Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Event With Local Government Gets Me Thinking

I'm really looking forward to a speaking event/seminar I have next week with a local county government agency. This appears to be a group that is in need of some repair within their organizational efficiency and leadership accountability.

After my initial phone conference with several of the management team about our upcoming event it became clear that the elected and appointed officials within this group tend to operate independently from the rest of the organizational tree leading to an inefficient team void of communication. This becomes even more critical for the group as they are currently facing significant budgetary challenges.

It seems as though many of the employees that work within the management tree under the supervision of the elected and appointed officials do not feel that they can comfortably approach their leadership with suggestions and complaints. This leads to disdain and uncooperative strategies within the group. The leadership feel that they are consistently right in their approach, whereas the rest of the team has concerns that this is not always the case. The breakdown occurs when the team feels that the leadership is unapproachable.

I take a page out of Steven Covey's book when I initiate the dialogue segment of my seminar with groups that are struggling with problems such as these. I will often ask everyone in the room to close their eyes and point north. Everyone then proceeds to point all over the room. Then I will ask that no one point except those executives who are 100% certain they know the direction of north. Those who point still point in all directions. The lesson: Executives don’t know it all, and had better develop a culture of open, honest discussion.

FranklinCovey launched its xQ Survey 18 months ago to find what it calls gaps in execution. Of 12,000 employees surveyed, half feel safe to express their opinions without fear of retribution. About the same amount say they clearly understand their role in helping the company achieve its goals. Little more than a third say they don’t undermine others on their work team.

This illustrates that this governmental agency has a very typical problem evident in corporate that requires a healthy discourse that promotes approachability and genuine honesty. Harnessing the individual strengths within the reigns of the team to better steer the company.

Covey says companies often remind him of a soccer team of 6-year- olds. There’s a lot of energy, and everyone on the team wants to win. Yet, the players have no clue what they need to do. Whats critical is to define success, rally around it and nurture your teammates.
Passive-aggressive soccer teams would have very pleasant halftime meetings -- just as long as they didn’t look at the score.

There will be several goals at the end of the day:
Have the entire group create a clear definition of the organizational Vision.
Determine whether everyone shares that Vision.
Create an action plan and then execute it.

Open simple to discuss but oh so challenging to create.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10th Mountain Division Leadership

For those of you that are not familiar with the historically impressive 10th Mountain Division, it is worth noting that this group of men have been a source of strength and acheivement from the Division's inception in 1943.

The 10th Mountain's specialty involves fighting effectively in harsh conditions. It is designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.

The development of a specialized unit began before the United States entered World War II. In 1940 the War Department began working with the American Alpine Club and the National Ski Patrol Committee of the National Ski Association to develop equipment and training for winter and mountain warfare. The 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington on November 15, 1941, drawing its initial members from men already in the Army who had previous ski and mountaineering experience. Thereafter the National Ski Patrol recruited volunteers for the unit, under a contract with the War Department.

So you can see that these guys were chosen for being tough and resourceful...and the results show in some of the Division's alumni...

Bob Dole Former Senate Majority Leader and Presidential candidate
David R. Brower Founder of the Sierra Club
Bill Bowerman Co founder of Nike
Pete Seibert Founder of Vail Ski Resort
Paul Petzoldt Founder of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and inventor of the carribiner.

A very impressive group of men that were put into a situation where they had no template. Due to the fact that they were doing something that had never been done before, they were required to create their own training exercises and drills. They attempted to simulate extreme environments so as to be prepared for any situation that they would encounter throughout their deployments. This had them field testing equipment in the mountains that was crude at best...and it was through their ingenuity that they not only survived but thrived.

They are a wonderful illustration of resourceful ingenuity and comraderie...not unlike what my climbing partners and I have experienced through our own alpine challenges.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rox to the Series

Our beloved Rockies are headed to the World Series.

Unless you have just returned from a 10 day journey to Falalamabad you know that the Colorado Rockies will face the vaunted Boston Redsox in the World Series.

The Rox story is well told by now...with a 6 week record of 21 out of 22 wins...sweeping both the Divisional Series as well as the League Championship Series.

The striking thing about the Rockies is their everyday demeanor on and off the field. None of these guys are super stars or mercenary free agents playing for the highest paycheck.

How about this stat...there are 4 players on the Red Sox roster that together earn the same salary as the entire 26 man Rockies roster.

