How We Actually Enjoy Valentine's Day

Mountain Standard has a lot of awesome field agents, including some pretty badass couples. They're not your typical roses and chocolate kind of couples.

We asked two Mountain Standard field agent couples what their ideal Valentine's Day would look like and had them individually respond. Looks like they're pretty much on the same page and it doesn't involve overpriced flowers or oversized teddy bears (maybe some real bears though.)

Meet Alton and Julie.

Alton and Julie live out of their van and are based out of Boulder, CO. Alton is a badass photographer and Julie is the Editor at Climbing Magazine. They go on some incredible adventures and are some of the coolest people we know.

Mountain Standard Field aGent

He said:

My ideal Valentine’s Day itinerary is pretty simple and is based off one idea: do exactly what you love with who you love. 

We would have parked the van somewhere far away, where only dirt roads go and there is no cell service. We would wake up right around sunrise, to a calm, quiet morning, with boulders strewn about in the distance. A slow paced morning is key here with coffee, chorizo, eggs and Wiz Khalifa. The good stuff. 
After the sun has been up for a while, we’d pack our bags and head off to climb. It would be one of three things: boulders in Bishop, warm granite in the Sierras or long routes in Red Rocks. Stashed in my bag/pad would be some “day beers” and a fancy chocolate bar for the summit or the last send.

After a full day of climbing, we’d make our way back to the van and get a camp fire started just in time to enjoy the sunset and a victory beer. Shortly after I would start cooking what we like to our call our European inspired dinner. Basically it’s a generous portion of fresh Salmon, cooked in some oil and seasoned with just a few spices and some soy sauce paired with a simple salad of mixed greens and spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, pine nuts and goat cheese topped with Balsamic Vinaigrette. For a side we’d have a soft baguette and Greek olives and feta in oil. OR, we’d do a simple dutch oven pizza, which is DANK. But ours would have bacon on it. 

After dinner we’d either watch a movie in the van or simply hang by the fire until it’s time to go to bed, which at this time of year in the mountains is around 7:30pm. But that’s fine, because we have a full day of doing it all over again. The perfect day is in the sun, amongst rocks and with the person I love. 

Mountain Standard Field Agent

She said:
Alton and I wake up early in the van with our dog Lizzie in Bishop, California, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra and the big, beautiful egg-drop boulders in the Buttermilks. We have the place completely to ourselves, it's sunny and about 50°, so we sit outside the van, listen to music, and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or two, cook a yummy breakfast of eggs in a basket with some pancetta.

Eventually we pack our stuff and go out to climb. He and I both send bucket-list projects and are climbing strong, just happy to be alive and healthy and outside with the person (and dog!) we love most in this world. After crushing a few more easy highballs, we head to town to grab a late lunch at Schat's Bakery. Then we pick up a few six-packs of some local California beers, and drive to the Green Church hot springs near Mammoth. The place is empty and we sink into the hot springs just as the sun starts to set. We snap a few self-timer shots of us in the natural hot springs with the backdrop of breathtaking mountains, so we can remember this day forever. Cracking open a few cold beers, we sit in the perfectly hot water and look at the stars above.

Mountain Standard Field Agent


Meet Alex and Katie. 

Alex and Katie also live in the beautiful town of Boulder, CO and both work in marketing. They spend their weekends in the hills climbing and enjoy a fancy bottle of wine and a nice meal. Read below for some of their awesome break-y recipes.

Mountain Standard Field Agent

He said: 

7:30am - Wake up (with Katie) in our home. Make a fresh pot of French-pressed coffee and sit out on the porch and just be together.

8:00am - Make our favorite breakfast:  2 eggs (each) over easy, sauteed green onion, cherry tomatoes and smeared avocado and oiled baby arugula on top of a piece of toasted sourdough. (Make more coffee).
9:30am - Rally (with more coffee) to the truck and drive up the mountains to Guanella Pass while listening to 90’s R&B classics.

11:00am - Boulder in the woods on all of our favorite climbs. No agenda. No projects. Just hanging out in the woods under a clear sky.

1:00pm - Crank out our favorite lunch:  Baby arugula salad with chile-infused olive oil. Leftover spaghetti and meatball pasta. Oh yeah, and a bottle of red wine.

3:00pm - Give up on any real climbing because we’re fat and tired. Drive down into town for a stop at a local cafe and regroup with cappuccinos.

3:30pm - Drive back to Boulder listening to more 90s baby-making music.

5:00pm - I’d make us cocktails (probably a sazerac for me and a gin & tonic for her) and she’d prep a little snack (probably some cheese & olive plate combo).

7:30pm - Make our way to The Kitchen Upstairs for more treats! Sazeracs, wine, and plenty of awesome food.

11:00pm - Slippers, baggy sweats, fave sweatshirt. True Detective Season 1. What else do you need?

4:00am - Wake up realizing we just ate and drank enough to last me a week. Continue sleeping for the next 3 days.

She said: 

1. Sleep in (late) and make coffee together, first thing.

2. Alex would cook the most bomb breakfast ever: his signature egg sandwich.

The secret ingredients: toasted sourdough bread, (2) eggs sunny side up, green onion, sautéed tomatoes, feta, arugula seasoned with chili-infused olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite sauce (mine: homemade red pepper jelly; Alex: sweet-chili sauce + sriracha). You are welcome everyone for sharing this recipe, although I don’t think yours will taste the same if Alex is not cooking it up.

3. Hang out, drink coffee, eat egg sandwiches, watch a tv show while eating breakfast (The Good Wife is the current go-to, but previous fav’s would be Sons of Anarchy or True Detective).

4. Open up Valentines day cards, I like the handmade style.

5. Get a climbing session in either outside or at the gym… yep we would (and will) boulder at the climbing gym.

6. Pick up some green goddess smoothies at whole foods (gotta feel good after the gym).

7. Bike down to Pearl street, mill around, buy something, eat ice cream, grab happy hour.

8. Hang out in the afternoon.

9. Open up some delicious red wine.

10. Either cook up something new and exciting for dinner or go out to eat on Pearl. The go to would be The Kitchen.

11. Late night tv show time.

Well there it is, it kinda sounds like a regular weekend day, but that’s what we like.

 Alex Biale Climbing

Happy Valentine's Day compadres! 

Follow our friends on Instagram: 

Alton Richardson - @agrphoto

Julie Ellison - @joolyhart

Alex Baile - @alexbiale 

Katie Baldwin - @skwigglestripes


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