We need to talk about the Bergschrund

A summer impasse on the highest peak in Wyoming

Cactus Yordy

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For a vast majority of the year, the Gooseneck Glacier is supremely intact, held together naturally by cold weather at nearly 13,000 feet of elevation. In the late summer, baking under warmer temperatures with afternoon sunlight, the once-stable glacier cleaves in two, slowly widening through the season, snowbridges that occasionally span in the morning collapse completely, and the Bergschrund becomes nearly impassable, save for ropes and axes and a manic human grit. With proper logistics and planning, you never see the Bergschrund, dormant in deep hibernation, an unseen Grizzly deep in the throes of a catatonic winter dream. In the summer spoil, one’s ascent thus becomes increasingly foolhardy, as in space and so it goes up there, loftier than any trees and perhaps eclipsing the lowliest of LEO satellites, none can hear the scream, Wilhelm and otherwise, of undulating defeat and snowy windswept misery. The Bergschrund is a tool wielded opposite human pride and endeavor, a regularly scheduled summer fuck-you from Mother Nature to a smattering of climbers and naturalists.

In the afternoon sun my mind begins to dry and split, not as plastic or fluid as it were in the spring, addled with smog and discontent, feeling I cannot match the superior strength of these solar vibrations, wilting without water. Is there ever a time to pause and reflect, in the summer, hot to the touch? Each day is to be taken advantage of, no sun-ray to be recycled or retreated in the winter doldrum. I am amidst a carnivorous bunch, peering through the weekend grill-smoke, awash in propane and pepper, making plans and making plans and making plans. In the summer the extroverts are commoditized, the introverts languish, I keep trying to read my novel poolside but I’ve been dunked headfirst under a fountain full of hard seltzer.

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