Sometimes, fantastic things happen. Mr. Bill Briggs, the first man to do "big mountain skiing" in the US, first skied the Grand Teton in 1971, the year I was born. His story is incredible, and is recounted beautifully in the movie "Steep". One of the things I loved the most about it was when he said, "This isn't something I wanted to do for me and then be done. This is something, I thought, everyone should be doing!... It's too much fun to pass up."
The story is incredible. Because of the eye opening education I've been receiving on the history of skiing, especially steep and big mountain skiing, I realized that I am beholden to these amazing pioneers who broke trail before me and just want to share their experience.
I borrow from these guys all the time when i am out training: Maurice Herzog and his friends on the Annapurna expedition looked across ridges of peaks, and would go out several days, summiting over and over, just looking for the peak they wanted to climb. When I am tired hiking up the "M" trail, I think to myself, this is a hiccup on a bump on the road to the town months before Annapurna. Suck it up, see the ridge as your canvas, open your mind and your heart and don't be afraid to look across a whole mountain range, and find a way through it, knowing you are strong enough.
When I think of Bill Briggs, climbing the Grand, and being left at the last, steepest pitch unexpectedly, and climbing on, alone, never being daunted, or if he did, reminding himself of his goal, and making it, summiting, skiing. Alone. And then the photographs the next day to prove he'd been there. I think of hiking by myself, I think of skinning behind someone who is strong and won't stop, and I think, I have this in me. I can dig deep and find some of that, I can borrow it from Bill. I can be enough all by myself, hold onto my dreams, and continue moving toward them, even when I feel alone.
Today, I am mailing Mr. Briggs his t-shirt with grateful thanks. Check out the hard head store and get your own!
Do you have a favorite hero in Alpinism? Email me at katehowe at mac dot com (and please tell me who they are and why you love them, as my education is still, and will always be, a work in progress here...) and I'll ask them if I can make THEM into a HardHead t-shirt!
ALSO available in a woman's fitted ringer t! (TOO CUTE!)