WCI Commute Membership: Significant Journeys to Part Dome, Thailand, and Alaska


By way of Josh Katzowitz, WCI Content material Director

Now and again, the ones people at The White Coat Investor experience writing about our trip adventures and what classes (monetary or another way) we will be informed from them.

Dr. Jim Dahle has written about mountaineering to the highest of the perfect level in Wyoming and the way those that don’t take dangers “do not know what they may have observed had they pressed just a little farther into the unknown.” I mirrored on a up to date travel to Israel about how I overcame my discomfort of bargaining to avoid wasting just a little cash right here and there. One visitor creator described how his operating trek to Sudan reinvigorated his occupation. And at WCICON23, keynote speaker Stacy Taniguchi drew common reward for his communicate on opting for to thrive which detailed a just about disastrous mountain trek on Denali.

With a bit of luck, readers can draw inspiration from all of that paintings, whether or not the subject is severe or foolish, huge or senseless.

Right here’s a brand new thought. I’ve begun amassing mini-essays concerning the travels of white coat buyers (whether or not it’s Jim, myself, the WCI columnists, or any one who reads this web site) and submit a couple of of them immediately in an occasional collection we are calling Commute Membership. It may well be inspiring, or it would merely be a pleasing spoil within the day to be transported to different portions of the arena. Both means, it must be entertaining.

I notice some readers consider those posts are both ostentatious or braggadocious or that they’ve some roughly “have a look at me, I’m superior” component. However that’s no longer the primary level of organising the WCI Commute Membership.

Positive, I experience studying concerning the adventure of others, whether or not it’s as it’s already on my trip record or as a result of I will be able to’t believe seeking to replica the journey that any individual else has taken. The true reason why, alternatively, for organising those trip columns is since the outdoor global is at all times there to show us classes.

In a couple of extra phrases, you’ll be able to start studying about those adventures. Prior to that, although, I need to invite all readers to percentage their very own reports with the group. When you’ve got undertaken a travel that taught you classes about finance, psychological wellness, or another side of drugs or lifestyles, I’d love to listen to from you in order that we will come with your tale in next Commute Membership columns. Please electronic mail me at [email protected] so we speak about it. It could thrill me to no finish to submit those columns a couple of occasions a yr.


Rising Previous on Part Dome

By way of Dr. Jim Dahle, WCI Founder

[Editor’s Note: This post was never sent out by email, and it has not been seen by the vast majority of WCI readers. It is also very long. You’ll need to set aside a large chunk of time to read it (it is, however, certainly worth the effort). For the purpose of this Travel Club column, I’ve whittled it down to this excerpt, but if you want to experience the entire adventure, here’s where to find it.]

Yosemite Nationwide Park is to rock climbers what Mecca is to Muslims. You spend years dreaming of going there to climb. It turns into greater than a pilgrimage however a hajj. Each climber from everywhere the arena should make a travel there sooner or later of their lifestyles to be thought to be an actual climber.

You pass there to pay homage, and no longer simply to the stone partitions and domes with majestic waterfalls cascading over them. You pay homage to the climbers who evolved the tactics and gear you utilize each and every time you lay hand to rock. You pay homage to the occasions that came about there. Each climber is aware of no longer simply the names of the routes, however the names of the pitches at the routes and every so often even the title of a unmarried transfer on a unmarried pitch on a path. My first travel to Yosemite 20 years in the past used to be per week in paradise as I reveled in its particular attractiveness. On the other hand, I recall being shocked that there have been such a lot of non-climbers there. I had no concept that there used to be the rest to do in Yosemite than to move mountaineering. And as soon as you might be at the partitions surrounding the valley, you now not know there’s any one else there, regardless of the vacationer crowds alongside the roads and walkways of the valley ground. It used to be wonderful to move house and blow up my footage of El Capitan to find climbers everywhere the face that I may no longer see with my bare eye whilst I used to be there . . .

