I buried my face deeper into my windbreaker desperately attempting to shield myself from the bitter gusts chapping my face. Like a turtle I stood, withdrawn to its shell, huddling from the outside world, stiff from the chill. I teetered on the sides of my feet flailing to regain the balance that the wind had taken with it. For a moment my ungainly nature threatened to launch me over the side of the mountain I had only just conquered. The guides kept telling me to eat, to drink, to stay warm, but these actions would require my peeling the gloves from the frost bitten hands that lay numb and dangling at my sides. I looked down at those worn mittens which had started out the journey seven days earlier with a black gloss. They now cover my hands, soggy, stripped, and glum with a hole on the last finger allowing the cold passage to seep into the rest of my body.
They boasted it was fun. They convinced me it was easy. They claimed it was an adventure.
The fabrications that had slipped from the tongues of my friends and family haunted me. Looming out from the mist blanketing the mountain was a porcelain white bowl which scooped far beyond my vision. The ice pick I gripped feebly in one hand burned the tips of my fingers as the frozen steel sliced at my gloves. Hanging limply from my body, my beaten pants looked as though made of fine silk as they shone in the blinding sunlight. A sparkling blanket stretched ominously from my toes to the horizon. That endless sheet terrified my soul; a simple slip would send me gliding into oblivion. Here I stood, atop a peak, but no view could be prized from my climb, for thunderous clouds blocked all but the Grand Teton. Those ominous cumulonimbi marched toward my being in a slow procession, gliding across the grey sky.
The wind brought me wisps of frantic yelling, faces told me of the urgency, a current of bodies dragged me toward the very brink of the slope. Staring petrified over the peak of my existence, a shiver ran through my core. I squinted at my barren surroundings, searching for another route. Still clinging to whatever I rested within my grasp, I lied down on my stomach with my ice pick at the ready. For a moment I pondered if I would drop down to Hades in a matter of seconds or just continue tumbling through the fog for a century. My sense of time urged me; the pressure of the looming storm forced me to the inevitable. I let go.
Speeding down the side of the mountain, I had the peculiar sensation of being nothing more than an insect on the face of that mountain. I was in a crawling position with my feet desperately digging into the snow, every fiber of my being focused entirely on clutching the ice pick that anchored me. I could not see the beautiful mountains that surrounded me on all sides or the rising Sun. No, in a cruel method of torture my eyes were forced to rest on the feeble scrap of metal that held my life. Order was lost. Snow flooded into my jacket, up my shirt, in my helmet, down my pants. Yet through this, I was made to stare intently at the only object laying in my view. I was burdened with watching the tip of the pick dip and rivet through the snow, jump up, and catch the snow again. It was an awful game watching it flutter and dance, tossing me to and fro, teasing me. My thoughts were paralyzed; the only idea present in my mind was that of surviving and keeping the jagged pick with its many gouges buried deep from sight. My instincts took over forcing my body to jam the steel pick deeper into the side of the mountain in a frantic attempt to slow my descent. My weak arms began to tremble under the force, the fatigue started to wear, my grip slid down the handle. Thrashing now, I dug my feet into the snow, but that just whipped the snow around me in a hurricane of stinging slush. So I plummeted downward, sinking, skidding, slipping in agony.