They are the true essence of teamwork and effective leadership. Each of them are humble and are in it for the glory of the team instead of individual accolades. It is truly amazing what a team can accomplish when no one cares who gets the pat on the back.

Go Rockies!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Adventure Film School Screening

On Sunday night about 20 of us sat in an obscure Boulder film screening room to view the rough cut films from each of the students that participated in our inaugural Adventure Film School on Kilimanjaro last month.
Once the students arrived in Boulder last week, Mike, Dave and Ryan from Serac Adventure Films assisted with the editing over just 3 intense days. The 'almost finished' products were nothing short of amazing. Serac's account of the project.

The students and their themes for each film.

Thayer is a writer from Outside Magazine that was on assignment for our Kili expedition. Check out the very cool podcast from his self imposed 'castaway' experience on an island in Panama a couple of years ago.

His job in this case was 'to be a student' in the Film School, make a film as well as write an article for Outside regarding his experiences as a student. His film was a wonderfully humorous satyr on making films while on an expedition.

Emeka is from New York City and did a wonderful job with his film drawing out the parallels between the 'mountains' that are climbed daily in Manhattan to an actual mountain climb such as Kilimanjaro. Wonderfully done and very artistic.

Josh is also from New York City. His film was based on the journey that our man Bill Barkeley was taking on his quest to climb Kilimanjaro. Remember that Bill has Usher Syndrome and is profoundly visually and hearing impaired. Josh did an inspiring job portraying the challenges that Bill took on throughout his journey.

Each of the films will be uploaded onto Outside Magazines Online website in the next month.

Also each of the films will be submitted to the '08 film festival circuit.

I will post another update once these amazing films become available for viewing.

Side looks as if the next Adventure Film School will take place in October of 2008 in the majestic setting of Peru. More details to come.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My friend in Iraq

About a year ago I was on a flight home from a speaking event and struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He was about my age and we chatted for essentially the entire 3 hour flight. He was an interesting fellow that clearly had that intangible characteristic. We spoke of our careers (he was a 'consultant'), families and life experiences. We exchanged contact information and swapped a few emails here and there over a few months.

Then last month I received an email from Jeff and in it he disclosed to me that on that flight he was an active Air Marshall, carrying a weapon and protecting the safety of our flight.

Then I get the real story on this guy...a former member of the Department of Homeland Security, he's caught terrorists inside the United States, trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, he is a trained sniper, former SWAT team leader and a FBI-trained crisis negotiator. He has a master’s degree in Military Studies and Terrorism and is an expert in suicide terrorism and crime. He served on the Just War Theory Project for the Academic Council of the United Nations System. He is the co-owner of Liberty Protective Solutions, LLC and has served as a security specialist for the U.S.-led “Roadmap to Mideast Peace.” Right now, he is serving as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces (Reserve) in Iraq.

Now...on top of all of that he is a great guy. A real genuine man with great intentions.

No matter how you feel about the war and the administration that took us there (most familiar with me know my disenchanted view), you have to respect a guy like this that devotes his life to protecting our freedoms and liberties.
I'm honored to know him.

He has been blogging about his experiences in Iraq. Please check it out.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Last Dispatch from Kili

