* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Down & Out at Swamp River Ridge

I had a good day on Tuesday, my first day home from a loooooong stretch of working.  It was yesterday that dumped me into Bluesville.  Why?  I have no idea.  Well, that's not true.  After the absolute JOY that was having a whole day at home on Tuesday, I think my brain and body finally responded to all the recent wear and tear and just went belly-up.  Plop!  That was it.  I got NOTHING done yesterday except cleaning off the dining room table (no small feat) and enjoying (while Maisy shook like a leaf) the major DELUGE of rain that came through in the afternoon.


Damn, damn, damn!  I wrote a huge, long post here yesterday and added 8, yes, EIGHT photos to illustrate the nearly 1" of rain Swamp River Ridge got in about 15 minutes on Wednesday . . . and just came in to add photo comments and then post . . . and it's all GONE!  Argh!  I don't have time to re-write it this AM . . . just know that I TRIED!  I'm hoping (cross your fingers, toes, eyes, and legs!) to get my laptop back today, though.  If that happens, I'll try to write tonight.
Happy Friday (feels like Monday to me after 3 days off)! 

OH!  Before I forget . . . the phone rang at 2:00 AM this morning, and, not recognizing the number, I let the machine get it (expecting it to be a wrong number) but jumped up when I heard Tom's climbing partner & roommate's voice!  He (being the experienced Arctic explorer and having the connections AND knowing how to use a satellite phone once one could be borrowed from said connection) was going down the calling list for the other three members of the team.

They are all fine & healthy (whew!).  He said they are "a good team".  They are at 17,000 feet and expect to summit tomorrow, Saturday (Denali is 20,300 ft., I think).  They're having some issue with sunburn and blistering on their faces and so need to stay covered up but their lungs are fine, etc.  The temperature is -10° (F) during the day, but they lose the sun for a couple of hours in the dead of the night when it's behind the mountain, and then the temperatures drop.

It's amazing how it's taken them about 13 days to summit (or, it will) which puts them ahead of schedule - Tom thought they'd summit around the 27th, 28th, 29th - but only 3 days to descend!  L said that I could expect a call from Tom on Tuesday when they'd be back down and in Talkeetna.  So, that's the update from them.  I wasn't expecting to hear from them until they were back down, and I didn't realize how relieved I'd be to hear that all is going well!  I'm glad they called.  :)

I stole this photo from the mcw.edu website, but it's taken from 17,000 ft. - where they are now.



  1. It is SO frustrating to lose a post AND photos!!! That happened to me just the other day... Grr.

    Good for you for doing nothing. You need to do nothing more often... or at least do the stuff you WANT to do so it doesn't feel so much like work.

    I didn't even know Tom was climbing (looks like I've got some catching up to do!) Glad to hear everyone is doing well.

  2. Glad to hear they made it safely! The quick descent is because HAPE/HACE (pulmonary edema, cerebral) take a while to develop, days after the ascent sometimes, and the only cure is descent, so by doing so quickly, they improve their ability to stave it off. (my Dad was an ice climber, so I picked up random stuff LOL). Hope you get your energy back soon, I know what you mean about too many days off - after not doing anything in all this heat I just turn into a bag of laziness!

  3. Middle of the night phone calls are rarely good news: glad your news was good. :>)

    I feel ya on the lost post. :(

    Good luck and well wishes to the climbers.

  4. Crazy! I'd forgotten he was going on this expedition. I hope they are careful and have good weather. Great picture...so beautiful.


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!