So it came to pass that on a rainy night in October of 2001 Brian and I met to discuss our shared future. Brian who had been to Nepal some years before was very much pro Manaslu. He saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity; the shadow of this big mountain had plunged our Tibetan plans into the darkness of mediocrity (some snappy English for ya). I wasn’t so hawkish. Overwhelming desire is the glue that holds these big trips together, and if I was going to commit to Manaslu I would have to commit every resource at my disposal. I would have wholly and entirely commit to the project. There was no happy medium, and saying yes meant risking all that I cherished. By the end of the night I knew what I knew at the beginning: that I had to go. In hindsight I see that I was going to say yes all along, but I guess I had to go through the motions.
I finally had to confess my intentions to Mel, who met the idea of her husband leaving home for two months in order to climb an eight thousand meter peak with silence. Melony used to climb, she knows the risks, and I couldn’t con her into believing that Manaslu was just another mountain, only higher.
If you discount this climbing stuff I’m a fairly decent husband. Mel and I have always been very compatible and not only do we love each other we also like one another as well. We rarely disagree and when we do the middle ground is found quickly. This is true for everything except my mountaineering.
My desire to climb Manaslu placed Melony into a Catch-22, if she had said that I absolutely could not go I wouldn’t have, but such an ultimatum would have placed a very large monkey wrench into the cogs of our marriage. On the other hand if she supported me she might just be supporting her way into single motherhood. In the end Mel said that she did not want me to go, but if I had to she wouldn’t stop me - she wasn’t going to feign support for something she opposed.
So there I was, a thirty six year old suburban househusband, a member of a six-man self-supported Himalayan mountaineering expedition.