Okay, we can't climb... so what to do?

  • Its definatly a great book I am just chicken shit about that kind of stuff.. afraid to find out what happens next... the exception for me is carl haisen because its mostly a comedy and I know the good guy is going to win. Ironically I mostly read non fiction military books and climbing books and somehow am ok with real people having terrible things happen to them.

  • It has occurred to me a couple times to start a "What are you Reading?" thread but I was unsure anyone did that anymore. By reading I mean "print material" such as novels and stories, historical non/fiction. As contrasted to shorter add/adhd war fer' eyeballs stuff typical on much of the 'Net. So by all means do carry on with yer' book club discussions and reviews. If we get much uptake I will fork to dedicated thread.

    In the meantime, Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs, & Steel seems more than a bit apropos fer' the times. Particularly the "Germs" bits. Years after initial publication available used in good condition fer' a mere pittance at Thriftbooks. 👍

    Oh yeah, I guess it also got made into a PBS Documentary in 2005. Never saw that. Would be interesting. But then we'd also need a "What Are You Watching?" thread..... 😉

    @FritzRay Have you read any of David McCullough's works? Figure you likely have but if not, recommended. 👍

  • @NickG said in Okay, we can't climb... so what to do?:

    Its well written and suspenseful but I would be more content if everyone just climbed a bunch of cool shit and lived happily ever after...

    Well, yeah, but then the entire story would be: "Nick and Isa climbed some cool climbs and then went home for dinner."

    And, as much as you're not keen on crime novels, you also probably wouldn't bother to read "Nick and Isa climbed some cool climbs, and then went home for dinner", would you?

    So, where to start? Maybe with the fact that I'm not much interested in crime novels either. About 99% of them are mindless, formulaic, derivative garbage. What makes the other 1% worth reading is that they are not about crime, but rather about people. Which is what moved me to write the story you are reading.

    The trigger was the crash of the airplane full of pot into a lake in the Yosemite high country in 1976. At first, it was just a source of some decent weed. But as time passed, I began thinking about it as a personal question. As in: What would I do if I stumbled upon a crashed plane full of illegal drugs?

    Would it matter what the drug was? Would it matter if I thought I could never be caught? How would I deal with it? How would you deal with it?

    Now, to add a bit of background, as a young teen, drifting toward a lot of places not worth drifting toward, I was sort of adopted -- in a kind of Big Brother way -- by a cop. He'd married my father's cousin, and, with my dad's blessing, steered me away from some serious stupidity. During which time I learned a fair amount about police work.

    Then, sometime about 1973, I fled the prairies for the coast and wound up in Vancouver, where, since there was no readily available white water, I switched to rocks and mountains. And, a couple of years later, fell in with a regular climbing partner who wore blue to work and eventually became the senior detective in the Vancouver PD Drug Squad. At that time, Vancouver was the heroin capital of North America, so I saw a part of the world that very few people other than junkies, drug dealers, and cops ever see.

    And, final point, I was personally more involved in the seamy side of things than most people. If I hadn't found climbing, I'd have been dead or in jail a long, long time ago.

    So, two points: First, the underlying question of "What would you do?" had some serious personal overtones, and second, all the police work described in the story is real. Every sentence was vetted by the senior detective on the drug squad of the police department with the biggest drug problem in North America. So it was not some fat kid living in his parents' basement writing a "crime novel" between sessions of online gaming. It was real.

    None of which says you ought to like it. That's you. But enough people liked it that I don't mind whether you do or not. Just as I brew beer that I like, and if a friend likes or doesn't like it, I don't mind. But the story was taken by one of the world's big publishers of the day (Hodder & Stoughton), and published in hardback, paperback, translated for publication in five other languages, anthologized, and (in Japanese) serialized. It was also shortlisted for the Boardman-Tasker prize in mountain writing (eventually taking second) and for the Canadian crime writing award.

    End of story. I hope, after you turn the last page, that you will be happy you read it. If not, no worries. You post good stuff here on RPU, so it really doesn't matter whether you like or don't like a story I wrote 40 years ago.

  • David: Of course, not everyone can like what you have written, but rest-assured I did. I appreciate the background you just shared, for the cop & crime part of the story. When I read the novel, that stuff all jibbed with my lesser background with a Seattle Police detective friend.

