A journalist observes life in the far north.
The Snow Dogs have come down from the mountain. They all look fine. Skinny but fine. They sat down to a raucous dinner—Ramin ate two dinners—last night and then tore it up at the Fairview Inn in Talkeetna. Ramin never did have mountain sickness, he said. It was just a bug that was exacerbated by the high altitudes. Pretty scary even so. Ramin said he slept sitting up when his oxygen saturation went down into the 50s percent. He said that an oxygen saturation rate that low is a crisis in the operating room. Chris said his eye is fine. He used some eye drops that had formed ice crystals and scratched his eye. I think Mike is the only climber who did not lose weight. Alec lost the most, about 15 pounds.
The climbers found a cache that had been left up high since 2003 and brought some gear back down. Alec said it will be a coat and snow pants for me. I want to go to the climbers’ cemetery in Talkeetna and see if the gear belonged to a climber who died on the mountain.
Everyone but Shahid wants to come back and try again. Shahid’s wife is here and they are planning to do some touring of Alaska before returning to Chicago.
Alec brought a rock down from 17,000 feet where he proposed marriage. He plans to polish it and put a message on it. He calls it our proposal rock.