Listening to the Mountain.    5/08/14

If you didn't get a chance to see the Discovery channel special on the Everest tragedy, here is a link.  At 2:09 you will see my friend, Mark Horrell make a cameo appearance.  If his name sounds familiar, it is from this review he did so kindly for me recently.  Mark was set for an attempt on Lhotse but all climbs from the South side of Everest were cancelled as the result of the deaths of 16 Sherpa in the worst single day disaster in the history of the mountain. (Mark doesn't think much of the documentary, neither did I)


Currently, on neighboring mountain Cho Oyu, where the Chinese have stopped Americans from climbing, my Austrian/Australian climbing buddy, Andrea Rigotti is preparing for his summit bid in not so perfect conditions.  You may remember Andrea from my Muztagh Ata climb.  He and I were a couple of the idiots who pressed on to the summit and suffered frostbite as a result.  You can follow Andrea's tweets here:   I'm certain that he is feeling as if there is but a short weather window approaching.  And I'm sure he is listening to the mountain like Mark who is in Kathmandu presently deciding his next course of action.

On the Highlander front, Jerky Mike and Bill are in a race to finish their miles and both are under 30.  It will be very interesting to see how this ends up.  They have their own doses of summit fever and it causes you to do big, long and sometimes solo backpacking trips.  Both guys are wearing it out as they approach the finish line in a match worthy of reality television.

Speaking of summits, I intend to finish my second book entitled,   Father of Ice Mountains this summer.  Prior to the Pakistan expedition I had largely completed this account of our Muztagh Ata climb in hopes of conventional publishing and interest by the Mountaineers Press.  After the book proposal and careful editing, they passed on the project.  I am reworking the piece and will also pursue the self published route upon completion.  It will be my Summer project in addition to a few secret backpacking plans for the summer.  I am looking forward to this upcoming opportunity to get back on the trail.  Grady and I are brewing another AT week as well.

I've enjoyed a few opportunities to share the Broad Peak account with various groups but none more special than the Walland Elementary school a couple of weeks ago.  I wasn't sure how very small children would react to this tale but they were more engaged and wide eyed than any other audience.  I suppose the visual aids were helpful as I passed around the heavy high altitude boots and ice axe.  Fortunately it didn't get stuck in anyone's head.  One of the most amusing moments was when one of the tiny children asked if we took any animals on the journey. I shared that many, many animals made a one way journey up the glacier which generated a lot of snickering from the adults in the room and quite a disconsolate affect from the grade schoolers.

As I departed the building an hour later I felt the tug of my shirt and there stood a freckle faced little boy.  He said,  "I know what happened to those goats,"   I didn't want to respond.   In front of all his peers he shouts,  "You all ate em, didn't you!"

Don't eat your goats this week.  You may need them to tote something back down.  That's what I'm telling Mike and Bill anyway.