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Created On: Mar 21, 2010
Last Edited On: Jun 29, 2011


Sometimes things turn upside down, with at such times even the color going askew...


The Bitterroot's edition of El Capitan

A certain pestilence gathers, begins this way...

It is dark winter beyond these walls, and the room is quiet. No music, no TV, nothing intercedes against these frail thoughts of mortality. My hands cradle a cup of hot tea, enjoy the tactile warmth, its fragrance bringing comfort in a contentedly swirling plume; the steam mixes with random thoughts, and that is all that moves through this silent place....

Searching for the way on Clements
Cliff Lake Basin intervenes...This view of McDonald Peak is one of the reasons I climb!
My heart beats steadily, strongly, and the years have passed in a constant, happy obliviousness. Recently, however (and I am not exactly certain when this happened), those oh so familiar years with which I have had my way now loom larger than what is to come. The passage, as always, is through a landscape made almost entirely of mountains, and I think it is not being able to actually see through those mountains that has led to the (there is no other way to put it) perhaps false assumption that this wandering continues—and will happily and seductively continue to do so—to surmount summit after summit, taking me with it...forever. What has happened is that I have unexpectedly come to a disturbing place, a great open meadow where the way branches into many possibilities, one direction leading back into a gnarly, rutted, nearly impassable, and—yes!—mountainous path whose uncertain meanderings almost at once disappear from sight, while another
Gem Lake Reflections, #4.A nice mirror on Gem Lake...
leads down a gentle slope to—if this be the route chosen—the necessary crossing of a deep and swift river, on the far side of which are not mountains, but an endless plain.

Rocky Mountain Front and Bob Marshall Wilderness

And that is not all; upon further examination of this unexpected place, I see a small group of people in the meadow below, gathered near a point where many trails come together. So I do not pause, but head down into what that initial appearance has made out to be not only a welcoming openness, but at the same time something strangely perplexing, and not quite as straight-forward—as though an unseen change looms—as I would wish. But the day is pleasant, and there is, after all, nothing overtly threatening about those I am about to greet. Yet for some reason—perhaps it is the unexpected (even if it prove to be only temporary) descent from the peaks that is disconcerting—the feeling is pervasive that I must not loiter, but make my choices quickly. And for the first time in a long while it appears those choices do not all lead back into the mountains.

Glacier National Park Trifecta...


View from Medicine Grizzly summit (L); then, as seen from Amphitheater Mountain, Mt. James in a garbled landscape (R)

A great deal of time has passed, and now, at this writing sleep does not come easily, and what there is of it is a difficult thing. I have made choices, struggled to continue the promise of past years, but despite my best efforts dreams no longer dance lightly on the shoulders of great mountains, having—rather—traded places with monstrous gleanings borne all too effortlessly on waves of misshapen light. I toss and turn in a new realization of the way things are—these nights are interminable and awful! What has been lost is that years and years ago (in a childhood now considered to be ancient), with wonderful imagination I understood myself to be magnificent:

The essence of the mountains is not always the peaks...

Know this, that I am always the hero, the one overcoming great obstacles to perform wondrous feats. I live on those childish heights from which vantage point all is seen and understood, and in the process of that seeing transforms a practically infinite experience into extraordinary deeds and the acceptance of great adulation. Always, in the quick darkness of my mind—it seems not immodest to say this—I am even more than hero; in all my indestructable glory, I am the hero. During these first grand years of life the world is mine.

...although sometimes that is exactly where it is...

Rocky MountainOn this climb, inspiration begins at the trail head...
Warren Peak, from Porter...Warren Peak (Anaconda Range)
But time, of course, takes care of its own, and after a while it happened that no choice was given but to abandon that wonderful childhood creation for a life belonging not to me, but existing in another world entirely. With the passage of years I entered a strange and different place, running full with circumstances over which I had no control. Through the simple act of the accumulation of time I had come to live in a world quite outside my own making, one giving no choice but to make of it as best I could. This happenstance is certainly not unique with me, and so it is the next speaking comes miles and miles, and many years along the road:

Know this, too, that at this precise moment, my back pressed defiantly against a great wall, vision scans the distant peaks and it is that jagged horizon brings a sense of finality. Magnificence comes closer, the shining mountains dance, sing, until in one fell blow reality effortlessly wipes away the detritus of dreams...the presence of imaginary things is shattered—if only I could shed myself of this nightmare! Childish vision—and (I must admit) more: even the fevered competence of early adulthood—is long gone, its passing leaving monumental deeds lying forlorn and abandoned, lost in the unyielding touch of reality. You see, what it is...is simply that fate has spoken, and with the absence of that magical elfin embrace from a time now far distant I am no longer great, not even in my own eyes. There is nothing whatsoever left within me of Shakespeare, Mozart, Picasso; I am not a great statesman, or a personage of importance; rather, I flail at windmills and (of all things!) am discovered to be mortal. This trip through life insists it be so.

From an uncommon view of Great Northern Mountain (L), to the three summits of Gunsight Mountain (and Sperry Glacier) (R).

Unnamed (!), up the Big Creek DrainageAn unnamed Bitterroot beauty...
Bearhat MountainBearhat Mountain.
Mortality!—Intimations of which should have been presented dramatically, such as while clinging to a high narrow ledge in a raging wind, or been made real on a sparse summit battered by lightning, or in the light of a setting sun revealing far too many uncertain miles yet to go. Or even better would have been what is seen in the oncoming face of a grizzly defending her cubs from my horripilating presence. At the least I should have liked to be presented with an honorable cause, but this...this blinding mortality of mine is the stuff of nonsense; why, it doesn't even have any mountains about it...

...which has not, of course, always been the case, for there have been many high places along the way. These blissfully unaware steps have yielded many summits! And now I pause in this recounting, while memory makes the attempt to follow—not all of them, but some—through a quite jagged timeline...


Split Mountain fronts a quintessential Glacier National Park landscape.

Vern Garner and MA begin...Knife Edge, the thrilling access to Capitol Peak
Typical GNP terrain...Not uncommon GNP climbing terrain
...I remember Capitol Peak, and how much it meant conquering that bit of Colorado greatness (the Knife Edge was, after all, not beyond our reach; at the time that knowledge was important)...I remember the one-in-a-million caressing day atop La Plata Peak (so rare it inspired climbing partners Aaron and Mike to take a two-hour(!) nap on the summit)...and the wild joys of disparate peaks Tijeras and Powell, and discovering that climbing life really and truly existed (quite nicely) at elevations less than the obligatory Colorado cut-off level...and besides Powell, doing
A good illustration of the...Slabs on Holland Peak
almost-neighbor Mount of the Holy Cross, and somewhat strangely, both times having rare bad days summiting a memorable mountain...and after such as Wetterhorn, Sneffels,
Peak 8541 and Clouds...Cloud drama helps save a failed climb...
Uncompahgre, Matterhorn, Handies, Courthouse, the Wheeler Geological Area, Redcloud, Sunshine, Cirque Mountain, New Years eve in Silverton, the Fourth of July in Ouray, the Durango-Silverton ride into the Weminuche, all those magnificent jeeping treks, well, memory asks, is it possible—really—to have a bad day in the San Juan?...and if the cloudburst further north, during the Mount Yale descent, doesn't qualify as "bad," (although not necessarily, to my mind, a bad day) I'd not like to encounter the real thing...and climbing Huron (definitely one of my lesser outings, although damned memory still lays claim to it being a nice day!), only it wasn't Huron, but—who knows? Certainly not I, the silly thing summited is not even named! This faux pas now surmounting my own personal triumph of embarassment (but give me credit, I bravely, unrepentedly, went back to get the real Huron another year)...the lightning-propelled "Noodle-Knees Express" descent of Elbert, the (wonderful) scree descents of Massive and Handies...Mark and I sharing the top of Snowmass (no snow fields like that until here in the Northern Rockies)...the goosebumps while descending Columbia, brought on by a flock of invisible coyotes yapping and yowling, their cries touching a part of me that (I know no other explanation) has been passed down from ancient peoples sitting in front of caves (and I never did see the critters, yet the forest was alive with their echoing, penetrating song)...remembering, always remembering, grand memories of a great time, years and years of sharing the best of life with the best of friends...

[Images will enlarge if clicked.]