I’m no longer positive precisely once I first was acutely aware of The Common Northwest Face (RNWF), nevertheless it needed to be via my early 20s at the newest. I’ve been short of to climb this path for roughly 30 years. Why did it take 3 many years for me to try this dream path of mine? As a result of I used to be scared. And I used to be scared for just right reason why. The RNWF is a path for tremendous climbers. Climbers like Royal Robbins and Alex Honnold. Possibly no longer just for execs, however surely for individuals who reside, breathe, and devour mountaineering. Now not for leisure other folks like me. Now not for individuals who spent their 20s in class and putting out in hospitals. It used to be for “dirtbags” who had been “dwelling the dream” (each compliments within the mountaineering global). Whilst your 40s and 50s are a lot more comfy if you happen to spent your 20s in clinical faculty, there is a chance charge, reminiscent of mountaineering routes just like the RNWF.

Because the years went via, Yosemite used to be simply too a long way away for me to spend a lot time there growing ”giant wall” explicit mountaineering abilities. I’m no longer even that just right of a unfastened climber . . . Alternatives to climb help routes had been most commonly non-existent close to the puts I’ve lived. I had finished a couple of pitches of help low on El Capitan on one pilgrimage to Yosemite, however the remainder of my help mountaineering have been restricted to a few minor apply classes at small crags close to my house in Utah . . .

I’ve at all times loved lengthy multi-pitch climbs, and because the years went via, I stretched the trouble and the duration of my goals. Those climbs continuously required an “alpine get started,” starting hours earlier than morning time with a view to whole a climb earlier than sundown. Actually, I’ve at all times outlined an “epic” as having to make use of a headlamp on each ends of the day. Whilst I had handed many nights within the mountains (usually in a tent and snoozing bag on the base of a climb), I had by no means purposely spent one on a climb, referred to as a “bivy” and in most cases involving numerous struggling. One in every of my longest climbs, a caffeine-fueled traverse within the Tetons linking Teewinot, Mount Owen, and the Grand Teton required 26 hours of continuous motion, nevertheless it didn’t contain a bivy.

As I used to be remaining in on my forty eighth birthday, it was obvious to me that the buildup of extra enjoy because the years went via used to be now not overcoming the decline in my health.

Briefly, I had almost definitely peaked so far as doing lengthy, arduous climbs. If I used to be ever going to do the RNWF, it needed to be quickly. It used to be time to begin making plans . . .

The climbing path to Part Dome is 8 ½ miles lengthy. Extra importantly, it is going to the flawed position. We didn’t need to pass to the Cable Course; we would have liked to visit the Northwest Face. Taking the common path will require us to ascend 4,000 vertical ft in 8 miles, then descend 1,000 ft again round to the face on a climbers path, having totally turned around the height. On the other hand, there’s an alternate. Known as “The Demise Slabs” via climbers, this very direct path is going up proper beneath the face of Part Dome.

It has its dangers, alternatively. The vast majority of the path ascends a gully that drains the face of Part Dome. That suggests it’s rainy and a capturing gallery for rockfall. Possibly extra importantly, it is extremely steep, ascending 3,000 vertical ft in not up to a mile. Much less a path than a mountaineering path in and of itself, it will be a significant impediment. On the other hand, if we couldn’t do The Demise Slabs, we surely had no trade seeking to climb the face above them. We left the vacationer path at the back of and headed up the hill. Prior to lengthy we discovered ourselves on Elegance 4 terrain. Elegance 4 with not anything to your again is something. Elegance 4 with 54 kilos to your again is considerably tougher. Then, we got here to the bottom of a cliff. A ratty previous mounted line used to be there, optimistically securely connected. We placed on harnesses (we put our helmets on at Curry Village after we parked the auto) and connected an ascender to the rope for safety and labored our means up.

We crossed the catwalk, a six-inch broad mossy trail above a cliff. We in spite of everything made it into the gully, a rock-strewn capturing gallery with a small flow operating down it. We labored our means up this for a few hours, via rainy magnificence 4 terrain and a couple of extra mounted traces earlier than arriving on the base of the wall. We then traversed upward via scree and bushwhacking alongside the bottom of the wall towards our path . . .

