Dakota Walz knows how to keep things interesting. When he isn’t hopping trains, hitchhiking across the country, working as a 911 EMT or writing books about his adventures, you can usually find in him climbing huge rock walls in stunningly beautiful areas — sometimes with a rope, sometimes without.

“As a living breathing namesake, I represent the few unlikely wall climbers to come from the 3rd flattest state in the union.” He writes on his website’s bio page. “North Dakota born and road worn, I’ve cut my teeth on every style of climbing the lower 48 have to offer.”

Now, Walz resides in Colorado, he works on ambulances in the Denver suburbs and spends his free-time climbing the Front Range’s many, many rock routes.

This fall, as wildfires raged across the state, casting ash across the land and filling the sky with a putrid orange glow, Walz decided to go a’climbing. Why not? He reasoned. It would make for some really unique video content if nothing else.

So, off he and his climbing pals ventured, towards Empire, Colorado, to a new climbing route known as “Wanted Out West” — they brought a couple of cameras, a drone and all the rope, quick draws and chalk they’d need to crush their ascent. 

Thus was born Walz’ latest creative venture, “Summer on Fire,” a rad video edit of this particularly smokey ascent.