|David on the way up Peak Grand Union. Osborn's West Face is behind.|
Enter ADJUTANT. He is composed of a basal ganglia, with a few small lobes of cerebral cortex attached, two halves of a thalamus, and a brain stem.
ADJUTANT: "Kigscourt is now in session! All rise for the entrance of the Honorable Judge Adjudicator."
Enter JUDGE. He consists of a very large forebrain, essentially a telencephalon minus the diencephalon, with a noticeably bulging cerebral cortex.
JUDGE: "You may be seated. (gavels) Kigscourt is now in session! Adjutant, read the first case."
ADJUTANT: "Designation of Blame, KigsCourt v. Allapa and David P."
JUDGE: "Read the determination."
ADJUTANT: "It is the responsibility of Kigscourt to place blame upon an individual for FAILURE TO CLIMB Peak Grand Union on April 4, 2017. Co-defendants David P. and Allapa started out for the summit of Peak Grand Union upon this date, but failed to attain their goal of snow-boarding and skiing off stated summit. The dispensation of guilt to one or the other of stated individuals for not reaching the summit falls within purview of Kigscourt, sole jury, executioner, and adjudicator of blame in this matter."
|Peak Grand Union from the west. Looking east up Osborn's Western Cwm.|
JUDGE: "Prosecution, you may present your opening statements."
Enter PROSECUTION, a thalamus hitched to an imposing frontolimbic network. The superior anterior temporal lobe, the medial prefrontal cortex, and a septal region of the the subgenual cingulate cortex's are all brightly lit.
PROSECUTION: "Viewed from the south, Peak Grand Union barely qualifies as a mountain at all. The only reason it qualifies as the second highest peak in the Kigs is because a key col with barely 500 ft. of prominence exists between it and Mt. Osborn. Without that col, Peak Grand Union would be a just a point on the long northwest shoulder of Osborn. Peak Grand Union viewed from the north, now that is a different matter. However, FAILURE TO CLIMB the mountain from the north is not what's on trial here. Rather, FAILURE TO CLIMB from the south, the easy side, is on trial.
The two gentlemen you see here, David P. and Allapa, started out with everything in their favor: a basecamp at the bottom of the valley in the Cobblestone flats, excellent April snow conditions, a reasonably early start... well, when I say 'reasonably early', I should say 'relatively early'— they made it out of camp before 2 pm, which for this crew counts as an early start. Yet, eight hours later, the evening shadows found them turning around just short of the high point, just short of success.
Organs and thought concepts of the jury... Hands of the Executioner... I intend to prove today that Allapa— (points) —is solely to blame for the bail off Peak 4500+. I can show you that, beyond all reasonable doubt, Allapa undermined the success of the 2017 Peak Grand Union Expedition, through sloth, lack of discipline, over-medication, and dehydration. I am confident David P. will be exonerated for the bail once you are able to view the extent of the screw-ups perpetrated in series by Mr. Allapa." (rests)
JUDGE: "Defense may present its opening arguments."
Enter DEFENSE, of a similar construction to the Prosecution, but with a souped-up amygdala, and a stripped-down hippocampus.
DEFENSE: "Organs and thought manifestations of the jury, Hands of the Executioner, the law in this matter is very plain: Whoever first vocalizes the need for the bail gets the credit for the bail. And all parties are in agreement that it was David P. who first spoke up that it was time to turn around short of the summit. You, jury and executioner, have a responsibility to place the blame upon David P. No other verdict can be reached." (rests)
JUDGE: "Prosecution— you may call your witness!" (gavels)
|Peak Grand Union from the north, July 2018, on a subsequent failure to attain the highpoint. Westernmost glacier in North America right there?|
Enter Defendant #1, ALLAPA, a gangly assemblage of posterior cingulate cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and insular cortex, all of it underpowered due to a compromised fornix.
ADJUTANT: "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help yourself?"
ALLAPA: "As Narcissus to his reflection, I do."
PROSECUTION: "Mr. Allapa, would you like to tell the jury and the executioner what happened on the day of April 4, 2018, in the Kigluaik Mountains?"
ALLAPA: "Yeah man, well, it's like, we've been trying to bag this one little peak west of Osborn, you know. I call it Peak Grand Union, cause it doesn't really have a name, you know, but if you're viewing the range from the north, it kind of rears up over the Grand Union drainage. Much more spectacular from the North, by the way. Dr. Hopkins, the Last Great Giant of Beringia guy, or no, maybe it was that guy Kauffman, said the Grand Union drainage held one of only three bona fide glaciers in the Kigs. It's the westernmost glacier in North America. I don't really know what the criteria for a bona fide glacier—"
PROSECUTION: "Mr. Allapa... perhaps you can stick to the matter of the climb itself. We're trying to pin BLAME after all."
ALLAPA: "Uh... yes, of course. Well, so, David and I did everything right this time. We motored in our snow-machines on a Friday night and made a good camp down on the Cobblestone flats, at the base of the 5-mile long valley that runs due west from Mt. Osborn. I call that valley the Western Cwm of Osborn, which is, like, Welsh for a glacial cirque. Leonard and Lupe were there, which was really nice, cause those guys are a lot of fun.
"We got kind of a late start the next morning. Leonard and Lupe didn't join us for the climb. They packed up and head back to Nome, sucked away by the GLUE of TOWN. David and I melted snow for water. I took about a quart, plus one of those little mini-Nalgene bottles. We slogged and slogged. That valley is long man. I felt sorry for David, slogging on his big fat splitboard skis. I mean the split-board is great, don't get me wrong. It's just that if your snowboard is split, then it's no longer a snowboard, right? It's SKIS! I mean, just get a real pair of skis and learn to ski. Fine, so you got a split board, but now you're snowboarding about 10 percent of the time, and the other 90 percent you're ski—"
PROSECUTION: "Mr. Allapa..."
ALLAPA: "Uh, yes, sorry. So we slogged and slogged, and then it got little bit steep. I didn't make the same mistake as last time by starting up too soon. This time we went all the way up the 5-mile valley before heading up. It wasn't hard climbing or nothing. We were totally expecting to just ski off the top, no problem. But it's kind of a big mountain, you know. I mean, it's just about as big as Osborn. 4500 ft. versus Osborn's 4714 ft. It's Osborn's conjoined twin, really.
"So the sky started getting dark, and we were still about 300 feet below the summit. So we decided to bail, even though we were close. I had been moving like a zombie all day, so I didn't mind bailing. We took our skins off. David assembled his board, which, admittedly, he gets done very quickly these days. We turned around and skied down. All I could say was: 'Zero For Eleven on Peak Grand Union'. The thing I remember most clearly is the sweet taste of the water when we finally got down to the little place where water was burbling up from the creek.
"The Western Cwm is rather flat, really, so it took us a while to reach this one little bit of open water we had passed on the way up. David and I were so dehydrated. Water never tasted so good. We skied on back to our basecamp and had a good time, and motored back to Nome Sunday morning. I felt kind of lame, because it turns out we could have snow-machined all the way up the Cwm. How could I have known? We would have bagged that peak for sure if we could have just zoomed right up the valley. We should have turned around after a mile, gone back to camp and got the machines, and just blasted up to the base of the mountain."
|Lupe, Leonard, and David on a Friday night establishing basecamp in the Cobblestone Valley.|
JUDGE: "Does the defense wish to cross-examine?"
DEFENSE: "Mr. Allapa. Please tell the court what you said to David P. when the two of you decided to bail."
ALLAPA: "Well, I was feeling heavy as an accidental dump in your snow-pants, but I told David I would be willing to continue on into the darkness, and probably have a total painful epic for half the night, just for the sake of reaching the summit of this rather obscure and nebulous highpoint."
DEFENSE: "So you stated that you did want to continue to the summit?"
ALLAPA: "Well...yes, I suppose... well, kind of. What I really wanted was some water, but neither of us had any."
DEFENSE: "Mr. Allapa, at any time during the climb did David P. state his wish to descend?"
ALLAPA: "Well, yeah, where we turned around. He said something like, 'Well then, I'd rather take Option B," and Option B was, you know, going down. I was only to happy to acquiesce. Did I mention it was cold? Well, yes, it was, very."
DEFENSE: "Let it be noted in Kigscourt that David P. was the one to suggest going down. No further questions, your Honor."
|David split-boarding his way up the Western Cwm of Osborn. Photo is looking west toward the Oro Grande.|
Enter AUDIENCE, an unwieldy assemblage of medial pre-frontal cortex, medial posterior parietal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and raveled insular cortex as well. The whole thing keeps lurching from one side to the other, along an axis parallel to the corpus collosum.
AUDIENCE: "Frankly, I don't see why blame has to be placed in the first place. What's the point?"
"I heard it was his eleventh try on this peak (link). And it's nothing but another nameless bump on a ridge. It's not like it's Fitzroy, or something. Peak Grand Union... makes it sound like a real mountain. Why the hell is it taking him eleven tries?"
"My sympathies are entirely with David P. I'm married to a scatter-brain myself so I know what it's like to put up with one."
"It's a silly game he plays. It's supposed to be a type of bail filter he runs in his brain to make sure the bail is justified. It's supposed to help him get up the mountain, but he never gets up the mountain anymore."
"Talk about guilt and shame. You know, neither has any place in the mountains. Decisions have to be made."
"I get thirsty just thinking about it."
|After the bail, back where the water burbles up. Shadows of the Oro Grande moving up Osborn's West face.|
DEFENSE: "Defense calls... David P."
Enter DAVID P. a developing network of neurons spread across a variety of domains in the cerebral cortex.
PROSECUTION: "Objection! Since this trial takes place solely in non-corporeal mental space, any representation of David P. is a figment. Any testimony would be conjecture."
JUDGE: "Sustained. Defense, really? You want to drag David into this weird head trip?"
DAVID P.: "I assure you that if it were possible for me to be objectively represented, I would declare this trial a mockery of what amounted to a very good day in the you—"
JUDGE: "Sustained." (gavels)
Exit DAVID P.
|Photo taken from a small stance as I was climbing the central buttress on Mt. Brynteson, similar to these buttresses next door to the northwest. The rime was fantastic and one could solo with no fear.|
PROSECUTION: "Prosecution calls ALLAPA to the stand"
PROSECUTION: "Mr. Allapa, how many years would you say you have been practicing winter mountaineering? Winter camping, specifically."
ALLAPA: "Ugh... more days and nights than I care to think about it. The thought of it brings some pretty wicked smells to mind."
PROSECUTION: "Look, I have called you in to be our expert witness. You know-- the guy that knows everything about his field. So it's safe to say you're an expert on winter camping."
ALLAPA: "No, a complete goofer. But I did apprentice with Randy Waitman, master climbing guide, now a grizzled ascetic living in the middle of the Northern Boreal Forest with birds nesting in his ancient beard."
PROSECUTION: "Good enough. So, in your experience, what is the importance of hydration in winter mountaineering?"
ALLAPA: "Oh yeah, You have to remember to drink water. Like, one reason I flamed out so bad on that trip with David was I sort of forgot the rule that you have to drink water obsessively. You have to drink so hard you're filling a pee bottle a night. You have to drink until it's uncomfortable to drink more, and then keep drinking. Like on the West Buttress of McKinley where everybody is just peeing all the time, mega-hydration culture you know. Melting snow creates distilled water, and it's harder to hydrate with distilled water because of osmosis and stuff. It had been a while since I had been winter camping, and I just kind of forgot pee culture. I think that's why I was moving so slowly the next day when we finally got out of camp."
PROSECUTION: "No further questions."
JUDGE: "Get him out of my sight."
ADJUTANT: "I wish I could. But he is all-pervasive in this courtroom."
|King Mountain M-Bouldering circuit leading upwards towards top of King Mountain. One of the frequent go-to climbing destinations of the 2018 mixed climbing season in Nome.|
PROSECUTION: "Prosecution calls David P. to the stand."
JUDGE: "Now, really. Haven't we been through this?"
PROSECUTION: "I had a thought, sir."
JUDGE: "A thought. I see. Very well. I'll allow it. We miss David a lot, anyway. Conjure a figment."
Enter David P.
PROSECUTION: "Nice to see you, sir. It would be lovely to get caught up, but I'm afraid we find ourselves occupied with the matter at hand, the placing of blame. Now... on April 4, 2018, did you ever have to wait for Allapa?"
DAVID P.: "What do you mean by 'wait'?"
PROSECUTION: "Come now, Mr. Panepinto, you know exactly where I'm going with this. There's no need to protect your friend. Did you, or did you not, wait in the trail for an interval of five minutes or more, a series of five or more times, for Allapa to catch up with you during the five-mile approach ski to the southern slopes of Peak Grand Union on April 4, 2018."
DAVID P.: "Yes, by these terms, I did wait."
PROSECUTION: "In your estimation, could the reason for your having to wait be due to Allapa's obvious dehydration and failure to hydrate in the tent the night before?"
DEFENSE: "Objection! The night before is immaterial. Blame is to placed for April 4. That means April 4 only."
JUDGE: "Overruled. A pattern seems to be emerging."
DAVID P.: "The actual problem may have been he was hungover from the night before."
ALLAPA: "Guys, I'm uncomfortable with this. It's not right to be representing a nice guy with a figment of my imagination."
JUDGE: "I quite agree. (Turns to face the jury, and then remembers there is no jury in cases of blame) The witness may vanish back into the field potentiality from which you emerged."
Exit David P.
PROSECUTION: "Prosecution calls Leonard to the stand."
JUDGE: "Well, now that you've let the dogs in, why not? Conjure a figment."