As we approached I heard voices. Upon bursting out of the trees on the base, I noticed that there used to be any other birthday party of 2 climbers simply completing the primary pitch. Yelling up and down, we ascertained their plan. It used to be mainly the similar as ours. They had been making plans to mend 4 pitches as of late the use of two 70-meter ropes (certainly one of which they might throw to the bottom after ascending it within the morning) and depart earlier than morning time day after today to check out to make it to Giant Sandy. This used to be most commonly disappointing as a result of we apprehensive they might be slower than us and purpose us to get to Giant Sandy at nighttime. Worse, Giant Sandy in reality best sleeps two other people semi-comfortably. Now not 4. Not anything shall we do about it, although. I urged they repair pitch 5 too and that we repair pitches 1-3. Then, they may depart earlier than us and get out a few pitches forward people. As a substitute, they urged that we repair pitches 5 and six after which ascend their ropes up pitches 1-4 simply earlier than them within the morning. I favored the theory of being forward of them. It eradicated the chance of them shedding rocks on us and slowing us down. It additionally intended shall we snatch the top snoozing spots at Giant Sandy. So we agreed to their plan and began up the path at 2:30pm at the back of them. As we were given to grasp Doug and Brian over the following couple of days, we had been more than pleased to percentage the path with them . . .

Adventurers like Christian and I really like the outside. We pass mountaineering, backpacking, rafting, and canyoneering. We are saying we like journey, however if truth be told, no adventurer if truth be told desires an journey. You spot, an journey is what you get when issues don’t pass in step with plan. We surely didn’t plan to be mountaineering for twenty-four hours instantly as of late. Too sluggish. Too many mishaps. Possibly we had bitten off greater than we will bite. If we weren’t in over our heads, the water used to be surely lapping up in opposition to our nostrils . . .


Topping out at sundown


Sure, we had ascended the face of Part Dome. We had been pleased with that. Now not best did we make it, however we didn’t desire a rescue. However at what value? Was once it definitely worth the possibility? We now have were given other halves and children looking forward to us at house. What proper did we need to push the envelope up to now?

We had been additionally no longer so pleased with the manner by which we climbed it. We would possibly not have required the help of others, however we surely used it. If an epic is an afternoon the place you utilize the headlamp on each ends of the day, we had a complete day of mountaineering adopted via two epics. We had obviously gotten very as regards to the threshold in the case of our features. Looking back, we almost definitely must no longer have finished it. No doubt, if we had recognized the quantity of struggling we’d undergo, we should not have selected to climb the Common Northwest Face of Part Dome. Now the one query is how a lot treatment we will be able to wish to forestall the nightmares about it. I stay occupied with that unlocked biner and pendulums into house. Christian had a nightmare about going into renal failure and now wanting dialysis. Each the nice and the unhealthy of this journey are going to be unforgettable.

Possibly that is what this writing is: somewhat of treatment. As time is going on, the bruises, scrapes, sore muscular tissues, subungual hematomas, and toe neuropathy will fade, and ideas of different routes will start to creep in. They at all times do.

[Editor’s Note: As I mentioned earlier, I left most of Jim’s post on the cutting room floor. If you want to read about the entire trip (and, say, you have a 10-hour airplane trip ahead of you), you can read the rest at your leisure.]


Thailand, Credit score Card Issues, and the Energy of a 100% Tip

By way of Dr. Tyler Scott, WCI Columnist

Asking me to write down a 500-600 phrase mini-essay is like asking Tom Brady to go back punts. It’s no longer in reality my talent set. I’m sluggish and plodding and methodical and usually pleonastic in my writing. So, in all probability this shall be just right for me or possibly it’ll be a frenetic mess. (Fifty phrases wasted up to now, no longer an excellent get started).

