In 1980 I walked into a sporting goods store. It was one of the only “real” sporting goods stores in my small town. Sunset Sports was the name.
They sold everything from cleats for football to high end hunting scopes and rifles…and everything in between.
I’d come in the store for a backpack, so I could go up in the WindRiver mountains, both hunting and fishing. Just for a few days.
Sunset Sports was great because they had people who would wait on you, who knew everything about what you wanted…and if they didn’t, they’d find
someone who did.
I just wanted to buy a pack, a backpacking pack. Sunset didn’t have everything, but they always had EXACTLY what you needed.
So I got my silly backpack, and it was nice. As I was checking out, one of the managers asked me if I would like to donate to a “K2 Attempt”. I
had no idea then what “K2” was. I knew ‘Everest’, but had no idea about this mountain in Pakistan called “K2”.
I donated some money (not much, cuz I didn’t have much). I was a big skier then, and my skis were “K2’s.” Big deal right? I had no idea.
Weeks later, after my fun trip up into the mountains of Wyoming, I left to go to college. I always wondered what happened to those guys.
Later, I would see movies about a mountain called “K2”, and how few ever returned from trying to climb it. I would learn how it was called
“Death Mountain”, “Savage Mountain”
and the “place where climbers go to die”.”
Okay, now I’m interested. Back then it was just some ‘mountain’ in some far away place I didn’t even know where it was, in a culture so far
from anything I knew it was unimaginable!
Several years after I left for college my favorite sporting goods store, Sunset, closed, just not enough business in our small town.
As all businesses sometimes do, they morph into other businesses and Sunset was no different, but they were forever different.
There was no Internet then, no way to find out what ever happened to people and situations.
I would learn both of my (friends/ maybe just nice guys I knew) were killed on K2, and no one from their team made the summit. To this day there is
very little information about what happened to their expedition other than an avalanche at high altitude in a severe storm (which is pretty much the
norm for K2).
They just vanished. No one really cared. (I’m sure their families did, but they were just a statistic in a far away place to most).
To me that was the things of dreams. So far away. So very far away. The courage that must have taken.
And then there’s “K2”
The things legends are made of!
edit on 8/16/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)