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Blowing Your Hair Back

How is your winter, Alpinist folks? I’ve been up to a lot here in the
Fitz Roy area, most of it non-mountain-climbing related: building,
bouldering, guiding, and lots of mate. The time in the mountains
has been full value though, and I’m celebrating life because of all
that’s happened. Jonny Copp, Josh Wharton and I got three meters from
the tippy top of Torre Egger when the whole piece of the summit I was on
gave way and sent me flying with it thirty meters to the base of the
‘shroom. Jonny asked me if I was alive before bursting out laughing.
Josh was awestruck, but dealt with carrying on the descent. The ‘shroom
lead had taken me three and a half hours. It felt like melting A4, and
pretty much ended that way: twenty-eight sharp points, thirty meters, an
ice-slab landing–and I walked away with a sore back. I coulda spit on
the son-of-a-bitch’s tippy top from where the fifteen-foot-high,
six-foot-wide flute of rime crumpled beneath me…. All this after a
cold open bivy and some serious choss climbing for the previous
thirty-six hours and a way-wild lead through an overhanging bombay tube
that had me literally so claustrophobically scared I had to stop
mid-overhang, feet dangling free below the tube with my body wedged in
and arms flailing above, and breathe ten deep breaths to relax and wash
away the irrational fear that I was soon to become a permanent ornament
in the overhanging part of Egger’s summit mushroom….

All in all it was the most climactic nonsummit I could ask for, and this
week I’m just really appreciating life. Friends, health, the colors in
the sky…. The experience was simply a vivid reminder that all is good
and mundane and seemingly going your way until suddenly it is not, and
then luck or the lack thereof steers our inevitable destiny. Guess it
just wasn’t my day, so I am taking my winnings to go live fully through
a few more, and trying hard to remind myself to keep it nonmundane and
dynamic, always.

Go do something wild today.

–Bean Bowers, Bozeman, Montana