    A long-ago employee, who became a bar-hopping friend, had briefly majored in law-enforcement at Washington State U. Tom introduced me to Bob, a Seattle cop, & his wife Sue. Bob eventually became a Seattle PD detective & worked his way up in the department. He had some great stories, which mostly got shared with me, after he retired.

    However, I remember showing up at their modest house for dinner in the mid-1970's. Bob was late, & Sue shared that he had been bored spitless lately. He was then a homicide detective & there had not been a homicide in Seattle for weeks. Bob soon appeared & was happy & animated. He was willing to share that there had been two homicides in Seattle the previous day, & suddenly his life had purpose.

  • @David-Harris I totally like it! I am just a big chicken sometimes. have to stop watching movies because of the suspense. I do better apparently with real life than suspenseful fiction 😉 the book is very well written and its obvious you know the climbs . of course I knew the idea came from that lake in Yosemite and the cop stuff is all legit. its awesome but stressful. I just hope that either way the guy and the girl get out of it OK I suppose the big likeable Gordon is going to get the chop at some point.... But I guess I will just have to finish it and find out 😉

  • So I stayed up all night finishing the book. and then the fcking woodpeckers are in mating season so they were banging on my tin roof this morning, Its a really good book. you left yourself set up for a sequel. I really like how you don't over explain the climbing and skiing scenes. I hate it when authors dumb down those kinds of scenes and over explain everything. it's much better if climbers and skiers and fighters and base jumpers and murderers just act like themselves.. If there is something that the reader might not understand let it be clarified in notes.. I would rather research something I don't understand than have it explained to me in the middle of the action.. you did a good job with that.

  • @NickG Must have been a good one if you pulled an all nighter finishing it up. The suspense of "what happens next" must have been killing you... 😜

    Now it seems I am the only one who has not read the thing.... 📖

  • Yes. its good. back to my other book that I started the other day Push. I know the outcome and other than a lost finger I don't think anyone is going to be murdered....

  • @NickG said in Okay, we can't climb... so what to do?:

    I hate it when authors dumb down those kinds of scenes and over explain everything. it's much better if climbers and skiers and fighters and base jumpers and murderers just act like themselves..

    Hi Nick. Thanks for your kind words, and I am glad you enjoyed the story.

    And, regarding your quote above, I agree 100%. It's great to read a story set against a background one is unfamiliar with. Whatever it may be -- horse racing, high finance, artillery combat... whatever -- as long is it is just background and not over-explained and spoon fed to you as though you were such an imbecile that you can't understand anything beyond TV sitcoms.

    And, likewise, the important thing is the people. Real people as opposed to fictional stereotypes. The best description of that idiocy I have read was written by Raymond Chandler many many decades ago in an essay he titled "The Simple Art of Murder." You can look it up (and you should, it's here: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b62d/a95d1fc9b94589375d364f3259f25c45ad8a.pdf ), but one of the things he really railed against was writers having their characters do things to advance a plot, rather than because that is what a real person would do.

    Arggghhhh! I could go on for pages. But, for me, good fiction is about the way real people deal with real problems. Like you, I mostly read (and write) non-fiction. But when I write fiction, I try to keep it real.

  • For whatever reason , somehow Tolkien managed to make his story real. It was not fantasy . Middle Earth was just as real as our world. All the Elf's, Orcs, Hobbits and dragons were just a normal part of that world.

  • @NickG said in Okay, we can't climb... so what to do?:

    somehow Tolkien managed to make his story real. It was not fantasy . Middle Earth was just as real as our world. All the Elf's, Orcs, Hobbits and dragons were just a normal part of that world.

    Okay, climbing is limited in this plague season, so a discussion of fiction could be appropriate. And your comment about Tolkien reminds me of a conversation I had with a couple of young (26 and 32) friends a while back. We somehow got on the subject of fantasy series that became hugely popular. I said that, way back when, I had of course read the Ring trilogy, but was not familiar with their generation's favorite -- the Harry Potter series.

    Like you, I felt Tolkien had done a good job of creating believable characters (of whatever species), but his story had never really connected with me because it was completely devoid of women. Yes, there was a token Elf Queen, but while the all-male cast of characters might be believable on an individual basis, the world in which they lived was really only half a world.

    How, I wanted to know, did the Harry Potter books fare in that regard. The answer was that, while Harry Potter lived in a world that was also occupied by women, it was still unrealistic because it had no gay characters.

    Looking ahead to the day when some fantasy series takes the world by storm, and includes main characters of both sexes and a variety of sexual preferences, I wonder what some of its readers will find missing?

