The Other Akin Comment
4 years ago
... every time I hear it, the image I get in my mind is Bruce Springsteen in a Gene Autry outfit, atop his trusty steed, six-gun and guitar at his side, singing about Frankie and the lost cattle.Many chains were yanked; appropriately, the folks that Monty ended up liking best were often exactly those who pushed back hardest. To this day, more than 17 years later, I can't hear that song without laughing at the image of the Gene Autry outfit and the six shooter.
Just a short note to announce Val and I reached the summit on Oct 11, but not without difficulties. Our tent was blown away from C3 when we returned, along with most our gear (as well as our hi-alt drugs).They survived in part by using gear abandoned by another climber who had perished. Monty ended up losing parts of two fingers. Always, he would send back spectacular pictures.
The net effect was an unplanned snow cave bivy at 24,500ft, both cerebral and pulmonary edema without drugs, and frostbite on about 25 fingers and toes. But we're both back at ABC now and are fine.
It's bone-chilling cold at ABC right now, not to mention unpleasant typing with ungloved and frostbitten fingers.
Since most our gear was blown off the mountain, Cho Oyo is off. We'll be heading towards Lhasa tomorrow; pics and full details to follow shortly.
I fear being put in the position to make a life or death decision on a fallen climber. Will the hypoxia or summit fever cloud my judgment? To what extent will I risk my life to save someone who I believe is almost, or guaranteed to soon be dead? What if that person is me? What if it’s Val? Those thoughts haunt me.Everest turned in to disaster for Monty when, on the day he was to summit, a severe uncontrolled nosebleed nearly took his life; instead, he needed a military helicopter to get him out alive. Was Monty disappointed? Sure. How did he show it? Well, this is part of what he wrote:
Lastly, I'm worried for Margaret, Allie and Amy. What IF I don’t come back? Is taking greater risk in my life worth possibly taking their husband and father away?
Wow. WOW! A helicopter ride from the upper Khumbu to Kathmandu is NOT TO BE MISSED. It didn’t quite make the whole ordeal worth it, but it sure was cool!Monty might not always have "succeeded," but he never did anything less than 100%. This extended to how he treated others. If I ran a piddly little survey, I could count on Monty's full response, full of quotables. When Aaron and I started bike riding annually for the American Diabetes Association, Monty not only made the largest contribution, he made sure to send extra words of encouragment to my 8-year old son, whom he had never met. When my old Pentium II computer started reaching its limit, he sent my tech tricks to improve FSB speed, and then, for good measure, sent me a prototype P3 motherboard that he still had. And when I asked some friends if they had any Led Zeppelin snippets I could use to help a nephew who was learning guitar, he sent me the first 4 Led Zep albums. These acts were altogether typical.
Matt, Matt, Matt...Then he added:
Oh, that's a slippery slope. Sure, you start with the small ones, but soon you're attracted to bigger and harder rocks. Then you take it outside, but even the thrills you get there aren't enough any more - you want to get higher!
You find there are people everywhere willing to supply your thrills. The rocks just keep getting bigger, and you're dragged down into a seamy subculture of rock users and are talking about cleaning the second pitch, and whether you should re-tie your nuts.
And soon enough, the local thrills don't cut it anymore - you're looking to travel and find yourself in rock hangouts like Red Rocks, Joshua, or coming back to Oregon to redpoint that overhanging 5.10 at Smith Rock.
Sure, it all feels fine now and you think you can control it - but the rocks keep calling you back.
I had a similar weekend, but on the real thing. I led climbs of Mt Washington and Three Finger Jack here in Oregon. Washington had about 300' of climbing to reach the summit pinnacle, but none of it more technical than what you're doing in that picture.If I ever made it back to Portland, we were going to be climbing rocks.
Sorry for the long silence – just got out of the hospital. Had a little choking incident that turned out pretty bad.A few hours later, his customary large donation to our diabetes ride came in. All seemed well... yet... "a little choking incident"?? and, "turned out pretty bad"?? This, from the person who declared himself "fine" after nearly dying on Shishapangma? It took me two reads even to figure out he was talking about himself, but even with a hundred reads I'm afraid I wouldn't have figured out his reference. For all his devotion to what life had to offer, both for himself and particularly for others, he no longer wished to live his own life. The "little choking incident" was by his own hand, and "turned out pretty bad" was that he had almost succeeded in killing himself -- and would have, had Margaret and paramedics not saved him. Yet, once he got through telling me about his little incident, what he wanted to know was, how he could help.
What recommendations are you looking at?