...on the move from Colorado, and I recount Mount Whitney, and what a wonderful thing, even though the trail was not difficult, to stand on the highest spot in the Continental U.S. (and—at the time—it was good to say that if the loftiest summit did not reside in Colorado, at least it had the decency to be a nice mountain)...then, miles and miles east, and lower (and this is more years later than I care to recall—or can), a short-lived summit visit (that wind was cold!) on Idaho's Ogre...and at last, this peripatetic climber (finally!) succumbs to an initial (and much anticipated) venture into North Cascades National Park, with resplendant summit views courtesy Corteo Peak...and then it all comes down to the great valleys and ranges of glacially carved Montana (or, since it is where I live: Western Montana)...

Mount Henkel, tarn, reflection (L); Nice light on The Guardhouse and Porcupine Ridge (R).

Old Baldy, Bob Marshall WildernessOld Baldy fronts "The Bob"
Glacier Peak & Unnamed 9328.Glacier Peak & Unnamed 9328
...and memory flows easily so very easily into this geological, geographical paradise by way of two climbs up East Saint Marys Peak, my initial, mesmerizing, addictive introduction to a range we call the Missions...then to the triple transcendences of North Trapper (not so well known, but altogether a finer mountain to climb than big brother Trapper Peak), three successful forays up Gray Wolf (possibly—if there is such a thing—my favorite mountain), and McDonald Peaks (McDonald being the location for a memorable, potentially dangerous situation,
Sugarloaf PeakSugarloaf Peak (Bitterroots)
resulting in an unplanned-for overnight bivouc), the three just-named residing in the granitic Bitterroots and sedimentary Missions (how appropriate that the Missions were once proposed for National Park status!)...and before leaving (regretfully) these two masterful ranges, other images from the Bitterroots come to mind; first, the stunning summit view from Ward Mountain, and then a very nice day on another, not so well known mountain, Eagle Cliff...but memory is not (of course) all fond recall; there is regretful musing at only one venture into the Missions'
View of Mission RangeWestern Montana landscape
next-door-neighbor Swan Range (western border of the magnificent Bob Marshall Wilderness), but what a treat that that solitary venture was to climb its monarch, Holland Peak...and returning a couple years later for two summits on the Rocky Mountain Front, the opposite (eastern) edge of "The Bob"...there is also regret at only one incursion into the relatively nearby Anaconda Range, but, as with the short shrift given the Swans, it is at least a bittersweet marking, as Warren Peak is a long day through wonderful country, and well worth the effort!...then heading north for a solo success up many local's non-GNP favorite, graceful and wonderful Great Northern Mountain (snuggled in yet another wilderness, this one called the Great Bear)...until—finally!—irrevocably, undeniably, memory pulls me further north, to an area unforgettable, perhaps unmatchable...

Two Medicine Windy Morning (L); Stoney Indian Peaks, Mount Cleveland (R)

