Oh dear, this area is quite possibly the most beautiful place I've ever been to on planet Earth, also maybe the most uninhabitable. Even walking out is a complete joke. This area receives lots of precipitation. Countless granite peaks and walls dripping with moisture. It feels and looks gothic. Mid evil, dead, iron like with castles and druidic sorts of things. Yet even with this mask of unapproachability I can still honestly say that it's another place on this planet Earth, that wraps itself around me. Another place my wide eyes have seen and another experience where my humble silence has found itself standing still. It's as if the stillness I speak of is the environment itself, as if completing a circle. Where with my breathe I'm just a conduit benefiting from itself, realizing itself, from myself realizing myself. To a place where it simply just is. Another place my lungs fill with clean pure air. These Earthly places leave such a wondrous residue that sticks forever. It creates and I see, I am ah. But I will not return.
My "partners" had taken a tent to themselves out there on the Shadows glacier, which was in all clean things a good circumstance. No way was I gonna crash in a tent with either one of those climber dirt bags! There was one of us who is a complete veteran in the mountains, he seems to have given up on hygiene altogether in the hills. Can't blame him, I'm just not there yet, maybe never. You see I have gathered that climbing in far away places that are high and deep into the mountains is about alot of tent time. Yes some climbing time here and there, but then nylon time. I don't mind tent time, for rest days and blue bird weather is an agreeable combination. But being rested, gun-ho, and weathered in when it comes to the 5th or 6th day can be a torturous living hell. It's then that you realize that some control over the mental faculty is in order. So it began. I'm sure like many before, I started to create my future on the 4th day in the nylon cave. I wrote it down on paper as it came, I had nothing better to do. Bonus is that it felt like the right thing to do, thus breaks from hell were gaining momentum. I'm kind of out there by most Western respects. Day 1-4 was observing the mind, day 5 and on was taming it. I would stop feeding it, until it submitted. Then I told it what I wanted and it would follow. And when it was a brat again, I would stop feeding it, until once again it submitted. It ate what I gave it. I began to live what I wanted.
The climbing on Kichatna peak was good, possibly the first alpine style ascent of the peak. we managed to bag the summit in a round trip time of 30+ hours with no stove, no bivy gear, and no connection to the outside world. Just steadfast perpetual sleepless movement. I admit I feel I wasn't much of a help to the team. I was totally into the ideal until about ten hours later from the pistol shot start from the airplane landing. Blue bird weather isn't to be taken lightly in the Kichatnas. All of a sudden I felt REALLY sick. I've never felt like that before. Sick from what I think was unknown presumed doom. I think, so I'm not quite sure. I had never been so far out before. It's illuminating to say the least, seeing that I've survived some really strung out shit before. This place scared the hell out of me, and I didn't even know it when I was the effect - it's like the the creepers of being scared. In being retrospective and a tad bit auspicious, Maybe this is why.
After the climb we were fully exhausted and chilling out in the sun at the base of the mountain. At this point we were feeling happy to have made it through. All and all the climbing was easy technically at V/VI 5.8/9 A2 with some steep ice/snow here and there. But you know how it is, after 25+ hours that easy stuff is easy to make a mistake on... The veteran had worried at the summit, a **cking precarious little perch and of course we had to stand upon it! Back to the chilling out in the sun tangent. I had thrown off my wet cloths and had layed myself in the sun for about ten minutes. I then got up to grab one of my boots a little ways off and low and behold I slipped and out of nowhere and I fell into a crevasse. We thought we where on a rock outcropping/island but under us were crevasses. We had NO CLUE, not even the "veteran". I slid in on my back and legnth wise with the crack, like so |(me) ----> |(crack). About three feet in free fall (check this out), my arms and bare feet shot straight out, like crucifixion in mid **cking air. I had stopped my self in free fall! Kung fu, instinct speed ching style. My hands and feet shot into the walls of the crevasse and hung on little ice ledges of salvation. Keep in mind now my hands and feet were bare and all I was wearing were long underwear. So there I was, only feet and hands touching the crevasse's ice walls, under me god knows was way way way deep death, as the test stones proved later. We couldn't even hear them hit the bottom. If I fell I would be dead, I know it! Either from the fall or from no escape and being unconscious from the fall - dead. No attached rope, harness, or gear. I asked my partners to throw me a rope and I very quickly grabbed the rope and they dragged me out. You should have seen their faces when they peered over that edge to see if I was there or not. It was a mixture of relief, complete shock, and dare I say complete ah. I will remember that event as the clearest and most instant example of animal instinct power survival I have ever unconsciously brought out of myself. It is as if I had become faster than the moment itself, where the moment was a wave and I unconsciously was not only surfing that wave but was anticipating it's actions. I was the moment, and point blank, chose life.
Truth be told, I'm fairly okay with death. I've come to understand it through my family members and close friends and climbing buddies passing away or being killed, slightly touching it directly, and through life's spiritual lessons. For the love of god, my father even died on my birthday. I like to know that I understand death a little bit more than most. What brings me to a clear point is this. There exists under all this human conditioning a pure primal survival instinct. It dictates that no matter how much I'm spiritually okay with death, it's involvement is and has been the final deciding factor to my existence, during many of my moments on planet Earth. There's also this illusion of taming this instinct. Others know it, and have consciously divided it into other recognizable mental channels, so as to be applicable to some degree of effect. So I trust the instinct, once instinct seems to falter, then it MUST be time to go. It's that pure, it's that easy. I feel like I have graduated from something after the Kichatnas trip, who knows what though. I'm just not vain enough to call it something, I am vain enough to say that though - sigh.
The date today is 03/11/11, I'm once again reminded how this trip has adjusted my dream appropriately. I'm still living what I created in that tent, and it's very good. Thanks for reading and I wish you well.