Summit Fever: What Drives Everest Climbers?

I'm mesmerized by world-class mountain climbing and would probably pursue it 24/7 if only I had the skills. Instead I pursue writing, an equally mad man skill. Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air is one of my favorite books. Here Dave Banks writes about "The Little Deaths" and what propels certain people to the top.  

In mountaineering, there is a phenomenon known as ‘Summit Fever’ in which the heightened anticipation of summiting out weighs all reasoning. It is a step into the Twilight Zone where one’s critical faculties take a leave of absence and reckless decision making begins. The boiling frog story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people toperceive significant changes that occur gradually - the premise is that if a frog is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, the animal will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

In Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air, he describes climbers so intoxicated by the drive to get to the summit that the common sense of survival gets discarded even when exhaustion, dehydration and bad weather becomes overwhelmingly evident – not to mention the absence of fellow climbers who have met their death.

Summit fever is not only limited to the tallest peaks in the world but can be found anywhere the human spirit is challenged- including the Sahara Desert.

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Conde Elevator, Your Wednesday Twitter Escape

Have I made it clear that we're coping with hell and I can't leave Seattle until September October at soonest? Did we discuss the rain?

So here's my favorite escape for today. Do not blame me if it does not involve paragliding on K2 or kayaking to Alaska along the Inside Passage.

I just discovered a genius Twitter guy who calls himself Conde Elevator. I'm figuring he's stuck in New York in a tropical heat wave where horrible people like Anna Wintour of Vogue are in the Hamptons. "See Nanny Diaries" or that movie that Anne Hathaway ruined, "The Devil Needs Prada."I actually love Anne, in or out of movies, but the role required a non-bubbly depressed young woman who might go down under the weight of a ego-sucking micro-manager. Did anybody doubt that Anne would perk up in the end?

Which brings me back to Conde Elevator, named of course for the elevator in Conde Nast headquarters, which I've actually ridden to Glamour Magazine (don't ask).

The great thing about Conde's Twitter stream is that it attracts the downtrodden who delight in sharing their own elevator experiences. Having worked in magazines for years, these Tweets speak to me:

@CondeElevator when I interned there, I heard lady on the phone: I’m sorry you’re in the hospital, but I really need those photos.

Girl #1: There should be an elevator that only goes to Vogue. Just up to the 12th floor and back down. Girl #2: totally.
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Kayaking with Seals in Seattle

I'm back in love with Seattle, despite our summer of rain, just rain. Well, actually, that pretty much describes the whole year.

What a thrill to paddle the Nisqually Delta, just an hour's drive from home. A bald eagle rests atop that timber to the left of me. We managed to get lost in the delta, headed back through high tide, wind coming up, sky darkening. Paddling got harder and harder.

But harbor seals kept popping up out of the water, every time I got tired, staring at me like helpful little dogs.

I hate the term, "spiritual experience," but I now understand why ancient mariners believed in mermaids. Native Americans in big black boats were pulling in their crab pots and nets, by the time we finally got back. The water was warm, so warm, I didn't even fasten my spray skirt.

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Want to Kayak Into a Soundgarden?

Since March 3, when tragedy struck my family, I have left town only once--for a travel blogger conference in Vancouver, B. C. Today I kayaked in the Lake Washington neighborhood where we raised our little boy and sailed by the Soundgarden that Chris Cornell named his band after in the grunge days. Here he is singing "Hunger Strike" with Eddie Vedder ...

If you want to learn the steps ...

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The Dog Days Are Over

Vicci Martinez, who's from my area, sang this song on NBC's The Voice, but didn't win. I still love her--and the song. So I looked up the original. Here you go, from Florence & The Machine.

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Goodbye Clarence Clemmons: "I know it's late but we can make it if we run ... "

Clarence Clemmons, saxophonist, E Street Band, died this week. He and Bruce Springsteen are awesome on this video, my favorite version of "Thunder Road"-- one of the world's great travel songs. Also see 10 best Clarence/Bruce Springsteen songs.

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