Bob says it for all of us...Bob says it all for us...
Ptarmigan Tunnel to Ahern Pass Goat Trail, #3Ptarmigan Tunnel to Ahern Pass Goat Trail
...and into a great failed endeavor on (the great) Mount Cleveland (another—if there is such a thing—qualifier for favorite mountain)...then in a moment of camera carelessness, losing all the summit photos from Mount Rockwell (and what a memorable and memorably difficult 16-hour day
Mount Kipp; Sue Lake...Mount Kipp; Sue Lake, from Stoney Indian Pass
that was!)...but smiles come from the decidedly not-failed trek over
Gunsight Mountain - Sperry GlacierGunsight Mountain, Sperry Glacier
the Ptarmigan Tunnel to Ahern Pass Goat Trail (then up to Iceberg Notch, down the other side to Iceberg Lake, and it was and is probably the best mountaineering day in all history!)...the camaraderie on Sinopah Mountain,
Mount Rockwell, fronting a magnificent landscapeMount Rockwell, fronting a magnificent landscape
then coming back another year for neighboring Rising Wolf (with blisters making that the single most difficult success of my climbing life), and returning yet another year for its neighbor, Flinsch Peak...and in an earlier time it had all begun (unforgettably so!) with even more camaraderie (that word is used a lot by us climbers) on Mount Henkel and Crowfeet Mountain...and oh yes, of course, the legendary North Face Traverse to scale Reynolds Mountain...and a solo day, over 22 miles up and back to conquer Grizzly Mountain (a word to savor here: summit view, summit view, summit view!), and the challenging (another solo effort, and as much as I would—or should—ever do sans ropes) 600' cliff ascent to scale the almost vertical east flank of really unique Triple Divide Peak...and sort of getting lost in too many cliffs on the way down Mount Gould (and oh my goodness that late afternoon sun was hot!)...speaking of hot brings to mind an ascent of Stanton Mountain with Mike, on the day GNP officially recorded the highest temperature in its history, and our smarts in turning back at that summit, and not continuing on our planned double-summiting day of also doing neighboring Mount Vaught (we'd have probably killed ourselves!)...then hiking alone, and remembering the close bear encounter on the way to Grinnell Glacier (nose to nose on the trail is indeed
View from Clements MountainView north, from Clements Mountain
different, leading to the observation that it is difficult to maintain dignity when your hair is standing straight up)...and it comes to me that I needs must mention two successes on neighboring peaks, the first a fun (yet again) solo assay up Mount Cannon (with its special-even-for-GNP summit views—although that sort of statement, in this part of the world, is almost redundant), and because I have not yet brought them into this recounting, but they are so very, very important in my mountaineering life, a thoroughly enjoyable day with the Glacier Mountaineering Society doing Mount Clements—and believe me when I say this is a token presentation—there have been many such outings: for example...Medicine Grizzly comes to mind, as does Bullhead Point, and Kupunkamint, and Amphitheater, Grinnell, Altyn, Tinkham, Spot, Point St. Charles, Cameahwait, Columbia, and Waterton National Park's Alderson, Carthew, and Buchanan, then back in the U.S. to Old Baldy, and Rocky Mountain, and how wonderful there have been enough GMS days that memory fails to pull them all up at a moment's notice!)...and lastly, since memory is faulty, and but oftentimes no more than a cracked mirror of reality, I put it here (in print, which if not exactly etched in stone, is at the least, indelible and non-fading) that the last two days of this past summer were among the best, and that Heavy Runner ("congratulations, your first Glacier National Park technical peak, and you don't even get credit for it"—it should be classified as technical, but is not) and Dragons Tail would—if it comes to that—be a stunningly befitting exit (and thank you so very much, Fred).... All of this, and more. Now THAT'S memory for you...

Preparing for the final—and most thrilling—feet to the summit of Heavy Runner Mountain.

East, from Kintla PeakLooking east, from Kintla Peak
Mount Helen and points south...Mount Helen and points south
...and always, always, the reason we climb in Glacier National Park is THE VIEW. The at times spellbinding, mind blowing...almost unbelievable...VIEW. The sort of thing haunting nights (sleepless or naught it does not matter), and more!—the kind of thing enlivening days filled—full to overflowing—with memories.

And now. Dreams or no, the greatness found on mountain shoulders has passed; the hero is vanquished, and I (yes, even me!) am found to be (I wish it possible to overstate this overwhelming fact, but it is not) mortal. The reality is that there was, had never been, any choice, only I did not (of course) understand that rules were in play of which I had no knowledge, but that nevertheless gripped my being—and had always done so—in an iron embrace.

Something as timeless, immortal, and unforgettable as anything else in these mountains. (And for a real treat, enlarge image to fill the screen!)

And now...this is what happened, back in that great meadow of conjunction...


Gray Wolf PeakThe 2,000' west face of the Mission's Gray Wolf Peak

One of the Bitterroot s nicest basins...One of the Bitterroots nicest basins
Mt. DoodyMount Doody

I think I shall never forget that beautiful, effortless descent into the grip of nightmare! And how was I to know? Life called, mountains beckoned, and I, a mere waif bounding through the big, wide world, responded out of innocence—how easy it all was! So I went down...down from the heights, down through a gentle day, all the while crossing a carpet of wild, coruscating perfection; easy strides pointing the way back to peaks which, despite their lack of imminence, were still readily and easily within reach (and how soon that was to change!). A long slope, easily done, but then—unexpectedly—about half-way down, upon circumnavigating from behind a large butte, to my surprise a small village, previously hidden from sight, slid into view.

[Images will enlarge if clicked.]