Enter LEONARD, a dentate gyrus, parts of a hippocampus, a subiculum, with the parahippocampal gyrus strangely wired to the basolateral amygdala.
ADJUTANT: "Do you swear to filter your nervous electromagnetic fields so as to reproduce as close a facsimile to the the actual qualia and flow patterns that occurred on April 4, 2018 in the vicinity of Mt. Osborn in the Kigluaik Mountains, from as close a viewpoint to Leonard and Lupe's as can be reproduced by this narcissistic human mind, so help you God?"
LEONARD: "If you say so."
PROSECUTION: "Good morning, Mr. L. Thank you for taking the time to appear in Kigscourt today. You and Lupe were present on the snow-machine expedition to the Cobblestone River last April 4th?"
LEONARD: "That is correct, sir. We did a little camping for a night. Lupe and I took off in the morning cause we hadda be back in Nome. Those guys went for a trek up by Osborn. They stayed an extra night. We were long gone by the time they got down from the mountain."
PROSECUTION: "So you saw them off on their climb of the mountain?"
LEONARD: "Well, no. We took off on our machines before they made it out of camp. Genius there was having a hard time finding his mittens, and such. The usual."
PROSECUTION: "So the defendant has a reputation for dithering about?"
LEONARD: "Safe to say."
PROSECUTION: "How long do you estimate it took them to leave basecamp?"
LEONARD: "Hours. We had a long chat about school, as I recall."
PROSECUTION: "You and Mr. Allapa."
PROSECUTION: "No further questions. We have more than enough already.
JUDGE: "Defense, cross-examine?"
DEFENSE: "No need. This witness was not present the day of the ascent, and offers no credible testimony with which to place blame."
JUDGE: "Witness may step down."
|Time for one more run from the top of Newton.|
JUDGE: "Final statements!" (gavels)
PROSECUTION: "We are gathered here today to place blame upon one or both of two individuals who, on April 4, 2018, perpetrated a UNSUBSTANTIATED BAIL before reaching the high-point of their stated objective. This constitutes a CHICKEN-OUT under Kigsblog law. One stipulation of a CHICKEN-OUT requires blame to be placed for the bail. In the case of kigscourt vs David P. and Allapa, only one decision is possible. Allapa is to be blamed for the failure to summit. Allapa is to blamed for not bringing enough water. Allapa is to be blamed for not hydrating enough in the tent the night before. Allapa is to be blamed for BONKING and slowing down the climbing party the next day."
AUDIENCE: (whispering) "I heard it took him hours just to go to the bathroom."
PROSECUTION: "Blame rests squarely on Allapa's shoulders for taking too long to leave camp in the morning. This is a no-brainer. Kigscourt must find Allapa TO BLAME for the bail off Peak Grand Union on April 4."
DEFENSE: "Organs and thought manifestations of the jury, Hands of the Executioner-- The Prosecution is correct that this is a no-brainer. Kigslaw precedent clearly states that 'blame rests upon the individual who first suggests the bail by voice or gesture.' All lobes are in agreement that David P. first suggested the bail. BLAME is to be placed on David P. There can be no other decision."
DAVID P.: "I was manipulated! He was ready to go down as I!"
JUDGE: "Order! Does the defendant wish to make a statement? After all, this is all inside your head."
ALLAPA: "Yes, your Honor.
"Minions of my own brain, guilt-ridden thought processes, Hand of the Executioner— I would like to take this occasion to point out that all this is farce. Originally I meant to just send a text to David telling him he doesn't have to feel guilty about us turning back short of the high point, but the message turned into this blogpost instead.
"I hereby banish these ridiculous thoughts of BLAME to the Deleted Folder of our mind. All that matters is the beauty of the present moment, light glinting off tiny facets of snow crystals, the taste of cold Kigswater, blue sky.
"Peak Grand Union is not peak enough to make such a fuss over. The climb was not climb enough to merit a trial. The whole endeavor was motivated in the first place by a kind of boredom, a structure of climbing maintained from earlier days of climbing when the achievements were more real and the consequences more dire. It gets me out into the country, you know? We will certainly return to Peak Grand Union for a twelfth attempt. But here is logic for you: if the climb was not badass enough to be called a climb, then the CHICKEN-OUT cannot be called a CHICKEN-OUT.
"The verdict of the trial must be handed over to readers of Kigsblog."
DEFENSE: "Move to absolve all parties of blame!"
JUDGE: "So be it! Kigscourt is adjourned."
|Shadows of Mosquito Pass moving up Tigaraha. On the way back from Peak Grand Union, April 2018ow|