"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end." - Edward Whymper, 'Scrambles Amongst the Alps'
Linds and I on top of a wet Mount Sentinel for the 55th
summit of the mountain in 2013.
The last two week have been dominated by extreme indecision: to climb Mount McKinley in 2014 or not. The question is more nuanced than a single, simple yes or no (hence the indecision).
Yes, I do want to climb Mount McKinley.
Yes, I am willing (and my employer is amenable) to take 3-4 weeks off of work in 2014.
Yes, I understand the risks.
No, I do not have the money!
Truthfully, it is the money that has kept me on the fence and noncommittal. Total cost of the expedition (with guide service, gear and transportation) comes in at around $9,500. At this stage, my registration has been accepted for a 2014 Mount McKinley expedition with RMI, but the very real and wholly impossible to ignore fact remains: I don't have the money!
The reality is, and I went into the mountains to seek clarity this weekend, it simply isn't in the cards in 2014. With a mad desire to marry the woman of my dreams within the next year or so and the wish to do McKinley the right way, I am going to have to postpone at least a year.
The biggest draw of McKinley 2014 was to climb with a Phil Goss, something of a climbing soulmate. I met Phil on Mount Rainier back in September. With a shared childlike wonder and astonishment for all things beautiful, Phil and I found ourselves the first two climbers out-of-doors every morning while on the mountain (around 6AM), writing poems and taking photos, respectively. We became fast friends. On Rainier, we spoke of doing McKinley together in 2014 with Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. He is staying steady the course and registered for the climb this last week. I will be there every step of the way rooting him on in spirit!
All is not lost. Phil and are now looking at climbing Granite Peak, Montana's high point, in August. It will be a splendid reunion. Although Mount McKinley isn't in my immediate, it is in Phil's and I couldn't be more happy for him. Mount McKinley 2015? Yes, please. In the meantime, I will be slowly procuring the requisite gear to get up the mountain. First purchase? Made this weekend: a McKinley size, 105 liter expedition pack.
Onward and upward!