I’m stretching my convenience stage right here as a result of I believe the theory is so cool. To provide up monetary and wellness discoveries discovered all through our wanderlust is one thing I need to do for myself and to percentage with this group. I’m serious about this new addition to our slice of the blogosphere.

The primary travel that got here to thoughts used to be our holiday to Thailand about 8 years in the past. It used to be an ecologically, culturally, and financially profound enjoy. There’s such a lot I realized and felt whilst I used to be in that magical land that I may write about it for days, however for now, I’ll replicate on two monetary classes that experience stayed with me.

The ones are:

  1. The not-so-free nature of bank card issues.
  2. The ability of a good change charge.


Credit score Card Issues

We didn’t have very a lot discretionary source of revenue at this level of lifestyles, and we had set a $3,000 price range for our two weeks in Thailand, together with airfare. To make that conceivable, we determined to “play the bank card issues sport” to get our airline tickets paid for. We strategically opened a number of bank cards over a 12-month length that gave us issues inside the Big name Alliance community, and we got down to fly to Thailand in trade magnificence for “unfastened.”

We did it, and it used to be impressive.

Flying in our personal lay-flat seats at the brand-new Dreamliner from Seattle to Tokyo and consuming scorching foods for 12 hours used to be divine. Gaining access to the top rate lounges within the airports the place shall we bathe, sleep, and devour in peace and totally free used to be a transcendent trip luxurious for us. Having what amounted to our personal beds at the subsequent eight-hour leg from Tokyo to Bangkok used to be beautiful. It’s arduous to position a worth on that roughly convenience and straightforwardness, nevertheless it surely used to be no longer “unfastened” via any stretch of the creativeness. No less than if you happen to put any price on what your time is price.

By the point we opened the other bank cards on the proper occasions so shall we get the bonus issues for the minimal spending necessities inside the allocated time frames (all in the proper classes), stuffed out the bureaucracy, stayed on cling when issues didn’t come via as marketed, and many others. . . . we surely labored for the ones issues. It took an incredible quantity of effort and time to plot and execute this technique.

It used to be price it for us on our $110,000 of source of revenue with a view to enjoy that decadent stage of trip (the ones tickets would were ~$6,000 each and every), and on the similar time, we wouldn’t do it once more.

Tyler Scott

(Left) Tyler Scott snoozing in trade magnificence on find out how to Thailand; (Proper) Tyler Scott, Megan Scott, and a few elephants


A Favorable Change Charge 

Thailand is costly to get to however affordable to stick in, in large part because of the change charge between US bucks and Thai baht. Once we had been there, $1 used to be price ~35 baht (as of late it’s price about 36 baht). The primary resort we stayed in after we arrived in Chiang Rai used to be the nicest resort I had ever been to at that time in my lifestyles, and it charge 2,800 baht consistent with evening. Yep, $80 for probably the most gorgeous, stress-free evening away I had ever skilled.

Additionally, I really like not anything greater than a therapeutic massage, and I had heard good stuff about Thai therapeutic massage. So I were given a one-hour full-body Thai therapeutic massage whilst I used to be there.

Each. Unmarried. Day.

Every so often two times if I had the time.

The associated fee? 210-350 baht ($6-$10) for an hour therapeutic massage! It used to be improbable.

wci travel club

Instead of the worth proposition and the brand new vary of movement in the past unknown to me from those remedies, the most productive factor about those massages used to be giving a tip on the finish. I used to be so thankful to those 5-foot, 90-pound girls who labored so arduous on behalf of my dentally traumatized again and neck, it felt simple and intuitive to provide them a 100% tip after we had been finished.

If the therapeutic massage used to be 250 baht, I’d simply give them 500 and say “Khoob khun krab (thanks)” on my means out the door. Two times once I did this, the masseuse’s eyes welled up, and in a language I’ll by no means perceive however in a tone that wishes no translation, they prolonged their thank you for my alleged generosity.

