Thursday, March 14, 2013

Companionship and Adventuring

I thought that the two summit scenes in Forever on the Mountain tied perfectly into Clark's question from last class.  Joe Wilcox feels an emptiness at the summit--perhaps he is left unsatisfied by the sensation we see in Blum's text (stand on the mountain for moment, footsteps swept away, etc, etc) but perhaps it is more than that.  He summits with the Coloradans, three men he neither likes nor particularly trusts, and it is only then that he understands why Jerry Clark stayed behind.  Joe tried throughout the trip to bind the 12 men together as a team, and could not initially get why Jerry would waste a perfect weather day to wait to summit with his friends.

The second summit gives the climbers an entirely different feeling.  Jerry and the other five who summit insist they all reached the top at the same time, implying that they waited for each other and linked arms to cross the finish line.   They sound elated on the summit, "A-OK!" and seem altogether more fulfilled (although as we see, wasting that precious day of good weather proves to be their downfall).

Was it simply that the team had become so fractured that only a summit achieved with friends and trusted climbers would appear satisfying?  This is possible, because we see Joe hold back some of his annoyances with Howard simply so as not to spoil his summit day.  Perhaps it is only in this unique case that companionship is so important in the adventure experience.  Joe's feeling of accomplishment is hollow, while Jerry's is elated.  This is to isolated and bizarre a case to extrapolate for all adventures, but does this help us get any closer to the initial question?

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