There are times when I think I have the world’s greatest job. Saturday night for example. Some of the most famous names in mountaineering history were at Neptune talking about their first ascents and adventures. The vivid descriptions weren’t power points or efficient…it was simple, old school story telling, the kind lost and shunned these days. I loved it, and the inspiration felt is palpable. Stories of bivouacs on ledges in storms, crumbling hand and footholds and sheer adventure – back in the glory days of adventure when National Geographic routinely paid people to explore and share their stories – were abundant.
A highlight for me was when Ed Webster, a man who pioneered a first ascent on the remote, brutally difficult, and almost never-climbed Kangshung face of Everest signed his book for me, with a very special inscriptions shown in the photo.
Will that ever happen? Doubtful. But then again, a spark can trigger the imagination, and the imagination can trigger great things. I will say that despite not getting home from the night till 1 am – reunions of legends are hard to break up – I was inspired to get up , climb a small mountain and go for a ski still.
Greatness rubs off, and I feel fortunate to have been surrounded by it.