Never Give Up

July 1992 and the pendulum had come to town so I got on.

I have been self-destructive these last few days. I don't feel like being in Chamonix with my memories. I don't feel like an athlete. I don't have the will to live I usually have. I drink too much alcohol. I smoke a cigarette each day. I train hard. I try to hurt myself in the gym. I punish me for being weak, and for not going to the mountains or climbing more often. I do not respect my body. I run and lift without feeding it properly. I have no courage to do the thing I think about. I have too much left to do here to let go. But at least once every single day I think about the easy way to solve my problems. They are little problems but I feed them and they grow ... the "no future" future.

What keeps me going, what makes me continue living is that something good happens just often enough. Three days ago the publisher agreed to pay for a book about climbing frozen waterfalls in North America. I'll go in December to climb, and write, and be photographed. I will stay for a few weeks.

Yesterday I was walking on the Rue Paccard and someone shouted, "Hey Mark, we really enjoy your writing and I hope you keep doing it." I turned to see one guy I knew and another I didn't. Both are from New Hampshire where I lived for six months once. One told me he believes in what I am doing and how I live, and wished me the best luck in the world. He said, "never give up the work, you're an artist and you reach many people with your words." I smiled, happy. And I almost cried.

Bad shit happens too. I was on the Blatiere with Tad and we hung the ropes behind a flake on the way down. I had to solo up 20 meters to free them. It was dangerous. I was scared. I really fucking hate situations like that. I could have made it safer but I was mad enough that I just went for it. My best friend, who taught me how to climb, was killed doing the same thing on the Dru in 1980. At that time Chamonix was a distant place, not home. I visit his grave every now and then. Seeing it keeps me honest about alpinism and its risks. Tad and I missed the last cable car so we walked from the Plan de l'Aiguille. It felt longer than usual.

Mark Twight
Mark Twight