The Mountain – She is Calling

Post by blogger | June 8, 2009      

Last evening, I noticed cold front weather had skiffed a layer of white over what had been the summer’s dirty snow, up on Mount Sopris above our town. It’s been brown up there for so long, I’d forgotten how new nieve on a summer mountain glows and beckons like the bright windows of your home when you pull in at night after a long day on the road, and know your loved one is up waiting for you.

Yeah, that mountain up there is calling my name. I know she’s friendly most of the time, even sexy. But she’s cold and dangerous too. Sometimes, the thought of her up there without me is too much to bear. Who’s she with? What are they doing? Is the snow good? How was it climbing in that wind before the storm broke? Every detail please!

No matter where I am in the world, if a cliff rises above, I think about climbing it. No, actually, I’ll WANT to climb it. I’ll want it bad. I will pick out routes, wonder who’s been up there, try to guess where the legend lines go if it’s a famous rock. Likewise, when a mountain lofts in the distance, in a nanosecond I’m studying the ridges and walls like a college student cramming for finals. My thoughts go hyper, figuring which line goes; which is the classic alpine, which is the hardman’s wont.

And if something up there is glowing white? Oh boy, the skiing mind wilds like a teenager at Copacabana checking out the latest fashions (or lack thereof). Sometimes, it is torture that even Dick Cheney would approve of. And never mind keeping the eyes on the road.

That’s our lot as alpinists. We’re in love, but our paramour is so often out of reach. When we’re not with her, we rage on about about conservation, preservation, global warming, muscle power vs petrol, bad sleds, crowding and all that junk like a bunch of worn out and barstool-perched cowboys breaking down their past fifty years of wives. We even wallow in guilt, and try to balm our itchy emotions with big important sounding things like “social activism.” Or, jealousy? We hear about friends getting the goods on the alpine, and who cares who is flirting with whom down here on the ground!

Yeah, set all the blogging and yammering aside for a moment. For most of us, when you get down to it, we just want to get close to to the one we love. Her windows, they are glowing.


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19 Responses to “The Mountain – She is Calling”

  1. Ryan Jennings June 8th, 2009 10:16 am

    Very well stated and oh so true. We are particularly blessed with our beauty, Mt. Sopris.

  2. Jordan June 8th, 2009 10:36 am

    Lou this might be one of my favorite posts ever on your site.

  3. Andy_L June 8th, 2009 10:47 am

    I hear the call as do you, the rustle of the wind in the pine tops, the rush of fresh meltwater coming from a glacier, the gentle kiss of snowflakes on your forehead…

    Luckily, I also hear the call of the Pacifico and my Sofa, which keeps me from stripping naked and running off forever into the wild. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for a little Menage a trois…

  4. Lou June 8th, 2009 10:51 am


    Yeah, I’ve been getting tired of just writing gear reviews and trip reports, and didn’t want to just go repeating content from somewhere else, as bloggers sometimes fall into…

    But, more gear reviews coming soon!

  5. Luann White June 8th, 2009 11:17 am

    A true poet!

  6. Rob June 8th, 2009 11:21 am

    Awesome blog. With the coming of spring poets bloom with the flowers and memories of winter melt into the stream of the soul.

  7. Jordan June 8th, 2009 11:23 am

    I’m coming by later for the autographed version.

  8. Ben W June 8th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Beautifully said. You’re words have amplified in me a longing that has been particularly acute as of late. Can I really handle another year in NYC? Blarg! I’m losing it!

  9. Mike Carr June 8th, 2009 1:46 pm

    “how new nieve on a summer mountain glows and beckons like the bright windows of your home”

    So amazing and true – 4 of us skied the north face of North Maroon Sat and after looking at so much brown stuff this spring, the new snow seemed super saturated, brilliant white. Stunning to look at and remarkable in how you couldn’t look away, it tried to pull you in. Very well put Lou – we need more like this.
    (PS – Thanks again for the emails last week).

  10. Lou June 8th, 2009 2:06 pm

    Suddenly, a mass exodus from NYC, all blamed on WildSnow? Shoot, maybe we’d make it into the New York Times!

  11. Lou June 8th, 2009 2:09 pm

    Jordan, sorry, I’m on the third floor of a condotel in Vail! Soon to be hiking and GPSing some hut trails, I hope. Vail, ’tis interesting. I’ll leave it at that (grin).

  12. jon June 8th, 2009 3:36 pm

    lou, i was reading your review of the G3 onyx. i was curious how often you think people might use the ability of the binding to switch from ski to tour mode without coming out of the binding. whenever i switch from ski to tour i put my skins on which means i need to get out of the ski. would this function be for folks who want to try to scoot along without skins on a final flat section of descent back to the car? am i missing the point?


  13. Jordan June 8th, 2009 4:25 pm

    It’s nice to be in tour mode without skins on when you are scooting along a flat or barely down hill section as there is less resistance, and you can combine kicking and gliding with skating and what not. And for sheer laziness. It’s kind of like when you leave your skis on for that little 5 foot rock section…or maybe that’s just those weird 14er guys…who knows.

  14. Lou June 8th, 2009 4:59 pm

    Like I’ve been saying, for some people it’s a big deal, others could care less. Depends on terrain, and sometimes how the other people you’re with are doing things…

  15. Mark June 8th, 2009 7:30 pm

    I’ve been married eight years, and the worst (best?) example of lusting after the white and lofty aretes fell upon the days of my honeymoon in the amazing Canadian Rockies. Driving was a dangerous proposition as I peered googly eyed out the side windows and made corrections to stay on course while my new bride gave me somewhat searing looks. On my commute to work I constantly peer at the peaks and think what line I need to investigate. Perhaps this is the mountaineer’s cross to bear…?

  16. Craig June 8th, 2009 9:14 pm

    Thanks for the advice about the bacon. We needed and used all we took!

  17. Rick June 8th, 2009 10:57 pm

    Awesome. Just awesome.

  18. Bill Kerig June 9th, 2009 9:14 am

    The glowing windows of home… what a nice little bon mot to find on this rainy day in the lowlands…

    Nice work, Lou.


  19. Paul June 9th, 2009 10:06 pm

    You wonderfully celebrate place and the imagination of it and being in it. I’m sure this sticker helped to keep some of our local high schoolers/backcountry “dawn patrollers” (even squeezing some turns in before class) company on their bike trip down the length of Idaho.
    Southern Idaho around Bruneau Dunes and the Nevada border might have had them conjuring up images of Kootenay cold smoke from this winter and dreams about next. It’s all about the mountains and the dreams and the poetry, right? Rene Daumal: “One climbs, one sees.”

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