This collection of buildings (for that is really all it was) appeared on no map I had seen, and as no conversation with those knowledgeable of the area had ever mentioned such, I was not only surprised, but forced to admit the uncomfortable possibility of...just maybe...being lost. Or at the least being somewhere other than where plans and anticipation would have me. And probably it was merely a trick of light, but the mountains, so within reach mere moments ago, now seemed a bit more distant, not quite so sharp in countenance. I was by now most of the way down, and since the trail before me seemed to head toward those strangely diffuse mountains, and since there were people still standing about what appeared to be a relatively large confluence of route choices, and finally, since I was by now a bit disconcerted at several things seemingly at odds with the day in general—eager to gain information, I quickly covered the remaining distance to those whom I had seen from above.

Looking south, from Dawson Pass

Approaching these fellow climbers (for so I assumed them to be), the usual greetings were exchanged, after which I stated my surprise at the presence of the nearby village, explained how I was taken aback both that the mountains appeared no longer close, but also that there was a river, with what (on the far side) ran off to the horizon being anything but mountainous, close or otherwise...and where was I, anyway? Truly, I was quite lost! At this brief, querying plea for assistance, everything changed, and was not to be the same again.

Heavy Runner Mountain in a landscape

Those gathered around remained attentive as I expressed the confusion engendered by my recent descent, did not waver that interest upon hearing my stated purpose of returning to those self-same summits, and when I had finished this reasonable (for certainly it was) request for assistance, there occurred one of those long moments of silence which exist only to draw attention to the fact that what comes next would be important. For a brief while then, uncertain silence filled the afternoon, and with distant mountains (that wasn't right!) to one side, an unexpected collection of buildings on the other...nothing about this place, this moment, was as it should be. Then, one of the group stepped forward, touched me firmly—but in all honesty, by no means roughly—on the shoulder, and pointing to the nearest building said, simply, "You must go there."

Trumpeter Swans, Moose, Wolverine, Grizzly all call this place "home."

At that, a feeling somewhat akin to desperation gripped me in its thrall, and in that brief flare of emotion making a route decision was easy. The situation seemed beyond my control, was most assuredly not of my liking, so indicating the mountains (why oh why were they so distant?), I spoke in what I hoped to be a no-nonsense voice that, no, rather than the village, I was going back to the mountains. And having said that, stepped along the trail to such. Or would have, but I found my way effectively blocked by several of those around me, their statement repeated, as was the direction to be taken, "No, you must go there." Followed, as though to drive the point home, with, "You don't have a choice." Yet strange as it may seem, I was not afraid (well, maybe that is a small exaggeration); the presence of disagreement was undeniable, but not any real indication of looming hostility; rather, the words almost seemed the mere expression of an inconsequential—but undeniable—fact, as one would make reference to a morning dew. Gathering myself, I didn't give in, once more expressing my desire for the mountains, said plea of which resulted in a response of different words, same directive, "It's not far. Go now." I stood, confused, upset, but the way was obvious, my new destination clear and bold in afternoon light, and so hesitantly, unhappily, I began the short walk. A soft voice pressed my back, "Soon you'll understand."

Edwards Mountain, Little Matterhorn (L); Peak 8542, Wahcheechee Mountain (R)

Summit view from Mount StimsonSummit view from Stimson
Flinsch PeakFlinsch Peak
Though the distance between trail head and building was not far, walking through that beautiful afternoon gave more than time enough for the gathering of mortality! A neatly carved sign had been placed so as to indicate entrance to a shaded porch, and upon reaching this sign its single word drew my attention. One solitary word, more than enough to provide entrance to a kingdom: MEDICAL. That was all, nothing more to mar the uncluttered blandness of the building now so close. Just a word. But a man sat quietly on the porch, had been watching my progress. He stood at my approach, speaking a not unfriendly greeting, "Do come in. I've been expecting you." The mountains were by now an impossible distance away, and the world became this individual, the building before me. More words came, quietly, gently, and with their delivery, in the long shade of an old afternoon it all came clear. "You have pancreatic cancer, and must come with me."

I said nothing, but climbed onto the porch, placing a chair so as to face the setting sun as it moved to enter the distant mountains. A couple hours later darkness slid slowly in front of the peaks, and they winked softly, and were gone. Only then did I make the effort to go inside and meet my new companion.


