The high life
John Garrett and his childhood friends drove into the campsite that sat a few kilometres away from the looming ‘Mount Pine’ ready for their adventure. They stood in awe as the sun peaked over the horizon and the surrounding terrain was brought into sudden and sharp focus. The extensive lake below was of the bluest water, deep and cold. John gazed at the mountain shivering and afraid. The landscape of mountains wearing a cloak of deciduous forest, resplendent in autumnal golden hues, came right to the water's edge. Above there were the greens of the pines and from that arose the grey of millions of tonnes of granite, only softened by the headdresses of pristine snow. Higher up, not a hint of grey could peek through, it was simply brilliant white. Although John often climbed much smaller mountains in his childhood with his family, he never imagined himself climbing again after his father died. John’s hands were clammy and his blood turned cold. There was a glisten of cold sweat on his pale skin. He wanted to run back home, go back to bed where it was safe. Taking a deep breath, John followed his friends and headed towards the track that snaked through the forest.
John’s mother sat hunched on the couch with her hands over her face. Tears spilled from her hopeless eyes on to her hands and clothes. She had just received news that her husband, the mountain climber Joseph Garrett had died after scaling the tallest and most dangerous mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Twelve-year-old John overheard and slumped to the ice-cold tiles on the floor, his breathing laboured. His sobs were stifled as he tried to hold in his emotions, then overcome by a wave of grief, he broke down entirely, all his defences washed away by salty tears. He cried for hours until there was nothing inside but a raw emptiness that nibbled at his insides like a hungry rat. His beloved father had disappeared into the valleys never to be recovered, where light could not reach. John’s mother stretched over to him and squeezed him tight.
Joseph Garrett “The Mountain Mounter” was well-known, not only just in the climbing community but around the world. Everyone was fond of his excellent manoeuvring skills, amazing photography, rich descriptions and knowledge of the world’s most famed mountain views. Since birth, John had lived the shadow of his father. Whenever John met someone new he would hear them say “Wow! Your father was so famous!” “I wish I could have been you!” However, after the accident all those comments only caused him sorrow and he was scarred with a fear of heights. Every time he was high up he imagined his father falling and not being able to save...