(from June 2, 2011)

The crappy weather and glacial conditions leave plenty of time for reflection and excellent time with newfound friends.  We’re chilling like villains in the heart of the lower Kahiltna.  I promised myself a long time ago that I would rally against the concept of being jaded, and found myself thinking about ego, humility and opportunity.  A few reminders for myself:

  • My confidence is more effective that the doubt of those who challenge me.
  • My joy is more powerful that the anger of those who hate.
  • My creativity is more attractive than the certainty of the pessimists that taunt me.
  • My humility is more energizing than the ego of those that goad me.
  • My flexibility is stronger that the rigid beliefs of those that shirk the required hard work.

All of us are smarter than one of us.  All of us together are greater than one of us alone.

The last good look at Mt. Hunter for many days.

“The Size Thing” chapter of “The Ecology of Commerce” by Paul Hawken hit me really hard, and reminds me that “Small is Beautiful” is another important book to include on the reading list.  It concludes with a powerful statement:

“An ethic is not an ethic, and a value not a value, with out some sacrifice for it, something given up, something not taken, something not gained.  We do it (ethic, value) for a greater good, for something worth more than just money and power and position.” – Jerry Kohlberg

At the same time, we’ve had a lot of fun in the bad weather.  Tonight the tent was full of good food, bad whiskey, friendly faces, and homemade fudge from my NOLS recipe.  Good serious conversation, good silly conversation, and a staunch optimism that we would all eventually get home.  We haven’t seen a plane in a few days, but most folks are just staying relaxed.

We kill time in heavy weather looking at mechanical advantage systems for rescue situations.

Our patrol (JP, me, and Chris), Kevin’s patrol (Kevin, Tony, Mark, Mik, and Andy), plus two badass Swedish skiers (Andreas and Magnus), and two strong Icelanders (Robert and Gummi) piled into the tent to swap stories and kill time.  The Scandanavians inspire me to keep looking outward with my climbing as a vehicle not only for stripping away baggage, but embracing new parts of the world while being far from home.

Party night at the ranger basecamp. The Icelander boys are in the huge matching down suits.

Mark and Mik guide for Outward Bound, and encouraged me to continue considering serving as an outdoor education instructor.  It’s definitely another idea under my skin, and getting to be a part of this internationally climbing community feels like a fresh wind compared to the stale challenges awaiting me in a cubicle.  Important feelings to consider.

After official hours only...

A few of the 70+ people still waiting for weather good enough to fly home in.

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