And so it is that at the end of things the dismal beast within gathers, fingers of steel closing. But I want sunshine and cliffs and flowers, and will have (I insist on this!) the joy of climbing, will have THE VIEW. And thus it is my heart beats steadily, strongly. For now, anyway. And on into the dances-on-the-shoulders-of-mountains of tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Yet (I cannot dispute this) the cup is cold against my hands, the brew within long since grown bitter, and still...harvest of a sleepless night, thoughts move through the silence.

It is only a short way now...

In Tribute

On March 1, 2011, Vernon Garner, Saintgrizzly, left us after losing a bold, inspiring fight against pancreatic cancer. Or maybe he won, for he is at last free of his pain and has "shuffle[d] off this mortal coil."

Vernon was an important contributor on SummitPost, but beyond merely making good, informative pages, he actually inspired many who read his work. No one put more work into his or her pages than Vernon did, and many of those pages, especially those related to Glacier National Park, the place he loved above all others, are works of art in both the writing and layout. More than one person has wanted to visit Glacier or go back to Glacier largely due to what he shared about that magnificent place.

Many people on SP counted Vernon among their friends, and many more saw him as one of the best, one of those who exemplified the spirit of this site. He was one of the best of us, he will be missed, and he will not be forgotten.

As a tribute to him, Vernon's pages will remain in his name.

Rest well and climb on, Vernon.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 21-40 of 59

Saintgrizzly - Mar 24, 2010 3:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wow again

Yes, it's real, and so far signs seem to be positive. It was caught early, and the doctor doesn't think it has spread. It is, however, a tough one to beat, but I'm determined to do just that. Climbing in the immediate future is a no-go (boy, does chemo ever make you weak!), but hopefully later this summer it'll be possible. Climbing goals are a huge and positive thing!

As to your last observation, about "positive influence," sometimes I think that's all any of us can hope for, and I, for one, would certainly—in a big way—rather have that, than the opposite. But right now, climbing goals are the order of the day, and are a huge thing with me....

Jerry L

Jerry L - Mar 24, 2010 7:10 pm - Voted 10/10

Hey Vernon

As a long time member of SummitPost and frequent traveler to Montana, over the years I've often spent time reading your submissions and posts, and have also enjoyed all your beautiful photos. But this submission is particularly touching to me as I'm also in the fight with cancer. It's really heart breaking for me to hear this news, although we've never met. I was just released from the hospital several days ago after a surgery that went bad, then complications, and many blood transfusions. Sounds like you're up for the fight. Maybe we'll meet one day at a cancer survivor rally, or possibly in the mountains. Wishing you all the best.


Saintgrizzly - Mar 25, 2010 12:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Hey Vernon

Ah jeez, Jerry, I'm so very sorry to hear your story! It sounds as though we've both had some long nights, and are discovering how meaningful friendships can be, and how important those friendships can be when they are REALLY needed. And how caring people can be that you don't even know! Makes you think we're not always such a bad lot after all, despite how we treat ourselves in our daily important thoughts and routines. (Or maybe I should say, "important" thoughts and routines.)

Cancer, and other life and death afflictions, do change one's perspectives. It sounds as though you've had it pretty bad, yet are still thinking mountains. And cancer survivor rallys. I'm all for that! Let me know the next time you're in Montana; it would be an honor to take you to dinner, or even better, climb one (at least!) of those peaks (or both dinner and climb!). I wish you all the best, too—hang in there, it's worth it! (And if you ever need someone to talk to, send me a PM; we'll get together via phone.)


mtnhiker13 - Mar 25, 2010 12:13 am - Voted 10/10


Vernon - you will summit this climb of your life. You are inspiring and my thoughts are with you.


Saintgrizzly - Mar 25, 2010 12:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Speechless

Thanks, Ellen. I like how you put it—I will indeed summit!

Bill Kerr

Bill Kerr - Mar 25, 2010 12:02 pm - Voted 10/10

Emotionally Tough

Vernon - Very well written article which captures the surreal emotional state that we enter when our whole world is stood on its head. The lifetime of mountain experiences and challenges will help you be strong emotionally and mentally in the coming months. Meet it head on. We are all cheering for you to beat this.



Saintgrizzly - Mar 25, 2010 12:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Emotionally Tough

Thanks, Bill, those words mean a lot! Sometimes it seems those "mountain experiences" that flash in front of my eyes nowadays (a lot) will pull me through as much as doctors and chemo....

