Chapter 1: EVEREST SUMMIT MAY 10, 1996 — 29,028 FEET
Four hundred vertical feet above, where the summit was still washed in bright sunlight under an immaculate cobalt sky, my compadres dallied to memorialize their arrival at the apex of the planet, unfurling flags and snapping photos, using up precious ticks of the clock. None of them imagined that a horrible ordeal was drawing nigh. Nobody suspected that by the end of that long day, every minute would matter. (p. 11)
Everyone knows the public account of what happened on that expedition, but the truth is much stranger, and began to unfold way earlier…
The staggering unreliability of the human mind at high altitude made the research problematic. To avoid relying excessively on my own perceptions, I interviewed most of the protagonists at great length and on multiple occasions. When possible I also corroborated details with radio logs maintained by people at Base Camp, where clear thought wasn’t in such short supply.
What happened on the mountain was gnawing my guts out. I thought that writing the truth might purge Everest from my life.
There were many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act – a triumph of desire over sensibility. Any person who would seriously consider it is almost by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument.
The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway. And in doing so I was a party to the death of good people, which is something that is apt to remain on my conscience for a very long time.
(Jon Krakauer, Seattle, November 1996, p. XVIf.)
CAMP TWO APRIL 13, 1994 — 21,300 FEET
A group of Sherpas are sitting outside one of the expedition members’ tents, snickering and miming.
“Sauce-making, sauce-making!”, they chant.
Behind them, the tent sways. The Sherpas keep laughing and chattering, unaware of three pairs of watchful eyes being set on them in the surrounding darkness.
“I bet they will just leave those beer bottles behind”, Bigfoot grunts.
“They believe that unmarried sex is bound to anger the Goddess of the mountain. They consider it unlucky.”, Maria muses.
“Could be. For them.” – Gabe, one-linering.
She laughs: a pearly, not altogether friendly laugh: “Let’s?”
“What now, Bigfoot?”
“Just making sure we are okay with the optics of going for the nameless POC group killing as an opening scene.”
Maria laughs, even more melodically and maliciously this time.
“It’s 1994. Nobody cares yet.” – Gabe, settling things.
The couple in the tent are too busy to even discern their own groaning and humping from the growling and thumping going on outside.
Afterwards, there’s just big footprints and quietude.
“Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragedy which is actually being staged in the civilised world.”, Gabe mumbles.
Not having understood a word of it, Maria laughs at him.
The wind howls. A melody echoes around the mountaintops, dispensing the Goddess’s words: Silver-white winters that melt into springs/These are a few of my favourite things…
EVEREST BASE CAMP, APRIL 12, 1996 — 17,600 FEET
We spent the afternoon of April 12 […] preparing our climbing equipment. The camp resembled an expensive yard sale as we spread our gear among the boulders to sort clothing, adjust harnesses, rig safety tethers, and fit crampons to our boots (a crampon is a grid of two-inch steel spikes that is clamped to the sole of each boot for purchase on ice).
Our route to the summit would follow the Khumbu Glacier up the lower half of the mountain. From the bergschrund at 23,000 feet that marked its upper end, this great river of ice flowed two and a half miles down a relatively gentle valley called the Western Cwm.
The big [crevasses] were apt to be vexing obstacles to our ascent, and when hidden beneath a crust of snow they would pose a serious hazard, but the challenges presented by the crevasses in the Cwm had proven over the years to be predictable and manageable.
The Icefall was a different story. (p. 78f.)
Members of the expedition! You know what lies ahead: consider yourselves warned.
(All cursive text quoted from: Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air, Anchor Books, New York, 1999, or The Sound of Music, 1965)
(The roles are for flavor only and aren’t assigned to specific players)
- Maria von Trapp: Maria is sick and tired of her Sound of Music persona. She longs for change. Maria is ready, so ready for something other than cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels. The hills are alive with The Sound of … Murder!
- Bigfoot: Two things have sent Bigfoot on this homicidal path. First, the US of Arrogance claiming him as theirs. Secondly, the constant littering of those damn climbing tourists. Some of the stuff is actually recyclable!
- Gabriel Walker as Portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger (just call him Gabe): Nobody understands the mumbled motivations of The World According to Gabe, but that’s okay. His emotional issues are so massive that you can see them bulge even through a snow suit, anyway.
13 members of the Motley Mountaineering Crew (Town): Their only power is to vote on whom to leave out in the snow to turn into a Permanent Popsicle at the end of each day.
- Do not edit or delete posts for any reason.
- The Wolf kill is mandatory.
- On the mountain, indecision can be deadly – In the event of a tie, the wolves decide which of the tied players dies.
- Autokill is triggered if one player gets a majority, but only if everyone has voted (a retracted vote still counts for this purpose).
- Town wins when all Wolves are eliminated. Wolves win when their numbers equal Town (or when nothing can be done to prevent this).
- Play the game! Inactivity may result in replacement. Try to make at least 10 game related posts per day.
- Quoting: do not directly reference any communication with the Mod that happened outside the game threads.
- No game talk after twilight. If it’s not roleplay, save it for the next day.
- Attack arguments, not people. Be kind.
- VT Message: “You are a member of the Motley Mountaineering Crew (Vanilla Town)”
- Special thanks to Tiff for writing all the flavor (sorry, flavour).
- The spreadsheet will have the most up to date vote count, though I’ll also update the count in the vote thread as often as I can.
- If you’re in the document, you’ll show up as a random anonymous animal to anyone else viewing the document (including me), even if you’re signed into a google account. So you can open it without worrying about anyone seeing your IRL info.
Twilight will be at 3pm Central (4pm Eastern) on Wednesday, July 20.