Postcards from the Ledge: Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child
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Selections of the best writing from elite mountaineer Greg Child.
him—solid 5.11—and climbed up a shallow corner paved with crystals to get to a foot ledge and an anchor. Resting there, we watched the ropes swing below us in the afternoon breeze. Swallows chattered and flitted through the air. The boat people fired up their engines and headed off. The sea was a crazy shade of green, woven into changing patterns by the incoming tide. The water eddying around the towers reminded me of glaciers flowing around mountains. The boat below was our base camp. Above
till they bleed; then overhanging cracks take us on a six-pitch ride. In the afternoon, as Greg climbs around a small roof and launches up a groove, a cloud appears out of nowhere and spills a deluge of graupel onto Steve and me. Snow pellets bounce down the wall like white ball bearings. When we reach Greg, he’s standing on a small ledge, graupel lining the folds of his clothing. We pad out the ledge with ropes and a haulbag and rig the two-man tent to hang half-on, half-off the ledge. Packed
like oil and water. I understood then that the three of us would never climb the wall, because we were of utterly different chemistries and had wildly different reasons for climbing. In any case, the Denz option won out. The next day, Hatten belayed while Denz bathooked at the speed of continental drift. He drilled lots of holes to get through that forty feet of steep rock. Two comments that drifted down from the wall that day epitomized the relationship between my partners: “Put a rivet in, you
Hallucinated,” stated that two Americans had found her crawling down Everest, hallucinating. The story proposed that she was so intoxicated by oxygen deprivation that she had imagined the south summit was the main one. (In fact, while descending on October 15, Bradey did meet two Americans: John Petroske and Steve Ruoss of Seattle. Petroske still recalls the meeting: “She had cracked goggles and mismatched mittens, and she looked tired,” he told me in 1994, “but she seemed no more wasted than the
route sported the tony price tag of $65,000. Everesting has always been a separate sport from the rest of climbing. For a certain breed of climber, it is the only mountain they’ll ever try, and they’ll pay big bucks for the big tick. To quote David Breashears, who has climbed Everest several times and recently made an IMAX film of an ascent, “Everest is the ultimate feather in the pseudomountaineer’s cap.” “Doing Everest” became possible for people with disposable income in the 1990s, when a