This was the last dispatch I posted from the most recent Kili Expedition. Its a reflection from each member of the team.
Final Thoughts
20 Sep, 07 - 22:25
The final dispatch will consist of thoughts and comments from each individual member of this expedition...
"I had made the summit of Kilimanjaro and had fallen slightly behind my team when I realized that I was alone in Africa, pleasantly stuck between limbo and nirvana - happily turning a trip into an was a good day to take a walk." Scott Sewell
"When I reached the crest of Kili and looked back at people of all races trying to reach the same goal - some so weak and sick they could hardly walk, being helped by their guides or loved ones. It all made me think the human spirit is alive and we all can work together in whatever we wish." Craig Prine
"Heroes are simple, authentic people that help you find good things within yourself. Mt Kilimanjaro threw her weather, physical terrain and high altitude at Emeka. Through the strength of the human spirit and his indomitable will, Emeka made it. Thanks for letting me be a witness to such a a great life lesson." Bill Barkeley
"Rule #1 of High Altitude Hiking: Don't rush it. Rule #1 of Adventure Film Making: Sometimes you gotta rush it. Team Extreme. Fear is for #@^&*$@" Thayer Walker
"Pole', Pole' means freeze your ass off in Swahili. I say Haraka, Haraka!" Michael Brown
"Vscchno se zda' jashejsi' tani ha vrcholu hor." Magdalena Mikova (Editors note...I don't know what the hell that says)
"Ryan....Ryan.....Ryan Ross! Someone please shoot Bill on the summit!" Josh Levine to Ryan in a state of utter exhaustion in hoping someone could get Josh's critical footage footage for his film.
"I think a great leader said this: 'Part of an adventure is turning a corner...never having seen or done that before...every minute, every day, being there. That is the wonderful part of the journey' Jeff Evans, prior to departure on this expedition." Emeka Ngwube
"To be humbled is to be whole. That was a hell of a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. A fantastic journey!"
Ryan gets a second one because he is a fellow southern boy.
"To be from the south is a gift. To know there's a world outside of it is a luxury" Ryan Ross
"I came to climb Kilimanjaro and although I was not successful in reaching the top, I leave with a great respect on its size and how beautiful this mountain is. I leave knowing I have personally seen plants and vegetation that exist no where else on this earth. And I leave with the greatest respect for the 43 porters/guides that provided great meals , dry tents and a continuous supply of smiles. These guys truly have servant hearts and worked hard to perform their job beyond our expectations. These memories I will have forever." Jim Baar
This trip has been a wonderful experience and I have been honored to lead a wonderful group of individuals on an experience that brought us together as a team. Thanks again for all of the support and thoughts.
Craig Prine, Scott Sewell, Emeka Ngwube, Magdalena Mikova, Michael Brown, Ryan Ross, Thayer Walker, Josh Levine, Jim Baar, Bill Barkeley, Jeff Evans

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kili Dispatches

Listed here is the dispatch I posted regarding our summit night from my most recent Kilimanjaro Expedition...

To The Top and Back Down Safely
19 Sep, 07 - 22:03

What a night! We were treated to a crystal clear night and relatively steady 15*F temps. We felt blessed that the first clear weather night in 7 days happened to coincidence with our summit attempt.

We had two different start times depending on expected pace. Bill, Jim, Josh and Jeff set out at 1:30am. Magdalena, Craig, Scott, Michael, Ryan, Emeka and Thayer took off at 2am. In a perfect world we would all meet on the summit at the same moment and share a group hug. Well... summit night on Kili is not a perfect world.

Bill had a few curve balls thrown at him with regards to the electronic hearing and night vision equipment. So we spent a bit of time problem solving alternative methods of communication. In the end, the equipment worked as expected and was a huge part of Bill's summit success.

Jim decided at 16,800ft that he was completely exhausted and wished to head down. After some deliberating it was clear that he was satisfied with his effort and had a smile on his face as he headed down with Nickson. Jim should be commended for putting in a great effort to reach his high point and overcoming his fear of heights on Breakfast Wall. This was a big deal and I am very proud of his effort.

Emeka had been having some stomach issues the past several days and in spite of medical intervention was unable to hold much food and fluid down. As a result he was quite fatigued which significantly slowed his pace. In what was a Herculean effort, Emeka knuckled down for hours and finally reached the summit around 11am. His tenacity has inspired all of us. He received a standing ovation as he entered the meal tent last night.

Thayer also showed his strength and resilience. He was clearly pulled down by the affects of altitude just prior to sunrise but rallied hard and not only summitted with the 2nd wave of us, he actually found new strength and returned to the summit an hour later for a 2nd time to accompany Emeka and document his success. A fantastic effort and wonderful personality to have around.

Josh was amazing. This guy flew from Manhattan a week ago never having done anything similar to climbing a mountain. He fought through extreme fatigue for hours and stood on top with us overwhelmed with emotion. A very proud effort.

Magdalena, Craig and Scott were, quite possibly the fastest crew on the mountain last night. They blew the doors off of every other team to summit around 7am. Magdalena, who we have all designated a saint for tolerating us for a week, lead the charge and the Wyoming boys were close behind. My only regret with their speedy ascent is that we all didn't get to summit together...they were just too fast. Amazing job.

Ryan was a true stud and as expected with him, was throwing out his wonderful humor even in spite of significant exhaustion. He summited with us at 7:30am. He is one of the true characters in life. A joy to have around.

And of course Michael was typical mountain Michael, sprinting up and down the hill to help and assist the film students. He is consistently a powerhouse in the mountains and one of my best friends. An honor for me to share another big summit with him.

