Monday, November 30, 2015

Risky Business

The "nose" route to the top of Mt. Arrowsmith...
Climbing the "nose" to the top of Mt Arrowsmith...
Last night I saw Everest in 3D at our local IMAX theatre. It's based on the 1996 disaster that resulted in the deaths of eight climbers who were caught in a blizzard near the top of the mountain, including team leader Rob Hall.

There's a quick scene in the movie where Rob Hall is showing off the base camp to his latest group. He motions to one side to indicate the 'IMAX team' tents.

Coincidentally, that would be the same IMAX team that eventually found Rob Hall's body while they were making their documentary, also titled Everest. And in a case of 'snake eating its own tail' the makers of the Hollywood version replicate some of the documentary shots that swoop from Everest's base to its peak.

Last summer I hiked to the top of local Mt. Arrowsmith with this same group of friends. It's the tallest mountain on Vancouver Island at a little over one mile in height.

Yes, it's only about one sixth the height of Everest, but it can be a challenging multi-day climb in winter, requiring some technical expertise in climbing. In the summer though it is possible to reach the top by hiking via some of the easier routes.

On our particular climb we chose a more difficult route that can sometimes require climbing skills and gear. Not being a climber myself, I chose to let the others do the final ascent by themselves. If there is one lesson that the movie demonstrated, it's the importance of respecting your physical limits. Recklessness is not the same as calculated risk.

My three friends appear in the photo above on their way to the top. Can you find them?

As I waited for their return I cautiously bum-crawled to the edge of a cliff to take the photo below.

Staring into the abyss...
At edge of the abyss...

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