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Mar 18, 2024 by Megan Michelson

Trade Secrets: How to Sleep Just About Anywhere

featuring Adrian Ballinger. Photography by Griffin Mims

Home Base / Tahoe City, California.

Activities / Rock climbing, backcountry skiing, trail running, Nordic skiing.

Insider Knowledge

“I joke that my only superhero talent is my ability to sleep no matter where I am,” says the alpinist and guide Adrian Ballinger. Through years of expedition travel, he’s cultivated his ability to sleep in the most uncomfortable of situations, like, say, hanging on a portaledge off a big wall or in a wind-hammered tent on the edge of a mountain. Adrian can sleep even after the most stressful of days. 

I’ve practiced clearing my mind at the end of a day. I put away everything, whatever it is—a problem at work, a bad performance while rock climbing—so I can start fresh the next day. You have to have a strong belief in the fact that no matter what happened, it’s OK how things played out.

Sleep deprivation is similar to alcohol in terms of its effects on decision making. Adrian is an easy sleeper, but he works at it.
Quick Tip

International travel is a big part of Adrian’s life. “On every plane trip I take, I bring an eye mask and ear plugs,” Ballinger says. “The other thing I always have—even if I’m traveling to a tropical place—is a puffy Black Diamond jacket, which is my security blanket and my pillow.”