"How fast do you expect me to go !!! ? !!!”
The day started innocuous enough for our soon to be hapless heroes by returning to the sight of the “Country Restaurant/Bar” scene from the prior evening. Having another disgusting meal that consisted of eggs and a heavy metal, carbohydrate substance, that was passed off as hash brown’s the boys prepped for their first day of climbing, which consisted of a “Training Day.”
"Yo Bone, go take a hike !! !? !!!”
"C’mon man !! Slow down !!!" The “training” consisted of two parts:
1. A 50-minute brisk jog with your 50-pound packs to a training area on the Glacier
2. Training on the Glacier on climbing and safety techniques
Now a 50 minute brisk walk with a 50-pound pack is no problem for asmathic Bone, but when you start at 6,000 feet and are travelling quickly to 7,500 feet it is a very different story. As the walk commenced he was BS’ing with Mike and his fellow students with the best of them, however after 15 minutes he was having problem’s catching his breath. Then RMI Guide, Persimba “Johnny” Sherpa, (cousin of the famous sherpa, Tenzing that climbed with Sir Edmund Hillary to the top of Mt Everest) stopped to give some quick breathing instructions, which was fortunate, because Bone was about to pass out!! Now Bone is often in the dark on most things, but when you are walking fast, and your vision blurs and goes black, it usually is not a good sign. Whenever the path flattened out (which was rare) Bone was fine, it was only climbing the inclines that Bone has problems with the pace. Bone tried everything; different breathing techniques, but he just could not keep the pace as the air thinned out. Now Mike was just fine, great breathing and was walking strong, but Bone slowly fell further and further behind until he had to stop to catch is breath. Eventually Bone fell about 20 minutes behind the pack. When he finally caught up to the rest the climb instructor told him the same thing his first Calculus instructor told him, you FLUNK !!!
Stop, you’re not in arrest !!!
Deeply disappointed Bone told Mike the bad news that he would be on the Mountain alone. The guides still put both Mike and Bone through all the Mountain climbing drills, such as:
· Learning how to self-arrest with an ice-axe in case you fall
· How to hike in mountain climbing crampons and being roped up as a team
· Different walking techniques, up and down a glacier
· How to generally hate the guides
After two and ½ hours, the guides started back down. Climbing down was easy for Bone so he thought that he would apply the “ole Bone Sales Press” on the guides by chatting with them, appearing strong, complaining about how the breakfast caused his poor performance, but similar to most of the women that Bone attempted to date in his single days,,, he struck out. The guides tried to console Bone by stating that there are a bunch of fun hiking trails that were in the area, but that they would not take him even to base camp, Camp Muir.
Now What? The Beginning of a Stupid (but typical) Bone Plan
Bone was at a total loss. He did not even have a place to stay the next night because he was supposed to be with Mike on the Mountain. Plus, the thought of Mike camping at Camp Muir, while Bone was dancing in the daisies on a "hike", was making Bone nauseous. During a great dinner at a lovely place known as the Copper Creek Tavern (shown below) Bone came up with ,,, well ,,, a typically boneheaded plan.
So, without any equipment, support or a clue, Bone decided to climb up to Camp Muir on his (gulp !!!!) own. Mike offered his morale support by ordering two more handcrafted Copper Canyon ales.
Since RMI was going to provide food and shelter for Mike, Bone needed to determine his provisions. He and Mike went to the RMI Camp Store where Bone rented a personal tent and bought a butane store to melt snow for drinking and cooking and a trail map. He was told to stay as best he could on the Muir snow field and away from the glaciers (e.g. the Cowlitz Glacier) on either side. It is in these glaciers where many of the fatalities on the Mountain occur when climber off track fall into glacier crevasses. He also bought a number of freeze-dried pasta meals for the climb.
With the supplies complete, Mike and Bone made a pact to meet the next night on Camp Muir. No training, nor company rules would keep them from meeting on the Mountain. As they went to sleep, Bone was thinking on how, by himself, he would keep his end of the bargain.