About Mountain Lessons

There’s no sound breaking the cool air but the soft crunch of boots punching into the snow and the quiet ring made by an ice axe plunging ever upwards.  Thousands of stars have emerged as the full moon set beyond the horizon, and their secret immensity laughs a friendly laugh at the massive mountain’s flanks.  The dome of sky crowns a world that nearly swallows a pair of climbers who trace an improbable path through towers of ice, living in the softly glowing circles made by their headlamps.  Each, were it not for the other, might be overcome by the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that guard the realization of their ambition.  Instead, the two rise gradually, a pair of brothers, above the world sleeping softly below.

What is Mountain Lessons?

Mountain Lessons is a growing collection of articles and photographs that chronicle what the mountains can teach us. Mountains are the guide, the mirror, and the judge, and there is much to be learned from them, as they can be nothing but perfectly, cruelly, and beautifully honest.

Two parallel lines weave through a dampened landscape, moving as water would along gravity’s most forgiving path.  The relief of the forest has been rounded by a rich winter, and all harsh edges have been buttered into rounded tufts and gently flowing curves.  The lines track through the landscape, telling a subtle story about their creation: here they draw a contour around a hillside, and there they weave amongst thin aspens gently shedding their snow, each swerve one choice among thousands.  A soft hiss moves rhythmically through hushed glades as a lone traveler draws lines across the snow that will be erased by tomorrow’s storm.  This world asks nothing of him but what he wants to give, a restful blessing.  The land begins to level in front of him, and gradually flattens, until he too ceases to move and looks out into the whiteness.  With a few quick rips and folds, he ceases to gain and prepares to understand loss (for once, the joy that it brings).  Then, with a swift kick, he falls away into a rushing silence.

Patrick Fink

I am an adventure athlete specializing in mountain running, skimo racing, and ski mountaineering. I invest my time in traveling great and improbable spaces by human-powered means. I take lessons learned in competition and expand them in the mountains, and I take the durability discovered in the hills and use it in competition.

Headed towards Cloud Cap

Me, In My Happy Place.

The camera and the pen allow me to explore and share my experiences with my community, and I proudly represent Icebreaker Merino as an ambassador athlete for their remarkable product.




Two-Year List:

  • Wildwood Trail Run, 31 mi.
  • Timberline Trail Mt Hood Circumnavigation, 40 mi.
  • GoreTex Grand Reverse 2014, 41 mi, 8000′.
  • Wasatch Powderkeg 2014 N. American Skimo Championships, raced sprint, individual, teams races.
  • Vertfest Mt Bachelor 2014, 3rd place Elite division.
  • Crater Lake Ski Circumnavigation, 2014, 33 mi, 8000′.
  • Mt St Helens Speed Ski Jan. 2014, 5500′, 11.3 mi, 3:37:01 car to car.
  • Trail Factor 50k March 2013, 5:06:07.

Thank You

I very much appreciate you, my reader, for choosing to consume what I’ve created.  I welcome your feedback, comments, or even your submissions, which I will gladly share if the submission aligns with the purpose of this publication.  Most of all, travel in the mountains, and perhaps I’ll meet you there.