Back to Bill... This guy is made of steel. As noted before, we did run into some technical challenges with his equipment, but through it all he kept his head on straight with a solid look of determination. Guiding Erik Weihenmayer for 14 years has obviously been very inspiring...but I feel that watching Bill tackle this project, create momentum behind his effort and then physically and emotionally summit this mountain has given me a new sense of inspiration. He has blown me away with the pureness in his heart and determination in his soul. He is a true man of conviction and I am honored that he gave me the opportunity to guide him on this climb. We summited arm and arm at 7:30am.

Thanks so much for the support and kindness,

Jeff and company

To read all of the dispatches from this trip, go to MV Dispatches

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to Africa

So I was home long enough to wash some clothes, purchase a new pack of baby wipes (a critical part of the 'mountain bath'), and replace all of the weight I lost while in Russia (plus a few extra).
Now its time to head back to Africa to guide my 6th expedition up Mt Kilimanjaro.

"Don't you get tired of the same mountain over and over?" Surprisingly enough I don't with this trip. I have now done 3 different routes up the mountain which creates a bit of variety...but also I do love Africa. The culture, the people, the energy, the hard working porters. All of this continues to be intriguing to me.

Also we have a new collaboration for this trip. We are working with Serac Adventure Films in creating the first ever Adventure Film School. This will be an exciting addition to our cast of adventurers. Also we have a writer from Outside Magazine that will be reporting on the Film School for an upcoming article in the mag.

Another component to this trip is the participation of a gentleman named Bill Barkley. Bill was born with Ushers Syndrome, so he has very limited vision as well as greatly diminished hearing. He is also a very driven man with loads of determination. Our lines of communication will be aided by a microphone that I will be speaking into and will be sent back to Bills hearing devices using Bluetooth technology. Very cool. Bill has created quite a buzz concerning this challenge and it appears the entire state of Michigan is pulling for him.

Sign up for our daily dispatch alerts from our dispatch page for this Kili trip.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Off to Russia

I will be headed to Russia on August 9th with a few MountainVision clients to attempt the highest mountain in Europe....Mt Elbrus @ 18, 510 ft.

The Caucus Range in Russia is stunning to say the least. Follow our progress on the MountainVision Trip Dispatch Page.

Na zdorovje!

MountainVision: Lessons Beyond The Summit

Happy to announce that my book has finally been published and is ready for mass consumption.
The book is 30 short chapters....autobiographical in nature...each chapter containing a succinct lesson that is useful in life and living.

Please contact me through this blog or visit and keyword in the title of the book in order to purchase.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gavin Gives it a Strong Go!

Gavin just called in to report that he is safely back at Everest Advanced Basecamp. He says that in spite of feeling strong throughout the entire expedition, he just didn't have the strength on summit night...when he needed it most. He wisely assessed the situation and turned around short of the summit.
We are all proud of Gavin and wish him a safe journey home knowing that the mountain will still be there for him should he choose to do battle again.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gavin In Nepal, Dispatches Are Here!

Gavin and a group of MountainVision clients have arrived in Nepal safely. After resting from 2 days on a plane and acclimating to the hustle and bustle of Katmandu, Gavin sent over our first dispatch. More to come. You can access the dispatch page from anywhere on our MountainVision site. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dispatches from all upcoming MV trips

We are excited to announce that we have purchased the brand new Contact 4.0 software.
This software and all of the hardware associated with it will allow all MountainVision clients to join together and send off dispatches from each of our upcoming treks and expeditions.

We will now be sending photos, short video clips and written dispatches which will be uploaded to the MountainVision website in 'real time'.

Friends and family will now be able to follow along from home as our journey progresses up and down the trail.

You will also be able to follow Gavin this Spring in his quest to climb Mt Everest.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Keith Olbermann For President

This video segment from Olbermanns Countdown is a wonderfully written piece on the mess that is our Presidency. I just wish that Mr President could watch this to gain some insight on his irresponsibilities.

Olbermann is a genius. He is insightful, witty, smug and educated. I would pay a large fee to have him sit in the same room with Bill O'Wrongly for a healthy and robust debate. That would be priceless.

Instead, Billy O only prays on the soft spoken Andrea Mitchell when seeking to uncover the 'leftist' NBC network. What a twit he is. Please...someone give Olbermann and O'Dickly a forum to have it out. And lets make sure the President is required to tune in for his homework assignment. He would surely learn something.

