Guestpost #15: Aidyl Jago – Ten things I’ve learned from climbing big mountains

Aidyl Jago is a cool chick I met in Vancouver who has done all kinds of weird shit, including: working in the music business for well over a decade, fostering rottweilers, climbing lots of big mountains, running 5 marathons in 2 years, and now living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado as a stay-at-home mom. She is currently one half of Said Dog, a wicked rootsy/rock band, along with her husband Paul (formerly the lead singer of the Gandharvas (remember them? “Time, baby…to put it together, don’t stop, turn yourself, back around!!!” They were awesome…). Both Aidyl and Paul are kind and thoughtful people who I had the pleasure of spending time with in Vancouver. Check out Said Dog here: and like them here:

  1. If you see lightning ahead, and you are on the highest mountain in the area, there is definitely nothing higher than you for the lightning to strike. It’s time to go back down.
  2. Life above the treeline is not unlike being on the moon. Few signs of “life”, but so fascinating. Lots and lots of rock.
  3. Dehydrated “astronaut” food is ridiculous. Just bring real food.
  4. It is very difficult for a girl to pee in the woods without peeing on her shoes.
  5. A fed bear is a dead bear. Marmots WILL steal your trail mix. If you stare into a mountain goat’s eyes for too long, it will steal your soul. Or try to eat your jacket. Point being, wildlife must remain WILD and must not interact with humans. We are visitors on their turf!
  6. No matter how fit you may be (or think you are), breathing above 10,000 ft is going to be difficult. Particularly that blasted uphill part. Take your time and drink lots of water.
  7. Trekking poles are your knees’ best friends.
  8. Dogs have the equivalent of 4-wheel drive and will kick your ass up any mountain, anytime. Respect.
  9. Hiking up big mountains is very, very addictive. Despite how physically awful you might feel at the end of a 15 hour day of knee-rattling hiking, you want to do it all over again the next day.
  10. There is no other feeling like the one you get when you reach the summit and look down upon the surrounding peaks. It is euphoria. Utopia. With just a little bit of hypoxia.

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