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Eric's Response to Bill's Challenge: Woman on the Mountaintop. Just What is a Mountaintop experience anyway.

Updated on November 1, 2014

The first challenge for little old challenged me was figuring just how to get this photo onto my hub.

The second challenge was to get over my acrophobia just looking at this photo ;-)
The second challenge was to get over my acrophobia just looking at this photo ;-) | Source

Two "Mountaintops".

The base of the mountain was only 7,000 feet and at it's pinnacle just a shade under 13,000 feet in elevation. A chairlift takes hundreds of people a day up to about 10,500. At this altitude warnings are given for the lack of oxygen. Hard exercise at this elevation is reserved for the few who make it their business to make a living here. No folks with heart disease allowed and overweight people better do their sightseeing and leave fast. At the top of the mountain only the hardiest of the hardy can do much more than get there and then get out. At that elevation it is 5 deep breathes for each step taken going up.

Well me, I was born there and worked hard at the upper elevations. We trained hard at around 9500 feet elevation and frequented the higher elevations. My gal Jo moved to these parts about 20 years ago and was in fine shape and could easily make the mountain treks and skiing at the highest of altitudes. We had both spent time as professional Alpine skiers and we were adept at mountaineering, survival and search and rescue.

The day had started in the dark like so many full winter days. In the town it was snowing like it had been for 3 days and it had that stillness and quiet of a land covered in a blanket of pure white snow. The weather was a balmy 19 degrees out and so snowflakes came down as large as dollar pancakes and would collect on your eyebrows and eyelids like the suds from a frosty beer collects on your mustache. First things first was to "shovel out" and get the old diesel fired up for the 14 mile trip to the base lodge of the mountain. It would be a slippery trip as yesterday the weather had gotten up to just above freezing so a sheet of ice would be below the foot of snow that fell overnight. As we used to say "slipperier that warm goose shit" and believe me that is slippery.


I can stand on mountains for she raises me up.

Today we would ride the chairlift up and then hike to the summit.

I would tell you that doing a mountaineering trip to about 13,000 feet takes a lot of preparation. And for a low lander city slicker that would be true. But for locals it is really just a matter of putting on the right clothes that are in your closet and throwing your gear in the back of the pickup truck. Sure you got your ropes and first aid and things like crampons and ice axes and goggles and survival food but heck you never take those out of the truck in winter. Not having them would be like a lawyer going to court naked -- it just ain't done on a good day. I am not saying you can't have bad days but we are talking "normally" here.

So we caught the first run of the morning skiing then got back on the lift with our packs and began our ascent to the summit. The clouds had left and it was on and off again sunny with a view to die for, if you know what I mean. Just enough cloud cover for contrast but not gloomy like an old black and white photo. The view was a good hundred miles and further.

There had been so much snow that the notion was to use crampons and ski poles for the final 2500 hundred foot climb. Some black volcanic rock showed through where wind shears of 100 mph had cleared the mountain of snow, and anything worth growing save the vaunted Bristle cone pine. Soon we were in tundra and above tree line. The air was thin to say the least.

All kinds of mountaintops

The mountaintop of love is the most Glorious of all.
The mountaintop of love is the most Glorious of all. | Source

The Steep

We were going straight up. This is how straight up: If you stood sideways to the mountain and picked up your down hill foot and stuck it sideways there would be four feet of open space before ground. Just do the same thing on a stairway and you will see about a foot. So this was steep. We opted for a close tether line with Jo going first and me four feet behind. A good fall at this juncture would mean death. And a tether line of over four feet could would allow the person falling to gain enough momentum to pull both down.

It only took two hours to reach the summit. It is void of snow as the wind sheers that hit it reach well over 100 mph and blow any snow away.The view from the top was of course 360 degrees and would allow over two hundred miles of sight. Looking down on clouds and looking up into purity and what must be the heavens.

Jo just cannot help herself and she dances like a school girl at Junior High prom as though it was her first time being free. Of course I can only join her with a little two step jig.

Now we are both quiet, holding hands and contemplating the descent. I cannot fully explain it but I cannot figure what is more glorious, the view of the world from here or the view of my life companion, best friend and wife Jo, But I do know that there are two mountaintops right here, One that I can reach with every bit of my bodily will. And one of a special bond between two that lifts me high enough to touch heaven with my heart. Thank you God and thank you Jo.

