A big, WHAT IF

by Kitsbow Sherpa

“Life in a Day”

Seeking purity within an intense experience


Summer. What will it look like this year? Who knows.

We do know that we're in need of an escape — a simple, audacious, and flexible escape. It could be something epic, AND in your own backyard. Time now to work a plan and move toward it.

Kitsbow Ambassador, Connor Koch, makes a habit of keeping a something epic in the windscreen. Today he shares with us a few of his motivations and a few practical steps.


1. What excites you about human powered expeditions?
I believe that human-powered adventures provide the opportunity to know yourself, a context where you can dig deep and find wholeness from an experience.

Last October, I ran the Rae Lakes Loop in a day, solo and onsight. I hit a few rough patches, notably at mile 30 when I was beyond committed to the full loop. There were many high points, too.

The highs and lows, the “life in a day”, the purity of an intense experience - they all help me unravel the threads and close the gap between the person I am and the person I aspire to be.

2. How do you build your strategy with each journey?
It starts with the planting of the smallest seed. The “what if” of the possibility that strikes on a long day. In the case of the Colorado 14ers, I started with a few easy ones, and quickly realized that climbing all 58 would be the most beautiful way to interact with my new home state.

Once you have that inspiration, the rest is just logistics: map out the mileage, scour topo maps for linkup possibilities, and sharpen your fitness with consistent training.

Another important aspect of my strategy is to have no expectations of the experience. I find that the more I force an idea, or a time goal, the less likely I am to truly and lastingly benefit from the beauty of the journey.

3. What are your best ultra-endurance training tips?

More important than how you start your training is that you start at all. The first step will probably feel like the hardest, because it seems like everyone is going big in the mountains, or is faster or more athletic than you are.

But if you truly have a passion for something, whether that’s endurance sports or any of the other endless ways to add value to your life, you’ll find a way to take the next step, and the step after that, and the steps will take you to amazing, breathtaking places - if you’re willing to put in the work.

4. What are your key pieces of gear for adventure? 

The less I pack, the happier I am. I am drawn towards simplicity, necessity, and multi-function. Sometimes, this means I roll the dice and lose, like not having a full rain shell and being out a bit longer than planned.

But most times, I feel light, happy, and free, moving through the mountains with only what I need. The most important thing is: don’t forget to pack your brain. No expensive gear will save you from poor decision-making. 

5. What is your favorite Kitsbow piece 
The one I always have on me - my Wind Vest. This insanely packable little piece is deceivingly durable, weather-resistant, and can elevate your core temp from miserable to tolerable. My modified Haskell Shorts come in a close second.

 You can follow Connor here: