I'm still enjoying reading "Wild Stories: The Best of Men's Journal- 2003"and finding it hard to finish a story because I become attached to the story and the main character in whichever story I'm reading at the moment. Many of the stories I do a search afterwards to see where they are today. In the story called "A Mountain of Trouble" Jeff Lowe is a climber who is at the top of his game, the best. Because of bad business decisions he was going bankrupt, personally at the bottom going through a divorce and owing all his friends tons of money they invested into him. Suddenly, in the winter, he decides to pursue a very difficult ascent never done before- climb the North Face of Eiger in the Swiss Alps in winter. The story opens with him trapped for a few days in a cave he carved out in the North Face as avalanches and a snowstorm keep him penned in. He was poorly prepared with climbing gear because he had sold most of his stuff and he used supplies donated by climbing gear companies. Unused, untried equipment. He's cold, wet and running out of food supplies. In the morning after a few days he hears an unearthly vibrating music and to this day doesn't know if he heard it or imagined it. I won't give away the ending, but what made him a great climber is his total ability to deal with now. Today, what is right in front of him. Now 16 years later he has a mysterious illness like ALS and is in a wheelchair, but the way his companion girlfriend Connie Self talks of him and how he overcomes is amazing using the skills he learned as a great climber. Endurance to the end.
“His life as a climber has had a huge impact on how he deals with this,” Self says. “Climbing, you do the best you can with what you’ve got, from where you are, right now. You are focused in this moment on solving this next step, this next move. You’re not saying, ‘Argh, this shouldn’t have happened. Why is this crack ending here?’ If you’re doing that, all your creativity shuts down."