Posted by: davepidgeon | January 28, 2009

A Mount Washington brotherhood

What is it about the articles at the back of an issue of National Geographic? I often find those to be the most interesting pieces as oppose to the main features highlighted by the cover. You know the articles I’m talking about here. They start on like page 100 with some but not much fanfare.

This month’s issue features a story by staff writer Neal Shea, a native Granite Stater who returned to New Hampshire for a winter romp up Mount Washington. But what makes this piece memorable is how Shea ties the struggle against vicious conditions with the task of mending fences with his younger brother:

For Jon and me, Washington was always the Everest of the East Coast, its ferocious potential irresistible. My three brothers and I grew up south of Boston, and we learned the basics of mountaineering on Washington. We competed there, against each other and our peers, stacking up ascents in ridiculous conditions, trying to distinguish ourselves in the way of brothers everywhere. I was a teenager, the oldest of us, when I began climbing it alone in winter; Jon, the youngest, pestered to tag along. I was annoyed, even angry. Few relationships match the intense closeness of brotherhood, and I didn’t want to cede territory. Back then it had already begun: We were more rivals than friends, our tempers driving us apart. The mountain was one more wedge in the crack

Worth the read. One of the best accounts about the White Mountains I’ve read. And enjoy the poignant ending.


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