I couldn’t help smiling at the irony of rappelling a route called Sunshine in the dark in a total electrical storm.
I couldn’t help smiling at the irony of rappelling a route called Sunshine in the dark in a total electrical storm. Every so often the sky would illuminate for half a second as the lightning struck. Booming echoes bounced around the cirque. Near the end of the rappels, the hail began. Never have I experienced pelting like this before. Neither of us could move for about 30 seconds. We just burrowed deep in our hoods and took the beating. Penance, perhaps, for sneaking into the dragon’s den and stealing the gold.
Arriving back at the ghostly, deserted Applebee Campground, there was only one other tent swaying in the cold night drizzle. Our friend Ian Welsted had left us a bottle of Ballantine’s scotch. We uncorked it, took a couple swigs each and passed out, the saga complete.
We spent the next couple days in Golden, B.C. I frequently returned to a spot by the Columbia River, gazing out at the churning green water, thinking about what I had gained during the whole process. The realization of the long-held dream was hard to fathom. I was sure of a few things, though: I’d forged a deep friendship with Segal, had the chance to dig deeper than ever before, on the most stunning alpine rock wall I’d ever seen. It was a rare gift.