With elevated breathing and tensed arm muscles, I reached the base of the ice slab and firmly stomped my crampons into the snow, feeling the slack loosen against my harness.
"Lowy did you get some good pictures?" God, I hate myself for saying that.
The first statement that came out of my mouth after my first awesome, challenging ice climb was about the proof that it had happened? Ick.
As soon as I said it I cringed inwardly. Later that the day, on the bumpy van ride back to campus, I started thinking about why that was my initial thought.
I had genuinely enjoyed the day. It was awesome. I was on a natural high- I loved finding a new way to pump my adrenaline. I loved the satisfaction of a good secure swing of the ice pick and a sturdy foot chip to help you advance. I loved the feeling of being hot and sweaty beneath my huge clothes in icy weather. So I was enjoying the moment, right?
But I also wanted to preserve the memories. I wanted to show friends who I wish could have been there what it had been like. I wanted to see what it looked like when I was at the top of the climb. So how much of adventuring is really just for the adventurer and how much is for the street cred?
When narrating an extreme adventure, is it only a narrative if it is recorded in some form?
Herzog calls Marcel Ichac the "trump card" of the Annapurna expedition, in charge of filming, photography and general documentation (2-3). Does every adventure need an Ichac? With new and expanding technology like a Go-Pro we can all be our own Ichac's now.
Or the "first" descent of peak 7601 in backcountry Alaska... why is the documented descent assumed to be the first? Do those who completed that route before the video was taken feel resent toward the boarder in the video? Or do they not care because when they did it, it was for them and them alone? The combination of ice climbing and reading Annapurna this past week has made me interested in questioning why we document our adventures and who for.