Category Archives: insanity

Mount Everest

It’s a long way from the days of Mallory and Hillary:

Traffic jam at the top of the world; Photo credit: Project Possible/AFP/Getty Images

I’m absolutely fascinated by the recent photo to come from the summit of Mount Everest. Over 100 climbers, queued up in a line, in the death zone of Everest, waiting to summit. The death toll on Everest has reached 11 this year, as a result.

A record number of permits, 381, to climb the world’s tallest peak were issued. Which means at least double that number, if not closer to triple, were on the mountain, since guides and sherpas are not included in the permit number.

Also, the window of good weather was extremely small compared to most years, so everyone was forced to summit basically at the same time. Waiting in a line, using up oxygen, stepping over dead bodies that had been left behind, all while trying to combat exhaustion in the death zone.

The entire concept, just spins my head. The desire to climb Everest, I get, although I’ve never really had that great burn to do so. We’ve reached the point where we wait in a line at the roof top of our planet, for what? To take a selfie? Thank about it: One couldn’t take a picture from the summit without people in it! I live in Fairbanks so that I can avoid lines. I walk out of the post office if the line has more than three people in it. I realize, I’m the odd duck on this planet, but I can not imagine my extreme disappointment, if I climbed Everest, only to be forced to endure a conga line before summiting.

One has to ask about the skill level of so many climbers. Are they experienced climbers, or thrill seeking amateurs on a selfie hunt? Peter Beaumont wrote in The Guardian that climbing the world’s tallest peak “has become a trophy experience.” I have to admit, I agree with him.

What would George Mallory think about The Mountain now?

Beware of the Winter Jokes

A friend of mine posted an obscene, apocalyptic headline Sunday night:

Winter has come…”

I’m thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you?”, but I refused to be baited, tried my best to ignore the comment altogether, and had a beer out on the deck in the sunshine.

Turns out that Sunday night was the start of a new “Game of Thrones” season.

It was probably for the best that I refrained from commenting.

Oh Shit
It’s midnight. You’ve been drinking tequila. You suddenly remember you have to meet a client in the morning.

There are days…


…when the idea of homesteading off of a tributary of the mighty Yukon River, where there is no internet, phone service, mail service or any other form of immediate contact, seems like pure heavenly bliss.

Today turned into one of those days. Don’t be surprised if my phone battery refuses to take a charge in the very near future. It happens.

Ignorance is not an excuse, it’s a symptom

The month of September brought snowfall measured in feet instead of inches to Interior Alaska. Tuesday’s dumping brought down trees and power lines. At one point, over 21,000 GVEA electric meters had stopped moving throughout the borough. It’s been a mess.


I am amazed at how many local drivers do not understand that intersections with non-working stop lights automatically become 4-way stops until power is restored. I have seen an endless stream of full sized trucks flying through intersections at high speed thinking that a lack of power turns the roadway into the autobahn. Today took the cake: there was a woman in a small car with several kids was in front of me. She came to a full stop, before making a left turn and I could see that the oncoming, bright-red, full-sized, Dodge pickup was not going to stop. I still don’t know how they missed contact. The Dodge never changed speed or course. I’m sure the woman floored it when she saw the truck, but the little Toyota hardly seemed up to the task. Luckily, it was or I would have witnessed a nasty T-boning.
At that moment, I wished I had a solid, old hunk of Detroit steel to ram the bastard in the Dodge right off the road. Obviously, I would never do such a thing… I like, and need, my vehicles too much.

Off soapbox

A half mile up the road, there was a backhoe sitting on the snow filled shoulder. The operator had a chain fastened to a sedan in the ditch, and he was lifting the car out with the bucket. The grin on the backhoe operator’s face would have rivaled any kid’s on Christmas morning.

Laundry Epiphany

When one does three weeks worth of laundry, and realizes that everything going through the washer & dryer is work clothes.

It may very well be time for a vacation.

Final Selfie

Final Selfie