)
  • 415 miles run (vs. 774 in 2022)
  • 208 miles hiked (didn't track regularly in 2022)
  • 71 highest Strava fitness level¹ (vs. 71 in 2022)
  • 5 climbing objectives completed (vs. 2 in 2022)

🥕 Health

I slept marginally better in 2023 than 2022. I rested long enough on average, but not with very high quality. I was slightly less happy this year on average (probably due to all of the stress and movement referenced in the intro to this piece).


  • ❌ 70.12%/75% sleep quality² (vs. 68.88% in 2022) - I switched to using a Garmin to track my sleep quality mid-year, so this comparison is a bit dubious to me
  • 8:15/8:00 average nightly sleep length (vs. 7:57 in 2022)

Other things I tracked:

  • 78.1 happiness index average³ (vs. 79.7 in 2022, and 84 in 2021)

🧠 Brain

Continued solid creative output. Lost some interest in podcasting.

I'm still experimenting with the main "themes" of the content I create. Lots of cooking last year, and more travel documentation this year. I think food gets you more views on the internet because everyone eats and seems to have an opinion about it. But I also get more haters commenting on my stuff. I seem to catch less hate and feel more helpful to the world when I write or make videos about adventures in the wilderness; more satisfied too.

I love spoken-word audio as a medium, but I cannot get engagement with any stuff I put out. In general, it seems a lot more difficult to get a following with a podcast, whereas putting out quality stuff on Youtube seems to naturally gain algorithmic momentum with little effort. So I'm doubling down on what works and releasing stuff where my audience tends to hang out.

It's not like I have crazy reach with this newsletter, but I enjoy writing it and slowly building my distro list over time with people who are interested enough to follow my videos to my website.


  • ✅ 51/50 completed long-form media pieces (the media I consumed, vs. 15 books in 2022)
  • ✅ 23/10 articles published, including newsletter issues (vs. 19 in 2022)
  • ❌ 2/5 podcasts created (vs. 5 in 2022)
  • ✅ 8/5 long-form videos published (vs. 16 long-form in 2022)
  • ✅ 21/15 short-form videos published (vs. 32 short-form in 2022)


✍️ Stuff I made

I often write essays to narrate over video, so I'm counting those pieces in the writing section, as well as the video section.


Long-form video:

Short-form video:

💿 Long-form media consumption

Books: I've italicized books that I read in part but put down or come back to as reference. I've bolded books that I'd especially recommend. The list this year was pretty climbing-themed:

  • Overreach: The Inside Story of Putin and Russia’s War Against Ukraine, Owen Matthews
  • Putin's Wars, Mark Galeotti
  • The Witcher: The Last Wish, Andrzej Sapkowski - alright Covid reading
  • Minus 148: First Winter Ascent of Mt. Mckinley, Art Davidson
  • Denali's West Buttress, Colby Coombs
  • Invincible, Issues 26-53, Robert Kirkman/Cory Walker/Robert Ottley
  • Invincible, Issues 1-25, Robert Kirkman/Cory Walker/Robert Ottley
  • Beyond the Mountain, Steve House - a solid memoir from another climbing legend
  • Kiss or Kill, Mark Twight - intense, dark, contemplative
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin
  • A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles - Just a delightful, cozy read
  • Reamde, Neal Stephenson (8%)


  • Tombstone (1993) - Good, but seemed like it kinda dragged on
  • The Killer, David Fincher - A little predictable, but solid
  • Invincible (Season 2) - Love it
  • Scavenger's Reign (Season 1) - Crazy compelling and good writing
  • Nightmare on Elm Street - Tis the season. 80's cheesy; surprisingly good.
  • True Detective (Season 1) - rewatch. SO rewatchable. 
  • Peak Obsession - a Cody Townsend Fifty Project production
  • The Shining - Just a great rewatch
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Fargo (1996)
  • Oppenheimer - magnificent
  • Barbie
  • Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018) - pretty decent; spectacular animation
  • The Hunted (2003) - so bad. Also watched during Covid
  • Honest Thief (Liam Neeson) - cheesy movie watched while in Covid recovery
  • The Marksman (Liam Neeson) - cheesy movie watched while in Covid recovery
  • Memory (Liam Neeson) - cheesy movie watched while in Covid recovery
  • Invincible (Season 1) - watched on Amazon Prime; amazing
  • Lethal Weapon (1987) - whacky, nonsensical plot, but lots of explosions
  • Enter the Dragon (1973) - Kitschy, extremely fun
  • Big Trouble in Little China - Exceptional
  • M3gan - pretty funny
  • Cocaine Bear - I was expecting laughs like Sharknado, but it did not deliver
  • Yellowstone (Season 4) - it's so bad but so addicting
  • Yellowstone (Season 3) - we hate the writing but can't stop
  • Yellowstone (Season 2)
  • Yellowstone (Season 1)
  • Bloodsport (John Claude Van Damme) --also hilarious
  • First Blood (Rambo)--hilarious
  • Prospect (2018) --Pedro Pascal is great
  • The White Lotus Season 2
  • The Last of Us Season 1 (fantastic)

Video games:

⛰️ 2023 in places

Where we spent at least one night.

