Sunday, January 21, 2007

On the plus side, I didn't need my avalanche kit

Mt. Washington was insanely cold, even for Mt. Washington: -70 with wind chill. The wind was 100 mph with 135 mph gusts. I made it as far as Harvard Cabin, which involved slugging uphill for 1 1/2 hours wearing a 5 lb boot on each foot plus layers of high-tech winter gear. I had a 37 lb backpack on for about 100 ft until E's friend "Speedy" took it to help pick up our pace a little. It was still pretty miserable. Even when we got to the cabin to stop, I had been working so hard I started sweating, which was BAD because then I was wet and then I got cold and started shivering. It took me another hour sitting in front of the fire in the cabin with 2 layers of down coats on to get warm. Brutal.
So, all was not well. E and his friend went climbing further and picked me up on their way back. I made it back down and felt better after the Chinese buffet and a couple of margaritas.
Sunday we set out to go climbing again, but I bailed at the last minute and spent the day reading "Dating Dead Men." Coincidentally, E is being exceptionally nice to me.


Dodi said...

-70 with wind chill does not sound like adventure. It sounds like pain.

Is he being nice because he put you through hell the first day or because you thoughtful bailed out the second day?

I keep thinking I'll come up and have an adventure with you guys when I'm fit enough. Then you do something crazy like this and I'm glad to stay safely in Illinois.

Trackrick said...

I assumed he was being nice because of the book title. Perhaps afraid it's an instructional manual.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Mt Washington in the middle of winter. The place that Eric describes as the most brutal weather in the world. Where people DIE of exposure and of getting lost in blizzards in August. It was cold was it? I'm in shock.

Perhaps next you can try the Sahara in July. Do a fact-finding trip. Send the results to the meteorological societies as they probably lack for info because the last researchers they sent there are dried husks buried under shifting sand dunes, their notes spontaneously combusted into grey ask in the furnace heat of the blazing sun.

Remember: Eric is only happy when he's straining against the envelope. He's also had years and years to develop the mental and physical stanima to get him right to the edge, where the fragile grip of life gives way to the brittle touch of death. -70? Howling winds? I doubt he saw it that way;

What he saw was a dark, hooded figure looming on the ice wall, beckoning to him with a crooked finger, the promise of secret knowledge gained only at the terrible cost of life wagered, and this drove him mad to test his limits and he hacked his way up that wall with his Sasquatch ice picks and cratered the wall with his Ice Fang boots until he got to the summit and looked around and wondered where, in all the excitement, his babe had gone.

Why, she was nice and snuggling around a toasty fire, popping mini-egg rolls and reading about long-haired, barbarian men, with arms like tree trunks and pects like tank armor, who carry their women off to tropical paradises where the women give way to worshiping their hero, usually at their feet, where the moment is invariably captured by a passing artist forever on an easel.

VERY different views on what makes a relaxing weekend I think.

But hey, there's always the Sahara...

Karen said...

V funny Sgt Yahoo. Glad we are keeping you entertained.

I thought it was funny that the book I happened to bring with me was "Dating Dead Men." Little did I know how appropriate it would be.

I do like mini egg rolls...

Shortfuse said...

Just FYI, he wasn't wearing a hooded robe, it was a Mountain Coop 8000M parka. Oh, and he wasn't looming so much as staggering as he leaned into the wind, trying to maintain his balance. From below me on the rope, Louis-Simon cried, “Is that all he’s got? It’s barely a storm. Dark dude’s not on his ‘A’ game today, is he!” With that, death sneered at us, spun around and stormed off down the valley to burry some climbers in an avalanche. He knew he had been beaten again.

Good point about the Sahara! I’ll look into it for the next R&R leave.