Is it 2008 yet?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Part 3 of Denali Series

I had just eased myself into that sweet, warm cocoon of a bag, ignoring the smells that always waft themselves up and out as the bag is entered, when I heard a voice approaching.
“Jeff......Chris.......Morris.......Where you camped Evans?”

I quickly recognized the voice being that of Roger Robinson, the head of the NPS Search and Rescue patrol at the 14,000 ft camp. After Roger located our tent he calmly explained the situation.

“We’ve got a couple of climbers that were witnessed falling down the Orient Express. We’ve got ‘em in the scope and it doesn’t look like there’s any movement. We’re short on Rangers and need a hand. Would you guys be willing to suit up and climb?”

Chris and I had ventured over to the NPS yurt earlier that day to chat and greet. We were well acquainted with the NPS boys. For the previous two climbing seasons I had been a volunteer ranger at the NPS basecamp at 7,000 ft, assisting with multiple helicopter and ground rescues. I was familiar with the procedures and the staff.

Although Chris and I were actually “on the clock” with our clients, it is part of the unwritten creed as a mountaineer that you will make yourself available in any situation to assist in the search and rescue of any fallen climber.

So without a word spoken between Chris and me, we were dressed, geared and out the tent door in 10 minutes.

We were greeted at the NPS yurt by a sense of urgency and confusion. The few Rangers that were staffed at the camp were pulling and sorting gear at a frantic pace. Roger briefed us on the current situation.

“A group of Brits on the West Rib radioed down to say they had witnessed a couple of climbers tumble down the Orient Express...guessing they fell about 2,000 ft. Athens and Timmons are already headed up with meds and oxygen. I’ll rope up with you two...we’ll carry a litter and some other support gear.”

We had seen this exact scenario play out on multiple occasions. The Orient Express was notorious for chewing on climbers, then spitting them out down its 3,000 ft gully. So many Asian climbers have met their fate there, that the gully gleaned its name from their misfortune. It wasn’t that the gully was exceptionally technical; however, it was the perfect cocktail for a long spill. At an average of about 45°, not exceptionally steep in the realm of climbing big mountains, the Express was located just down from the summit, inviting tired and weary climbers down its deceivingly gentle slope. More often than not, the slope was covered with a thin veil of snow, concealing its true character of blue, hard ice.

The oft played out events would have a climber descending the slope, tired, lulled into complacency by the relatively gentle grade. Inevitably the climber would step through the smattering of cushioning snow and onto the slipfest of bullet proof ice. Once the acceleration begins, one can try in vain to slow the fall although this is usually in earnest as the gentle slip turns into a helpless tumble. Chris, Roger and I stuffed, packed and shouldered all the necessary rescue gear, roped up and started up to save the lives of two men we had never met.

To be continued...

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Part 2 of Denali Series

Image to the right is Jeff hanging 100 ft under the "Denali Lama", the most badass Search and Rescue helicopter in the world.

My story continued...

Now Chris and I were back on the hill. 10 days into this second expedition and we were already at the mountain’s symbolic half way point at 14,000 ft. This camp was somewhat of a high altitude climber’s outpost. A massive flat section of glacial ice covered with snow, perhaps the size of 3 football fields laid side by side, provided a comfortable and relatively safe area for climbers to acclimate, rest and mingle. This was also the home of the National Park Service (NPS) High Altitude Research Station, which was by all accounts, the staging ground for all of the search and rescue maneuvers that took place on the upper half of the mountain.

Denali was at times a mean and unrelenting mountain. Often times lulling foreigners and Americans alike into a sense of comfort and ease, just in time to spank them with the sharp alpine tongue that is the Alaska Range.

Just the week before, as we were settling into one of our first camps and enjoying another of the mountain’s sweet displays of vibrant orange alpenglow, the Park Service helicopter, the Denali Lama, had flown several hundred feet over our heads with the hydraulic “grabber” swinging on a 100 ft rope below the copter. In the grasp of the claw was the unmistakable form of a human body. The grabber had picked him up by the back of his red gortex suite, face down, spread eagle, frozen in the position that his fall had left him in.

We had all been made aware of the death of a climber before we flew over to start the trip and the subsequent body recovery missions that the helicopter had been attempting. Finally the fallen climber had been recovered and was, at that moment, dangling in the grasp of the grabber, plum down from the whirlybird, right over our heads. Our new clients were standing in stunned silence as this macabre scene flew over our heads. The likeness of a doomed Superman was obvious but not spoken. The energy in the otherwise jovial cook tent was radically different that night over supper, all of us contemplating our own fragile nature.

