What a day to be on Mt. Washington. Rich and I were on the summit enjoying bluebird skies and relatively warm temps. As we looked east and reminisced about a long-ago Wildcat/Carter/Moriah traverse, we watched a climbing party pop up out of Huntington Ravine, take a short break on the snowfield, and head slowly toward us.
We were still hanging out when they arrived at the summit, dropping their ropes, packs and high-fiving. A guide with 2 clients, they asked me to snap some pictures of them, and the 5 of us struck up a conversation after we all congratulated each other for getting up here on such a great day. One thing we talked about was their route and a few sketchy spots they encountered.
Immediately after recounting an especially hairy traverse, the guide gave a pat on the back to Client #1, who said “it was tough, but awesome!”. We all turned to Client #2, expecting a similar exclamation. “I’m new to this.”
Then he puked.
There are many reasons a person might throw up…
- Motion sickness or seasickness
- Intense pain
- Ingestion of toxins or excessive amounts of alcohol
- Early stages of pregnancy (probably not a factor in this one)
…the list goes on. Another is emotional stress – such as fear.
And fear was the case here, confirmed by #2 after he regained his composure – which didn’t take long at all.
I’d like to say congratulations to this guy (again), for pushing through something that scared the hell out of him. He puked at the top – not back at the trailhead after he turned around early, not in the middle of a weird traverse, way out of his comfort zone. Both of those were options for him. But he controlled it and went into that space so many of us outdoorsy types have been to before – super focused, brain declaring the stakes too high to think about or do anything unrelated to the next careful placement of a hand or foot. Well done, sir.
Many of us, myself included, don’t live in a world where we’re forced to push through situations that scare the crap out of us on a regular basis – or ever. Anyone who does it by choice is winning, in my opinion.
I didn’t read about any accidents on the Rock Pile that day, so I assume #2 and his partners kicked as much ass on the way down as they did on the way up.
I hope that guy went home feeling like a hero, and started looking for the next thing to puke over. I like to think he did.