Nick had been my partner on Liberty Crack (V, 5.10 C1) the previous summer. He had told me then how he had absolutely no desire to climb big, gnarly alpine routes. In winter and spring he skis obsessively, having snagged elusive descents of several steep faces on the volcanoes of the northwest. In summer and fall he tends toward crack climbing where he has climbed several local test pieces, including some impressive on-sights. Most importantly though, Nick always has an infectious energy and a positive attitude for what he is doing. So basically Nick was the perfect partner, experienced on glaciers, comfortable on steep snow, strong on rock, and he had the right mindset. Despite this he wanted nothing to do with it.
So I started to bug him constantly and eventually he agreed to "talk" about it. Over beers I explained why I thought it was a good idea: relatively close, cheap, big, granite, etc. Apparently I was convincing because he said something to the effect of, well I'm not doing anything else at that point in the year so why not?
Nick quite his job and took off to go ski in Washington for a couple months. I kept looking for people to split the chopper with but started to lose hope. I figured that the back-up plan would be some rock climbing in the Bugaboos and maybe some more alpine climbing in the Canadian Rockies, which sounded pretty cool too. Then I got the email saying that I had been awarded the grant and thought, "well shit, I have to go now."
In the meantime Nick ran into his old friend Chris who he knew from Yosemite while they were both up in the North Cascades. They got chatting and realized that they were both looking to climb in the Waddington that summer. So Nick put me in contact (since he was skiing out of a van in who-knows-where) and Chris and I figured out the time and other details. All of a sudden it looked like a trip to the Wadd was a near certainty.
|Will we get to the chopper!? Will we manage to get everything inside? Gee, I wonder. Photo by Nick Mestre.|