Paying an additional $6 for a carrier that I wanted and liked rarely felt like generosity to me, however the ones interactions left an indelible impact on me concerning the over the top wealth we experience and the way little it takes to make a significant distinction for somebody who merely drew a special straw than I did on this lifestyles. A number of the many classes I realized from our travel to Thailand, those apparently disparate classes of the worth of $6 in a single context and the significantly lesser price of $6,000 in any other stand out.

OK, that is 786 phrases. Sorry, I’m hopeless. Due to all of you for putting in there with me. Commute continuously, trip properly, and are available again right here to let us know what you be informed alongside the way in which!


My Alaska

By way of Dr. Margaret Curtis, WCI Columnist

In September 2023, I spent 3 weeks in Juneau, Alaska, operating for the Southeast Alaska Regional Well being Consortium (SEARHC). I lined for a group of workers pediatrician and lived with my good friend and previous school roommate, Rebecca. Even though no longer a purely non-public travel, I were given to meet a long-time dream to paintings in Alaska.

My 3 weeks there have been splendidly easy. Each morning, I walked down the hill to the gymnasium after which drove 3 miles to the sanatorium with bald eagles flying overhead. Juneau is stunningly gorgeous and culturally wealthy. The downtown (reminiscent of it’s) is nestled between mountains, ocean, and extra mountains. The 3 native Local Alaskan tribes (Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian) are a visual and necessary presence.

Many of the paintings I did in Alaska used to be properly in my wheelhouse, however I additionally were given to make use of some abilities I hadn’t shortly. SEARHC is each well-resourced (there’s a dwelling, respiring pediatric dentist on group of workers) and out at the sharp finish. If you wish to stress-test your sympathetic apprehensive machine, take a look at comparing a tachypneic new child when you find yourself a two-hour flight clear of the closest tertiary care middle.

Listed here are one of the crucial classes I realized in Alaska:

alaska bear

The undergo cub who walked via my place of business window in Alaska.


The Highest Issues in Lifestyles Are Unfastened (or Reasonable)

Rebecca used to be widowed at age 39, and he or she has been elevating her two children on her personal ever since. Should you assume you’ll be able to’t survive your physician’s wage, she would love a phrase.

Once I wasn’t operating, Rebecca and I had been climbing and web hosting potlucks (unfastened). I did numerous staring in awe on the herbal attractiveness round me (additionally unfastened). We went to the per thirty days storytelling evening ($7), watched all of Ted Lasso (Apple TV, $6.99 per 30 days), and visited the magnificent Sealaska Heritage Heart ($7). Some days, I splurged on a latte from Grumpy’s Deli down the road ($4.73).


You Are Who You Encompass Your self With

Becca isn’t the one individual in Juneau who makes her personal a laugh. I met numerous hardy, adventurous individuals who couldn’t care much less about subject matter wealth. As somebody there informed me: “No person strikes to Juneau as a result of they need to climb the company ladder.” The homes are modest. The potlucks are well-attended. And the used-kid clothes swaps stay each and every circle of relatives on the town clothed so far as I will be able to inform. Other folks right here perceive a sidewalk settee. If I lived in a high-cost-of-living town or suburb, I might almost definitely really feel like a have-not. In Alaska, I couldn’t consider my good fortune.


Challenge-Pushed Doctoring Is a Lot Extra A laugh

The gang I labored for is a subsidiary of the Alaska Local Tribal Well being Consortium, whose goal is to advertise the well being of Alaska Natives. No healthcare machine is best, however operating for one this is focused across the wishes of a group somewhat than, for instance, the income of a non-public fairness company makes the entire extraordinary frustrations much more tolerable.

I noticed numerous adorable children. I met numerous outstanding other people from a outstanding tradition. I were given to really feel I used to be being of carrier. I couldn’t consider my good fortune.

Do you could have your individual trip tales the place you realized a lesson? What else have you ever received out of your trips? Remark beneath and/or electronic mail me!

[Editor’s Note: For comments, complaints, suggestions, or plaudits, email Josh Katzowitz at [email protected].]



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