I don't know why I took the photo. It was three men just passing time. The picture said nothing of the noise. The wind beat the hut walls with unrestrained ferocity. A blizzard had descended on the slopes of Otago's Mount Aspiring. We waited in Colin Todd hut for our chance at the summit.
Lying on my bunk, I reached for the camera and click, three men's lives were frozen in time. They were a mixed bunch: Anton Wopereis, a renowned New Zealand climbing guide, was studying weather charts. At a table in the middle of the hut, writing his journal, was a West Australian systems analyst, Miles Vinar. Mark his older brother, a Perth doctor, lay on his bunk, his head propped on his arm. He chided his brother for his literary conscientiousness. I had only just met them but could tell they were close. We were four people with different lives, thrown together with little to unite us but a desire to climb the peak that towered above our tiny shelter.
I look at the photo now. It's unremarkable and wouldn't mean much to anyone but the families of the three men. Unremarkable, except that two of the three are now dead. Miles Vinar is the sole survivor.