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2019 In Review

2020-01-03 by Quinlan Pfifferyear-end-review

“Always between life and death” - Zybin


Where do I even start? I’m tired just thinking about it.


  • One big thing I’ve started doing is that on every trip we go on now, I started a “Lessons for X 20YY”, and just write down everything I learned, experienced or want to look up. I end up with great quotes, bookes to read, lessons that are invaluable, etc. They all go in one place and they’re really easy to look back on.
  • My guitar playing is getting there. It’s such a fun, productive activity. A little bit every day with no plan is more than enough to really make me feel like I’m investing in it.
  • Started logging all/most of my transactions. I started out using an app on our trip, which carried over to home life, which eventually has led to YNAB which I’m still getting used to.
  • Got two jobs.
  • Didn’t have enough money to pay taxes when we got back from Asia so I had to go on an installment plan. That sucked. You owe WAY more when thats over.
  • I sewed a bit- a couple bike bags, mostly.
  • Learned a lot about communication and what works well for me and having emotionally heavy conversations.
  • My car was stolen.
  • We did the Gambler 500 again.
  • Visited Grandma!
  • Went to Kentucky for like, a day.


  • Repainted my track bike in Dazzle camo.
  • Had a TERRIBL(y great) TIME at the Oregon Emerald Outback. The mental toughness that I acquired coming out of that trip was amazing. I didn’t care about physical pain, or cold, or being hungry, or too hot or sweaty or dehydrated- it was all fine.
  • Did white rim in a day.
  • Had my biggest single push ever, at 160 miles.
  • Red Bull Bay Climb! I qualified but that was it. Neat event.
  • Did my first Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge but it was a pretty bad turnout and I hadn’t raced all season due to the fucked up arm. Kinda sad.


  • Ran my own solo 50k around Mt. St. Helens
  • Ran two ultramarathons, one was The RUT and the other was Lastest not Fastest. It was a monster year of foot racing, for some reason.
  • Did my first orienteering race (super fun, definitely want to do more)
  • Two new sports: Skiing and Ice Climbing. I’m pretty stoked on ice climbing I think.
  • My packing lists are getting really dialed in.
  • The summer was kind of a wash because I broke my arm.
  • Got PADI certified and went on 10 dives, 8 in Bali and 2 in the Phillipines.
  • Did a solo bikerafting adventure. That was hilariously bad, but amazing.
  • First ski tour, first ice climb, first hut-to-hut multi-day ski tour: Winter sports abound.


  • Climbed sport in Tonsai (Thailand), Laos, Cat Ba (Vietnam), Hong Kong and the Phillipines.
  • Redpointed my hardest climb ever in the Phillipines.
  • Learned how to crack climb in Indian Creek, and in Moab (Wall Street)
  • Climbed Mt. Hood
  • Climbed in the Gunks and the Adirondacks
  • Climbed in Red Rocks (Vegas)



  • SO MUCH RUNNNING! I broke my arm and that was pretty much it. Tempo runs, uphill workouts, mountain objectives, Mt. Defiance, Helens, Big Sky, all sorts of stuff. The worst run of the year was definitely this Stack Rock run in the heat. I thought I was gonna pass out.
  • Definitely climbing better than I ever have, pre- and post-break. I’m leading in the gym and led quite a bit outside in the beginning of the year. Still now trad or ice yet.
  • There were a ton of big days, so I’m definitely an endurance athlete now. My bodyweight is hovering around 150lbs. I’m not afraid of 12-14 hour pushes yet, still haven’t broken the 24 hour barrier but I imagine that’ll be soon.


I think Gideon the Ninth was my book of the year- I couldn’t put it down. Harry August was a close second. Also finally read Patrick Rothfuss and couldn’t put any of his books down either. Not as great a turn-out as last year.


Not a whole lot to speak of: A couple Oleg commits, some waifu stuff, pdxburritoreview, my own resume, just random things. Some Voidcrash work that I don’t want to talk about yet.



  • I didn’t handle breaking my arm very well. I didn’t utilize the time and I was just kind of in a funk for a month or two. It wasn’t ideal.
  • I didn’t read as much as I wanted, surprise surprise.
  • Bad journalling year, except for the travel sections. I’m okay with this right now since the documentation is good in other places, but it’s nice to have a written account.

Goals from Last Year

  • SuccessFinish the 50k trail run you’re already signed up for - Success!
  • SuccessSurvive the Oregon Emerald Outback - Read the trip report here.
  • SuccessMake a serious effort to de-humbug yourself. Like coding again. - Started working on a game. Random stuff.
  • SuccessDo more escape rooms with M - Vegas and in PDX.
  • SuccessDo another bikepacking route in OR - Emerald.
  • SuccessCoast and back dirt ride - Sorta, on the Emerald.
  • SuccessDirt century - Bacona with OMTM.
  • SuccessHalf-framebag for Motobecane
  • trip reports
  • SuccessSell BMX Bike
  • FailedSell extra MR2 stuff
  • SuccessDo an OMTM ride (with the group, or just the GPX track) - Did the Bacona whatever.
  • SuccessMore 5AM dawnpatrol rides
  • FailedDo an S24O
  • SuccessSimple bikerafting trip
  • FailedGrow red or green chillis
  • FailedBreak 200M record
  • FailedVisit Bishop again
  • FailedFinish building DIY Packraft
  • FailedThrow a race
  • FailedRead a book at least once a month
  • FailedRedo personal website
  • SuccessEat more plant-based - This one is open ended but I’ve been calling myself an “Opportunistic vegetarian”.
  • SuccessSew more stuff - Made quite a few things this year, mostly for the Emerald Outback.
  • SuccessPut money into Roth IRA
  • FailedDo the Quintuple MTB trip: Syncline, Post, Sandy Ridge, Powell Butte, Gateway Green
  • UnsureClimb with more people - I did this but not really in the way that I intended. 50/50.
  • UnsureKeep up climbing fitness - I broke my arm, but its back now. Does that count?
  • FailedPaddle with Zybin
  • SuccessCook more - Breakfasts, lunches, snacks, crockpot. Save money!

Goals for 2020

  • Retry the bivy-a-month challenge
    • January: Wallowas, 1/31 - 2/1: Slept outside in a snow pit outside the yurt.
    • February: 2/22 - 2/23: Slept outside at the smith rock state bivy area. Fantastic night but the SOL emergency bivy was very damp. Ended up just sleeping on top of it.
  • Be more proactive about body maintenance: Stretching, Rolling, Yoga, etc. I’m getting older and I need to mobility.
  • One book a month, at least. Read through all the stuff on the shelf.
  • More Ice Climbing
  • Get better at skiing
  • Climb Rainier, Helens
  • Take more classes! First-aid, Crevasse rescue, Rock safety, Swiftwater, etc. (This one is cheating because I already signed up to a bunch of them)
  • Move every day.
  • Work on making new and varied friends: Human relationships are valuable.
  • Cross some items off the BS Adventure calendar
  • Do one of these runs
  • More sewing projects!


  • Broken arm was the biggest one
  • Concussion went with the broken arm
  • Pulled spinal erector
  • Pulled groin muscle
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Sick maybe 5-6 times?
  • Chronic hamstring issue from sprinting in Myanmar
  • Psoriasis from Asia, somehow.
  • Lastest not Fastest inflamed something in my foot so it was impossible to run without pain for a few weeks
  • Pulled Quad after LnF, The Rut and the Red Bull Bay Climb

That’s a wrap! I’m sure more stuff will come up. I feel pretty stoked in general so I’m not too stuck to defining objectives to finish. This year is shaping up to be pretty involved anyway, so I’m not worried about it.