Blowing Your Hair Back

Posted on: July 1, 2005


How is your winter, Alpinist folks? I've been up to a lot here in the Fitz Roy area, most of it non-mountain-climbing related: building, bouldering, guiding, and lots of mate. The time in the mountains has been full value though, and I'm celebrating life because of all that's happened. Jonny Copp, Josh Wharton and I got three meters from the tippy top of Torre Egger when the whole piece of the summit I was on gave way and sent me flying with it thirty meters to the base of the 'shroom. Jonny asked me if I was alive before bursting out laughing. Josh was awestruck, but dealt with carrying on the descent. The 'shroom lead had taken me three and a half hours. It felt like melting A4, and pretty much ended that way: twenty-eight sharp points, thirty meters, an ice-slab landing—and I walked away with a sore back. I coulda spit on the son-of-a-bitch's tippy top from where the fifteen-foot-high, six-foot-wide flute of rime crumpled beneath me.... All this after a cold open bivy and some serious choss climbing for the previous thirty-six hours and a way-wild lead through an overhanging bombay tube that had me literally so claustrophobically scared I had to stop mid-overhang, feet dangling free below the tube with my body wedged in and arms flailing above, and breathe ten deep breaths to relax and wash away the irrational fear that I was soon to become a permanent ornament in the overhanging part of Egger's summit mushroom....

All in all it was the most climactic nonsummit I could ask for, and this week I'm just really appreciating life. Friends, health, the colors in the sky.... The experience was simply a vivid reminder that all is good and mundane and seemingly going your way until suddenly it is not, and then luck or the lack thereof steers our inevitable destiny. Guess it just wasn't my day, so I am taking my winnings to go live fully through a few more, and trying hard to remind myself to keep it nonmundane and dynamic, always.

Go do something wild today.

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—Bean Bowers, Bozeman, Montana

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