Showing posts from March, 2013

High on Wilson

Look up on Wilson. No, not all the way up to the pale quartzite towers on the summit ridge, which always make me think of Minas Morgul , the city of wraiths. No, just halfway up the mountain. There, guarded by a first tier of cliffs that turn back all but the most obsessed, all manner of enticing curtains and daggers drape over a second tier. This past winter (and as I write this it's been officially spring already for more than a week), I had an especially hard time tearing my eyes away the bounty of frozen water up there, like a thirsty astronaut on a cold dry moon. Back home, while outwardly engaged in everyday tasks, I'd fantasize about the steep ice and the even steeper rock. What made the prospect even more enticing was that just about every one of the daggers lay in a giant avalanche gully. Where's the adventure if you can go someplace anytime you feel like it? No, the faraway ice on Wilson had to be saved for a special occasion, and then savoured like a fine Scotch

The God Delusion

Familiarity breeds contempt. I found that out last season, when I got nearly taken out by an avalanche at the base of Man Yoga. After more visits to the Headwall than I could count, I'd forgotten the place still had a few tricks up its sleeve. Ancient Greeks had a word for this kind of thing: hubris (closely followed by nemesis). Familiarity also breeds familiarity. On my first few times to the Headwall I had eyes only for the obvious lines: Nemesis, Suffer Machine, French Reality... But as I returned time and again, I started noticing the subtle details between the bold strokes: ephemeral, discontinuous drips, like dotted lines hinting at what might - just might - be possible. To the right of Suffer Machine two giant arches rise one above the other, like the eyebrows of some space alien. Each time I'd ski up the valley I'd glance up and briefly fantasize about climbing through them, before turning away and heading toward more reasonable prospects. And so one season fol