  • @David-Harris

    Interesting takes.

    1. The whole elf queen deal was maybe the greatest love story of all time. Very well played in the movies too.
    2. Harry Potter is young adult and preteen fiction. Not really all that sexual. Of course there were several books so the characters entered adolescence. Other than the persistent undercurrent of tension between Ron and Hermione not much sex. Some dating and flirting, in very regulated and chaperoned fashion when Hogwarts hosts a ball. Loves blossom. But the main point of that whole deal is to set up the Wizard's Cup Competition. But your point is taken. I just do not think the author was being prudish as any heterosexual stuff is very minimal and light. Just not the focus of fantasy adventure targeting preteens young adults. But necessarily there to some minimal level to make it "real". Kind of refreshing, actually, considering a trawl thru any department store chain will be marketing thongs targeting preteens. Jeeze, let the kids be kids fer' a bit. But hey, sex sells and we sold our souls long ago.

    Have you ever read the Cyberpunk short story Burning Chrome, by William Gibson?

    It used to be author published online way bitd but it got famous and monetized by dead tree publishers so more difficult to find. I was able to download a pdf from Maryland Institute of Technology Archives.

    Great Digital Storytelling. Recommended. 👍

  • @toby said in Okay, we can't climb... so what to do?:

    Have you ever read the Cyberpunk short story Burning Chrome, by William Gibson?

    Read it? I think I had it memorized 35 years ago. Hardly the best of his work, but I still love it.

    I believe that William Gibson will eventually be seen as one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.

    Do you know the old saying: "You can shit the fans, but not the players"? Applies to any area of human endeavor from sports to astrophysics. So, when I, knowing very little about molecular genetics, or film-making, or electrical engineering am blown away by something I read or see, the knowledgeable expert would roll his eyes and mutter something about "impressionable gumbies".

    But when I first encountered Gibson I was already a very good writer. And my response -- often aloud -- as I read his work was "WTF!!! How did he do that!!!"

    He did things with words that no one had done before.

  • @David-Harris Alrighty, then! It is settled!! @NickG and @FritzRay ya' gots a new reading assignment blessed by @David-Harris. I've not read any of Gibson's other works. Seems I should.

    Speakin' of punks.... Ever sip a little Steampunk? Intoxicating.

  • Enough about words. Today was a day for action. Mari went soloing at the Lake Bluffs today, but I felt like riding, so I set out to explore the Penticton Maze.

    Why is it called the Maze? One look at this screenshot (from TrailForks) and it's pretty obvious that it couldn't be called anything else...

    Trailforks map.png

    Three seconds into it (yes, literally three seconds), on the easiest trail in the whole area, I ate dirt. No idea how it happened -- sure, slightly steep, but just bare dirt -- but suddenly my front wheel went left and I went down. Weird.

    No apparent damage, so I carried on and, despite access to TrailForks, I eventually lost my way and wound up somewhere other than where I'd planned. But so what? Fun riding on blue trails that would be green anywhere else, and both Mari and I made it home safely.

    Well, "safely" if that term includes bruised ribs. Didn't feel it at the time, but I must have banged a rib either on my handlebar or a rock, cuz there is a definite tender spot.

    If you added it all up, there would be close to 100 km of trails in that little square mile. Crazy.

    Here's a shot from one of the many times I had to dismount and try to figure out where I was.


  • Finally talked Isa isto taking a break from sewing masks. She has made and distributed over 400 so far. We went and investigated Mt WishIcouldtellya which is about 5 miles from her house.
    nice short skin to the summit.
    and some bark eating turns.
    and another lap.
    Being careful 😉
    after 4 laps it was time for dinner by a pond with the ducks and geese.

  • A little solitude at the trabin (our term for our humble singlewide in the hills) was just what the situation called for.
    I set a loop track out of deck to keep the kids occupied and went for a couple solo jaunts just to get some air.

    Waiting for the corn to ripen and/or the light to get right on Pilot-Index peaks. Never did get the proper lighting, and the sun held on just long enough to make some corn el dente.

  • @WyoRockMan? I don't claim to be any kind of expert on Wyoming, but that terrain, kind of rings a bell. Upper Hoback?

  • @FritzRay No sir. South end of the Beartooths, just this side of the Montana border. Our "trabin" is in a small court along the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. A stone's throw from Cooke City, when the road is open.

  • When it's clear can you see Piolet? Seems like you have a wonderful place.

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