Goals, goals, goals: mountains in my future!

And thank you very much for your support.


rpc - Mar 26, 2010 1:08 pm - Voted 10/10


don't know what else I can add to what's already been said - truly amazing writing but most importantly, we wish you a quick and definitive victory over what you're facing now! Best thoughts and wishes. Radek


Saintgrizzly - Mar 27, 2010 2:04 am - Hasn't voted

Re: amazing

You don't need to add anything, Radek. What you said is more than enough. Thank you very much....


mhimber - Mar 27, 2010 1:36 am - Voted 10/10

Keeping Things Whole

by Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ (<--the caret mountains)


sort of part james joyce part walt whitman and maybe a little kahlil gibran but all very you. the amount of work you put into writing, editing, and organizing this piece is phenomenal(not to mention all the time you put into taking, editing, and selecting the photos). thank you so much for creating and sharing this. i'm honored to have experienced some of these amazingly beautiful and wild places with you (esp n. trapper and gray wolf)and look forward to more.


"It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body." ~Marcel Proust


Saintgrizzly - Mar 27, 2010 2:08 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Keeping Things Whole

Meleah...boy, have I EVER been fortunate in my collection of friends! Once again you get to the heart of the matter...and then some. If you don't make it back out here this summer, I'm really going to be disappointed.

Thank you, my friend, so very much. (N. Trapper and Gray Wolf were indeed nice, but I remember Flinsch, as well...fondly.)


silversummit - Mar 28, 2010 1:44 pm - Voted 10/10

Always enjoyed your pictures

and now I see the special person behind them, the person who can write with his heart. Just as I was reading about your diagnosis my husband walked into the room; I literally couldn't speak. I guess I was so deep into your article!

Anyway, keep pouring out your thoughts whether you choose to share them here or not. There are many of us here rooting for you!


Saintgrizzly - Mar 29, 2010 2:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Always enjoyed your pictures

Thank you for your kind comments. It was a difficult thing to write, but the many encouraging responses have certainly made the effort worthwhile!


Saintgrizzly - Mar 29, 2010 2:08 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wishing you all the best

Thanks, Barry! I tried figuring out a way to include my failed Kit Carson attempt (blisters slowed me so much I ran out of time) in the article, but couldn't. I'd still love to return for that mountain, and here's hoping I can show you GNP some day. I very much appreciate your sentiments.


Alika - Mar 29, 2010 12:34 pm - Voted 10/10


Thank you for writing this and sharing, this article made my day. I wish you the best of luck. Your photos have inspired me (not that I needed any additional inspiration) to explore and climb in those areas, maybe I will see you out there sometime. Again, Good luck and thank you.


Saintgrizzly - Mar 29, 2010 2:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Incredible

Thanks for your comment, Alika, and I would like to point out that if you've enjoyed the photos (mine or anyone elses)—the reality is several magnitudes greater! Hope you can make it sometime; it's worth it!


Marmaduke - Mar 30, 2010 12:24 am - Voted 10/10

What words can possibly.......

do justice to what you wrote? Your words and photos are truly outstanding. Outstanding!


Saintgrizzly - Mar 31, 2010 3:03 am - Hasn't voted

Re: What words can possibly.......

Thank you very much for the sentiment! Both words and layout were difficult to come up with, and I appreciate that you took the time to read it.


Noondueler - Apr 5, 2010 8:24 pm - Voted 10/10

I can relate.

I stay fit and hike a lot but at 61 scampering up 4 or 5,000' isn't as matter of fact as it was say, at 51! Actually I don't think I've done 5 in a day for some years.
Excellent writing! You should find a publisher. Or maybe put out your own book of this stuff with the great photos to go with it.
I always remember Norman Clyde and Fred Becky when I think I'm getting to old for this. But then again like my spiritual teacher says: 'not even one moment of life is guaranteed'.


Saintgrizzly - Apr 8, 2010 12:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I can relate.

The article was a lot of work, and I appreciate your taking the time to check it out!

Clyde and Beckey, and (in this part of the country) J. Gordon Edwards, are, I think, great examples of NOT getting too old for this! Age does take away the ability to "bound" up mountains, but no matter...the peaks are still there, and certainly accessible to those of us with only faded memories of our teens and 20's.

Thanks for your comments.

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