January - May

  • Victor, ID
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Henry's Fork, ID
  • Chicago, IL (work trip)


  • Bend, OR
  • Ashford, WA (Mt. Rainer climb via Ingraham Direct route)
  • Mt. Shasta Wilderness, CA (Mt. Shasta climb via Hotlum-Bolam route)
  • Denver, CO (work trip)


  • Deming/Glacier, WA
  • Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness, WA


  • Austin, TX (work trip)
  • Mt. Baker climb (Easton Glacier route)
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • Burlington, WA (Shuksan climb via Sulphide Glacier route)
  • Anacortes, WA
  • Cannon Beach, OR

September - October

  • Victor, ID
  • Alaska Basin, WY (backpacking excursion)

October - November

  • Castle Valley, UT (where I climbed Castleton Tower via the North Chimney route)
  • Fisher Valley, UT (camped on the way to Kokopelli Trail, connected to Onion Creek)

November - December

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Victor ID

📕 Definitions

¹Strava Fitness: “Fitness is calculated using your Relative Effort (based on either heart rate data or Perceived Exertion input) and/or power meter data. This way you can identify patterns in your training and see the big picture of how all your workouts add up over time. Your score is entirely relative to you. It serves as a benchmark, to show how many points you currently have compared to any date in the past two years.”

²Sleep Quality: Source: AutoSleep: "The Quality ring shows hours of quality sleep achieved. This makes it easier to compare with other days. This looks at the overall sleep time, how much light sleep, how much deep sleep, how restless and the nocturnal dip in heart rate and determines how much quality sleep you had. The ring completion target is 85% of your required sleep hours.”

For Garmin: "Your nightly sleep score is calculated based on a blend of how long you slept, how well you slept, and evidence of recovery activity occurring in your autonomic nervous system derived from heart rate variability data. The following categories are considered when assigning a score:

  • Sleep Duration
  • Average stress score during sleep
  • Total deep sleep
  • Total light sleep
  • Total REM sleep
  • Awake time
  • Restlessness"

³Happiness index: Holistic spot-check of how good I feel psychologically and physically, based on my relationships, job satisfaction, financial well-being, goal completion, etc. on a scale of 1-100, with 1 being the worst and 100 being that life can’t get any better.

2024 planning

I generally liked the way I planned 2023. It seemed to work well to move away from fitness goals centered on specific activities like running, and to go for "cardio mileage," so that hiking, backcountry skiing, and other stuff I like to do would actually count toward my yearly goal.

The same goes for media consumption. I moved away from tracking books specifically and opened it up to video games, movies, and TV. Will continue tracking this way.

On the fitness front, I'm going to optimize for training duration, rather than miles, or calories burned. This is mostly because the training plan I'm following for Denali (from Uphill Athlete, by Steve House) focuses on time served in exercise, rather than reps, pace, or other measures. The advantage to this way of tracking my progress is that it's even more expansive than the "cardio mileage" concept since it incorporates strength training. I've neglected strength work for my whole life to date, always thinking of myself as a lean cardio athlete. I'm going to make a concerted effort this next year to do strength sessions at least twice per week and focus on long, low-intensity cardio around that. This blend of training supports my other goals in the mountains--skiing, mountaineering, climbing.

I'm not going to track weekly goal completion percentage this next year and see how it goes. This last year, I could too easily move stuff around and pump up my completion numbers. It's just not super meaningful to me.

I'm going to keep the rest of my goals similar to 2023.

Goal summary for 2024

As always, this is a list of intentions, rather than hard, inflexible commitments. See here for more of the reasoning on that.

  • Maintain a sleep quality of 75%+, sleep time 8+ hours average for all of 2024
  • Do 250+ training hours for fitness
    • I'm estimating this is possible since I achieved 205 in 2023. Some of the best mountain athletes rack up more than 600 training hours in a year. I'm going to try to be in that ballpark, but I just want to set a reasonable threshold
  • Get to Kahiltna Glacier on Denali, Alaska
    • I'm deliberately not saying "summit" Denali because a) I'm superstitious and b) you have very limited control over summiting--from what I've read, it can be a 50-50 chance in the average season because of weather, a random case of pulmonary edema, injury, etc.
  • Self-sufficiently complete 3+ mountaineering/climbing objectives
    • I want to move away from my reliance on guides. This increases some risk, but it's the natural evolution for me. I get the most joy out of adventures in the mountains when I'm making all of my own assessments. Probably why I have enjoyed resort skiing less and less as soon as I got into backcountry skiing. I love breaking trail and tromping up an unmarked hill away from crowds and noise. Plus, you can take the dog along.
  • Brew 10+ batches of beer
    • We fantasize about creating a nanobrewery. Fiona and I even have a name in mind: Strange Creature Brewing. Driggs and Victor, Idaho, have a very lively brewing/homebrewing scene and so I'd like to get more involved. Part of this is just getting reps and reps and talking to other locals about tips and tricks.
  • Submit a beer to a competition
    • This is mostly a motivator to brew more and get good. I don't care if I win anything, I just want to brew a lot until I feel like I have a recipe worth submitting.
  • Publish 5+ articles
    • Same as 2023
  • Publish 5+ longer-form videos
    • Same as 2023
  • Publish 15+ short-form videos
    • Same as 2023
  • Finish 50+ pieces of long-form media (log)
    • Same as 2023