Mountains of Emotion

Desolation, Despair, Terror & Torment.
Not emotions inspired by watching the Fox News network, but names of mountains in the Cascades.

One of the fascinating things about mountains are their names. Amazing peaks like Rainier, Fitzroy, or Waddington get named for stuffy British officers or the wealthy backers of exploratory sailing trips. The Devil's Thumb evokes the feeling of the first people to contemplate an ascent, although given the peak's forboding tone, perhaps it was merely the day's decorum which prevented the name from referencing a certain more lateral digit. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Mount Aspiring couldn't be named more perfectly, drawing climbers to it like, well, like climbers to a beautiful mountain.

Apart from the volcanoes, the Cascade Range has some of the most evocative and telling mountain names anywhere. After coming back from a 4-day trip to the Picket (think fence) Sub-Range, I couldn't help but to feel some of the emotion shared by past generations of climbers and explorers. We climbed on Mt. Terror, and we climbed on Inspiration Peak. I've been on Bonanza, but yet to summit Triumph. I've had fun on Forbidden and Storm King, but been scared off Formidable, Fury, Challenger, Phantom, and Ghost.

And after a fairly epic descent down 4000' of slide alder in the Terror Creek drainage, I think even watercourses can sometimes be fully deserving of such a moniker. Naming somewhere like that after a stuffy British officer just wouldn't feel the same.

On Thursday October 1, in Bellingham WA, I'll be giving a movie and slideshow about my trips to Alaska and Patagonia. Free gear will be given out and witty heckling is encouraged!

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