Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Monday, January 3, 2011

Manaslu Part 2

An Idea

It was late September and I was taking yet another lap around my suburban lawn, hoping that this would be the last mowing of the season, when my three-year old son Sam peeked out the back door and waved his arms. I killed the walk behind mower to hear Sam yell, “dad it’s Brian Sato on the phone.”

Brain, a longtime climbing partner and friend, and I were planning a modest ski/mountaineering trip to an obscure mountain in the Chinese Autonomous Region of Tibet, and consequently had been talking quite a bit during the summer of 2001. I have long had the ability to identify and associate myself with people of superlative quality, and consequently my entire life has been one shared with the best of friends. When I first met Brian during an advanced mountaineering course I knew without a doubt that I wanted a friendship with this man. For several years we shared the occasional skiing or mountaineering outing, but it wasn’t until 1993, when together we climbed Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, that I realized he and I were indeed going to go places.

The mental and physical stress of mountaineering, especially expedition mountaineering, brings out either the best or the worst in people. Rarely do you return from an extended trip into the mountains without specific and ingrained opinions of your companions. In the case of Brian our 1993 expedition resulted in a fraternal brotherhood and marked the beginning of a very deep friendship. I find it difficult, maybe impossible, to explain the depth of friendships born in the mountains. I have on numerous occasions willingly placed my life entirely into the hands of Brian Sato. Over time when you place such extreme confidence in another man there develops a brand of love for one another – I know no other word for it. My family, my friends and my memories are all that I cherish, everything comes and goes.

Brian and I make an odd couple, I am stoic he’s outgoing, I am flighty he is fastidious, my life abounds in clutter and disorganization while Brian is meticulous and neat. For the most part we are happy opposites, but Brian does have one characteristic that I very much attempt to emulate – his compassion. While I care deeply about the welfare of my family and friends, I typically wander through life oblivious to the suffering of everyone else. Brian, on the other hand, has the gift of truly caring about and caring for those around him.

I picked up the receiver, “What’s up Mr. Sato?”

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