By now you have probably read about the infamous half-naked climber of the First Flatiron. He’s been rescued and he’s been charged with possession of a controlled substance: a mushroom, believe it or not. But the amusement hasn’t stopped there.
This has been a source of light-hearted humor for me in what has been an otherwise hectic week at work. It’s also made me think of controlled substances in wilderness, be it alcohol or drugs.
Immediately I thoughts of David Roberts bringing the “victory brandy” on his Alaskan expeditions spring to mind. (Yes, I know, it’s scary that my mind jumps right into climbing history!) I also think of Jon Kraukauer smoking a joint on the Stikine Ice Cap during his solo trip to Devil’s Thumb. In both instances, there was some regret from enjoying them, mainly brought on from exhaustion and some level of dehydration. Not that there is ever a perfect condition to partake, of course.
Bringing the intoxicant of choice into the wilderness (or the fringe in the case of the First Flatiron,) sounds tempting and really ought to left to a rest day. This “half-naked” climber clearly was not resting. I have this horrible image of Zach Galifianakis (the character Alan) running around the apartment from The Hangover running through my head.
To the half-naked climber, in the future I would recommend doing what I prefer to do: Enjoy the day in the backcountry, only carrying the essential gear, and after completing the route or hike, guzzle some water and go back to town for some pizza and beer.
There are few things as satisfying as those two things! I think you’ll be hard pressed to disagree.