I recently finished reading "The Climb" by Anatoli Booukreev and G. Weston DeWalt. It was written in response to "Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer about the 1996 Everest expedition where 8 people died, including the famous guides Rob Hall and Scott Fisher. John Krakauer was quite critical of Anatoli in his book and it was nice to read another point of view. It was so heartbreaking to read about the strength and heroism of Anatoli, yet to know in the back of my mind that he perished in an avalanche on Annapurna on Christmas day a year and a half after the infamous Everest tragedy.
One paragraph in the book really caught my eye. Anatoli was talking about what a strong client base the Mountain Madness team had and he described Charlotte Fox:
"Charlotte Fox, thirty-nine, and Aspen resident ... was a highly qualified find for the Mountain Madness expedition. She had summited two 8,000ers [meters] in her climbing career and had climbed all fifty-four of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. Unassuming and secure, she was a team player, and Fisher regarded her as a true asset, somebody who could perform with a minimum of maintenance. She knew how to take care of herself in the mountains."
This struck me because this could easily be my resume by the time I am 39, or even earlier. I identified with her (BTW she lived, but it was close) and it sort of hit home that I have considerable experience in the mountains. Troy always says that I am too modest about my climbing history, that he has to brag for me (and he's not much of a bragger, well not really much of a talker either). Reading this book brought out a flood of feelings in me about my own mountaineering experiences, especially my trip to Peru in 2001 with my dad. I am slowly coming to realize that I have done (and continue to do) some amazing things in my life. My love for the outdoors (fostered by my parents) is so strong. I am so lucky that my parents felt the need to foster and fund my outdoor trips growing up, they have such a sense of adventure and I am glad I inherited it! I had a conversation with Annabelle while on a hike last week about what I hoped I could pass down to her. I hope that my love of the outdoors will rub off on her and that she will find as much solace, and reward in the outdoors as I have.
I highly recommend "The Climb" to anyone who has read "Into Thin Air". It's the other, less draumatic/theatrical version. And most likely, much more accurate, being that Krakauer was "being rescued" and Anatoli was "doing the rescuing".