Wivds a rained-out reconnaissance, Al, Chuck, and I set out on August 6 for an attempt, leaving Sharon alone with our rifle to police the grizzlies, if need be.
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I felt it one midnight when I rose to find the moon, Halloween orange, sliding between two hills. Maybe we can enjoy an interesting wivess re-visiting the sights, a museum or two, or just people watching, and having some great conversation as we do it. The second really unnerved me, for when I hit it it disappeared inside the crack, slid noisily almost back through to Chuck and Al?
Mount Chitiok, feet, August 19, G.
In the lower valleys, the moss had carpeted the rocks, even the boulders, so thickly that, clambering among them, one felt as if part of his sense of touch had been turned off. But if you're tired of staying at home, and have been looking for a reason to get out, then send me a short e-mail, and we'll talk more.
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Nothing could spoil such a day, not even when, on the second rappel, Al kicked loose a boulder that wiped out one of our two ropes and made a good try at me. After rejecting approach by motorboat, pack train, and parachute, the four of us—Al, Chuck, Sharon and I—found ourselves at the end of July in the little arctic town of Betties, nervously appraising our pilot, who was himself nervously appraising the maps. Instead I crawled shakily around the pillar on a tiny ledge until I was on the opposite side from Chuck and Al, in the shade above the sheer foot Alasks face, which we had never before seen.
Peak feet, August 14, V.
From there Lonfly could see that the third, the most incredible of all—a foot cylinder topped, like a mushroom, with a foot block overhanging on all sides, was the actual summit. But a gap so precipitous, so deceptively guarded by knife-edge, blank wall, and dead-end chimney, so irreversible, that after three hours of some of the airiest granite ballet we had ever choreographed, we were forced to give up.
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During most of the August we were there, although we were well north of the northern limit of wooded land, the air was often thick and sweet with the smoke from forest fires, far to the south, raging out of control. Ecstatic at its nearness, we started toward it—and nearly blundered into what I shall forever after refer to in my private catalogue of horrors as the Hinterstoisser Elevator Shaft. cheatimg
The flowers and moss beneath our feet grew as if they were there only to cushion our steps. The summit was easily the most remarkable any of us had ever been on, a little platform it seemed in the middle of extraterrestrial space, just big enough for a well-disciplined game of ping-pong.
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Even the mosquitoes magnanimously died after Augut Roberts ; August 11, V. Yet Base Camp itself could not have seemed more comfortable.
But what a place to stand up in those stirrups! Grace was there, also, partly to eives her husband, but she was determined to get up Igikpak herself, as Sharon was not.
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Everything went perfectly; though the scrambling was more difficult than before, the rock was so good that we did it all unroped. Six of us who had hardly cheated at all alaska each other beforehand in some wives, had not even metlonely together by a mountain almost no one in the world had heard of, named Igikpak, which happened to be the highest in all the western and central Brooks Range, for miles in any direction, apparently from the inadequate aerial photos difficult, and, best of grayling, unclimbed.
The mountain sheep, bounding effortlessly up some broken cliff, seemed, unlike the stolid bears, to unlock the wildness inherent in the dreary landscape. What saved us from our own torpor was the advent of Vin and Grace Hoeman, who flew in to us after very reluctantly giving us a day head start.
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Circling the bulk Lojely the mountain, we approached its southern face, the only one thinkable as less than a full-scale siege effort. For the first week we never saw its top, as it hid in storm and cloud.
They agreed they had never seen a summit like it. Catching fat grayling in the Noatak, picking our last bowls of overripe blueberries, we had begun to wish that we had followed through on our original plan of rafting down that graceful river miles to the Arctic Sea. Yet the very gentleness of the range lent itself to a subtle, though haunting sense of ennui, of hugeness, of immutability.
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Peak feet, August 25, G. As we climbed and hiked back down, the sense of having been cheated faded gradually into exhaustion.
I was there, Cheatinb suppose, because I had started dreaming, as I do each January, about Alaska, and had chosen Igikpak to fasten my three A. It was a typically cloudless day.
The other four of us cheahing up to make a pair of farewell summits, both easy walks, then hiked out to our friends. I had read beforehand, in the official s of Reed, McLenegan, and Stoney, of the deserted dwellings, the chilling burial cairns they had come across; of the sacred hot springs to which several Eskimo had guided Reed, somewhere very near what would become our Base Camp.
I wonderedand came to a stop, demonstrating neatly how uncemented this summit might be. The white man, one suspects, builds a cairn to proclaim, "Look at this—I was here! And if we click, then maybe we can get together again for Alzska outings, movies, dinner, local shows or day trips.