The Climbing Life

Posted on: May 9, 2016

[Photo] Alex Buisse

The March of Folly

"I'm so glad to see you boys," Lee Sorenson shouted as he ran across the campsite toward us, his bearded face beaming with love and relief. His oldest son, Tobin, and I were a full day and a night overdue. It was March 1975, and we'd just made the second ascent of the Valley's first major ice climb, Upper Sentinel Falls. Tobin and I were ready to account for our delay with a tale of blunders, privation and forced marches, but Lee didn't wait around to hear it. No embrace, not even a handshake. He continued past us, jumped in his car and yelled over his shoulder, "I have to go tell the rangers." The door slammed, and the car tore off.

Our story would wait until later—when we were staggered to learn how lucky we were to have made it back at all.

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