Now at the mid mountain camp we would relax for a couple of days, let the muscles recover, then make our push up on the higher flanks of the mountain in hopes of standing on top within a weeks time.

I went big on cooking supper that night. The additional Tuna chunks into the mac and cheese was a reward for our clients who were proving to be quite strong.

Chris and I, over years spent together in the mountains, had developed our cooking strategies as they related to one another’s least favorite time of the day. I preferred the languid affair of cooking the evening meal following a hard day of climbing. After a long day, Chris would rather change into dry clothes and snuggle his bald pate down into the confines of his sleeping bag. Although I was often tired, to keep rolling through the chores was far more desirable than that of rising early. The bane of my existence. The weed in my garden. The fly in my ramen soup. Rising early to fire up the stoves required one to exit the warm confines of the wonderful womb of the down sleeping bag. I considered this a terrible prospect. For some reason, unfamiliar to me, Chris was one that somehow didn’t mind rising early to depart from the bag and fire up the stoves for the morning’s chunky coffee and even chunkier “goatmeal” as we referred to the daily dose of oatmeal. All of this activity was done as I was milking the last few minutes of comfort out of my sleeping bag. Our schedule tended to work out quite symbiotically.

Continued tomorrow...

Part 1 of Denali Series

This is the first installment of 'My Summer on the Great One'.

Back on the Big Hill
We pulled into the 14,000 ft camp on Denali for the second time in a month. I felt tired. My legs felt thin and sinewy. My pelvic bones were prominent, jutting out like blades. The dreaded Denali weight loss program had taken its toll on my already lean frame at a charge of 15 lbs.

Chris and I were guiding our second expedition of the summer on the 20,320 ft hill and we were satisfied to be at the mid-mountain camp the 3rd week of June with good weather forecasts rumored about.

Our first trip of the summer had been a good one, albeit without a sip from the holy grail of Denali’s summit. We had been beaten around for 3 weeks by the unrelenting wind and snow that the mountain was notorious for... until the clients submitted, cried uncle and agreed that the smell and taste of pizza and beer far outweighed the desire to suffer through another week of cold and ramen noodles. I have to admit that I was somewhat driven to explore the wonders of a Talkeetna pizza pie as well. The glorious, glistening mozzarella, providing a warm squishy bed for the sweet ovals of pepperoni and black olives.

With the knowledge that I had to be back on the glacier in less than a week, I drove my client, a quiet and smilingingly reserved Japanese man named Usako Yakamoto nearly to his breaking point.

“Let’s pick it up now Usako”, I said as I pulled him by the rope he was begrudgingly tied to up the last hill into basecamp. Heartbreak Hill was the mountain’s last stab at you in its quest to make you suffer. Basecamp and the airstrip were set up on the hill which rose about 600 feet off the lower Kahiltna glacier over about an hour of average speed hiking. This position was crucial for the Cessna planes in order to facilitate their take offs and landings, coaxing gravity to help them in either pursuit.

“One more hour to go my friend, then we eat and drink like Emperors.”

In the forefront of my cortex, thoughts of that Bud bottle rising to meet my lips as the first ounce of that golden nectar slips into my mouth causing a stir of taste bud detonation.

Usako had been suffering from a dental abscess for close to a week now, however as much as he wanted to head to warmer climes and the office of a dentist, the pace up the hill was tortuous.
My haste was brought on due to the lowering sun and therefore the ceasing and desisting of any subsequent flights off the glacier for that day. If we were to miss that last flight of the day, our fate would be sealed for at least 15 hrs. Another night on the ice, cuddling up with a hot bowl of dehydrated potatoes and Usako.

“Come on Usako; let’s push it up the hill.” At that moment, he hated me.
“Mr. Jeff, please. I no can go fast like this. Too tired. Must rest.”
“Do you hear that plane my friend? That’s our plane. That’s our pizza with wings. Dig down deep my Japanese compadre.”

Any amount of compassion that I had was vetoed out in the democracy of my brain. “Must sleep on sheets tonight,” I mumbled.2 hours and a plane ride later, Usako and I were wolfing down piece after piece of decadent pizza pie, swilling it down with multiple bottles of Anheuser-Busch’s finest hops. Usako slowly became oblivious to the pain and swelling in his jaw, easing into the popular American cuisine.

More tomorrow...