Thursday, 3 January 2008
Dying in the mountains
I am pleased someone as experienced as Gollum responded to my brief comments about the sad death of Anton Wopereis on Mount Cook. Gollum you too have climbed penniless in the Southern Alps and stayed at White Horse Hill. I remember big Dave White with his long flowing locks, staying at Wynn Irwin Hut with his cello, with music wafting out over the east face of Sefton, those nights you mention in the tavern bar and all of us being stunned when Pete Gough and and John Glasgow did the first ascent of the Caroline face of Cook. Thanks Gollum for your delightful response.
The consolation is always that those dying in the mountains at least get to die in a place that they love - doing what they love. That gives meaning to their lives.
I spent a lot of my younger days in the Southern Alps and have also lost a few friends, including Chris Jillet who you mentioned a few blogs back. Now that I live in South-East Asia chained to the corporate treadmill I often think back to those days when we were penniless, hanging out in the shelter at White Horse Hill and getting pissed at the old Tavern Bar(now long gone).
I visited Mt Cook a few weeks ago for the first time in 20 years. We had beautiful cloudless days. Took a chopper flight to give the kids a look at the hills and the feel of the snow. The village is pretty sterile now but the hills are still awesome. Makes me dream of retirement - just gotta knock over the mortgage, pay for the kids' education, save some retirement funds and get off the treadmill.
Dying in the mountains doesn't seem so bad from a distance. UNQUOTE