There’s a lot of anger in this post. I had just failed on the north face of Mount Stuart with my brother, and I didn’t get out of that route what I was searching for and badly needed. The casual attitude toward death probably comes across to most as either overly dramatic prose or egotistical blustering; at the time I wrote it, it was neither. I really just didn’t care.

1838 on May 19, 2014

Well, I’m on the airplane on the way “home”…MN might be where I’m living, but the mountains feel so much more like home. I think I am going to keep an eye on tickets. If I can find a cheap round trip, I think it would make sense to go solo Mount Stuart. For me and just me – fuck everyone else and their goddamn judgmental opinions. And fuck me for caring what they think or do.

On that note – soloing Mount Stuart – I re-learned some things on this climb about fitness, training, and nutrition:

  • I need to train harder, mainly cardio and legs. My arms just don’t get used nearly as much on long alpine climbs, especially objectives that are easy enough to solo.
  • Light breakfast is ok, but I need to eat and drink small amounts more often.
  • Coffee is essential with breakfast.
  • Consistent pace is better than short fast bursts.
  • 3am starts at the latest – I like climbing in the dark and snow conditions are more stable.
  • Train cardio and legs more.
  • Repeat the previous step.
  • Find out a way to train my body to recover faster after long days.

Overall, for my lack of consistent hard training before this trip, I was pleasantly surprised with my performance. I could have continued up and over the summit, no problem. However, I have to remember I was climbing with a weaker, less experienced partner, and I only did well in comparison to him. A stronger climber might have – probably would have – smoked me. I don’t ever want to be the weak one…

Fuck, I want that route. I want it like I have never wanted anything before. I crave it, the sensation of being totally isolated and self-reliant, self-responsible. To know that if I fuck up, I die. That no one else could ever be to blame, that my every choice actually has real consequences. I want to live in color for a day, and leave this fucked-up, confusing world behind for a while. I want connection to my ice axe and my ice tool, and I want to cut away connection with every human on the planet. I want to feel real fear and truly be strung-out, but to operate coolly and effectively in spite of those feelings…or maybe because of those feelings.

Regular, old, everyday life sucks. And by the way, fuck [a friend] for drinking the Kool-Aid and chasing a career. I drank a glass too and nearly succumbed to the poison, so I can hardly judge. But goddamn, he should be doing what I’m doing and he fucking knows it. It was dripping from the drunk texts he sent last night – texts he never would have let himself send if he were sober and “thinking clearly.” Fuck this notion of logical decisions and clear thinking. Clear according to whom? Your parents? Your boss? Societal norms? Who the fuck gave them the right to make your decisions for you? And no matter who did, why are you falling in line? Why did you decide that security was better than freedom? Their brand of security only comes when you’re willing to stand behind bars and locked doors.

Thank god life jammed its fingers down my throat and forced me to vomit up the Kool-Aid before the poison did irreversible damage. A hard solo route should clear away the last vestiges of that bullshit, fucked-up, cock-sucking philosophy – if I survive. And if not, who fucking cares? Maybe my torch will burn brightly enough through these words and my actions to light the fire under someone else who is treading the fine line between freedom and acquiescence. I hope so.