Postscript

I think Bill had some rules here. I admit I do not know what they were.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There were no rules my friend, and you did a yeoman's job of it. I don't think I've ever seen creative writing like this from you. I totally enjoyed your story, Eric. Very nicely done.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Bill your challenge got me off my writer's derriere. But my legs may be too weak to sustain for very long ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a beautiful ending to an action-packed and snow-cold adventure. Good job!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 2 years ago from Central Virginia

      Eric, I don't know if you colored outside the lines or not on this piece but I also don't care. This was beautiful and at times I actually felt the breathlessness that occurs at the higher elevations. But when I read your last paragraph it took my breath away. What an awesome response to Bill's challenge and a real tribute to true love. Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and linking to my own response to Bill's challenge.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This was wonderful writing by you Eric. You gave the piece credence because you clearly have a mountaineering background, and it was also a beautiful story of the respect and love you have for your wife. Well done.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Dora I sure hope you enjoyed it, it was fun to write.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Linda. I am so glad you found this piece fun to read. And I hope people enjoy yours at https://hubpages.com/health/Bills-Challenge-The-Wo...

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John thank you and yes except the man and wife was really patterned after My brother and his wife. They really do that kind of stuff on a regular basis.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Ah ok Eric, thanks for that explanation. Still great writing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lots of laughs but my wife's idea of an adventure is flying to someplace like San Fran for a weekend.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Well, since this is the work of my two favorite inspirational writers -- namely Billy buc the challenger, and Ericdierker the writer, I had to read this. It was simply beautiful, Eric.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      A breathtaking tale weaved by you, Eric. So mind-gripping that there was no chance even for a blink. A classic story indeed and a great response. Voted up and shared.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Grand Lady, it was truly a fun writing experience. I am glad it came across well,

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harishprasad I thank you. I nearly had a horrific ending but decided it just wasn't for me. I like happy endings.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 2 years ago from Texas

      Different from work you normally put out, but enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you shanmarie. Yes it was a challenge all the way around.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      What a great piece of writing. Love the line: to be like a lawyer going to court naked. That said it all!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Nadine for the visit and comment. I have had nightmares about showing up some place naked, so I thought I would try it out.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I was right their with you, Eric, a stirring view from the top of the mountain!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise I am happy that I wrote it well enough to draw you in. That makes my day.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, well-written and creative! A nice answer to Bill´s challenge. I really enjoyed reading it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      vespawoolf it is always great to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging note.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      A very well written and beautiful story and I loved the adventure part.

      You did full justice to the challenge and I enjoyed the hub.

      Thanks!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am glad you enjoyed this piece it was a pleasure to write even though out of my normal genre.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, my, dear Eric, this is superb creative writing. I truly enjoyed reading every line, and you have some memorable ones in this wonderful response to Bill's challenge. Wow, so adventurous and beautiful.

      I agree with Linda stating your last paragraph takes one's breath away, and that is a good thing.

      Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Bravo!

      Blessings always

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Meant to add that your choice of video is heavenly too. They sound like angels singing!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, bravo! Amazing! Inspired and inspiring. If we don't get more of this from you, I'm coming out there and shaking it out of you. Seriously, I loved your response to Bill's challenge, and you should be proud of what you have created.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Well-crafted, Eric. Beautifully written. Some knowledge of mountains shown here. I did 5,000 metres on Anapurna, and 3,000 on Kilimanjaro. Great Hub!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith, I am blushing red here from your wonderful comments. I once did a survival training on that mountain where we had to build an igloo to sleep in for the night. We stayed 3 just for fun.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Chris I am learning how to write in such a way from a master: You. Your flash fiction is amazing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita, yes I grew up on the mountain depicted and climbed it at 13 years old. For us it was just the backyard expanded. They are the San Francisco Peaks located in US Southwest.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Excellent off the beaten take on the Challenge thrown by Bill Holland. I liked your take and this adventurous share.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much, I am for sure a bit "off the beaten" whatever so you nailed me right on the money.

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