"The policeman got out and instead of even looking at the house on fire, he looked at me. I looked back at him. He pointed at me, some thirty feet away from him and he flexed his finger in the classic come-hither motion but in a way that caught my attention...."
"I'd somehow forgotten how many fascinating things we HAD found on Everest's North Face in 2001. Blame it on the 1999 expedition and the way it skewed my judgment for what was a significant in the discovery department..."
"Just as I was wondering what that reason was and how much room the tail rotor still had, my thoughts were rudely and violently interrupted. WHAP, WHAP, WHAP, THUD, THUD, WHUD, THAP!!!!! And we shot up into the air..."
"Sixteen people out in the dark, one behind the other, breathing cold and steady oxygen through masks, crunching into the ice with heavy steps and sharp crampons...."
"My first inclination was to describe the Khumbu Icefall collapse as "biblical," but this had less to do with my knowledge of the bible and a lot to do with my belief just then that I was going straight to hell...."
"It was a run of perfect weather. Prime time to climb. Except that was the last thing I wanted to do. It was September 12 and I was among several hundred million people who didn't feel right about doing what they normally do...."
October 17, 2001
"I've said it a thousand times; emotions have no place above 8,000 meters. And I've mostly lived true to my words. So what was that fogging up my sunglasses at the Third Step of Everest's North Ridge last May?...."
March 2, 2001
"Many of us are fascinated by Shackleton's Endurance journey. We marvel at the bad circumstances, the good luck, the bravery, the drive and determination that saw them all through. We wanted to get a little closer to the whole darn thing...."
Decenber 11, 2000
"Laura seemed to be just climbing for the hell of it, which I liked — so much that during that climb I forgot all about her being a cancer survivor. She was strong, she had a good sense of humor, she got along well with everybody. All I really needed to know about her was right there...."
October 2, 2000
"I love the way politicians these days have to defend what they consider their reckless youth. Their 'young and irresponsible' acts seem fairly tame even to my old age of 38. Even so, I don't plan on running for office any time soon. Perish the thought that I might someday have to stand in front of a roomful of inquiring reporters demanding to know just what we thought we were up to on Mount Stuart back in '87....."
August 24, 2000
"I screamed above the wind for all to hear, but I knew that most didn't know what I was screaming about, unless they were doing enough math to figure that Lisa's rope was down a man all of the sudden. I edged toward the void where I'd last seen Jamie and gave a yell. I got a really cheerful reply, which encouraged me, no end....."
July 7, 2000
"I am careful now though, to avoid such public displays of dysfunction. Having recently gotten on top of Everest for my third time, I'm not eager to bring dishonor upon that great mountain by failing at simple things in public view...."
May 16, 2000
"I was completely on board. I liked it all; I liked the dude they were featuring; I liked the glossy ads for shiny new trucks and cool Gore-Tex and must-have gadgets. And I like my profession (which is still guiding, not writing) but it did get me thinking a little about days when it maybe wasn't so fun being a mountain guide — or a transient and migratory worker...."
April 10, 2000
"Here in Nepal, you don't look up at Everest exactly. What you see is a whole lot of big-darn-mountain, including the west shoulder of Everest, but you don't actually see Everest itself.... By contrast, from the Tibetan Basecamp, one sees one's future directly off in the southern sky, and one can easily get the willies by looking too long at too much future...."
March 27, 2000
"I felt the earth move then. Continental Drift, possibly, but more likely a slab avalanche trying to break free. It probably didn't move more than an inch, but I was quite aware that it was the whole of Castor moving an inch in the wrong direction. I was also quite aware then that if the whole damn thing broke free I'd face the tumble of a lifetime...."
February 16, 2000
"When storms knock you from your feet and thrash you to within an inch of your life, you don't tend to worry much about the calendar.... When your beard hurts because eight or 10 pounds of ice are hanging from it, you seldom concern yourself with picking an aisle or window seat on some hypothetical airplane...."
January 7, 2000
Hahn's third column, written on Dec. 31 as he sits alone in his tent in Vinson base..."I'm in a place where time seems a little arbitrary, where one day becomes the next without the moon and stars intervening. A book lover's dream it never gets too dark to read at Vinson Base Camp on the Branscomb Glacier in Antarctica...."
November 19, 1999
Hahn's second column describes his experiences both during and after the famed Mallory & Irvine expedition to Everest this spring, including his nearly three months guiding on Rainier, his 20th high school reunion and his months on the ice in Antarctica....
October 15, 1999
Hahn's first column tells the story of last winter's adventure to Antarctica, where he was joined for a few days by Alex Lowe, Conrad Anker and Gordon Wiltsie for an ascent of Mount Tyree, which rises out of the Patton Glacier a few miles from Vinson....