Imagine a room with a dozen or so round top tables for 8 covered with hotel white cloths- a fitting scene for a banquet - place every imaginable family constellation around them. Now, bring in a dozen or so boxed pizza's, ice bucket full of your-favorite-soft drinks. String tibetan prayer flags and hang a big sign: Climb Against the Odds Shasta 2007 and then hand out crayons and markers and big poster boards. Voila !moms,dads,partners,daughters,husbands,sons,cousins,in laws, brothers, sisters, friends, grandparents, uncles,aunts and little kids (did I miss any?) with the great determination of first graders making WELCOME HOME SIGNS for their climbers. All of them personalized , many of them over the top clever. One table full of BCF Staff adopting every climber whose families were unable to travel to Shasta so that this morning at 10:30 am a contingent of cheering, loving supporters will be up at Bunny Flats to greet the dusty, tired, exuberant team. We'll send up ' sherpas' to help carry down their heavy loads and have boxed lunches and a celebration waiting for them at the trail head.
The scene I just described greeted me as I arrived a bit late to the party, having come from the emergency room with climber Nancy Andrews who was escorted off the mountain from 13,000 +foot point on MIsery Hill. Nancy is a survivor of a rare form of eye cancer and had suddenly she lost vision in that eye. Assisted down by Jen Carr and doc Sean, her sight started to restore as she dropped altitude and we were all relieved when the doc predicted that by today the sun blindness would resolve. Her partner Amy raced up the freeway but by 8 pm or so both of them arrived at the Sign Party to the wild cheers of the assembled crowd. Nancy is one strong woman, dealing with what might totally freak out any of us, with a kind of grace that I imagine comes from her own inner strength and her experience with cancer.
More on the boulder-dashers later.
Jeanne R headed out for another soy latte.