Down From the Mountain

It's More than Gear

Thank you for publishing Brian Miller's "Down From the Mountain" [Feb. 2]. I think it's important for anyone considering a weekend excursion to read a well-written cautionary tale, especially when more and more of us are feeling "protected" by the advances in gear. Miller makes it clear that, once again, the human component is where you really want to choose wisely.

Sean MacLean


No One's Invincible

I just finished reading "Down From the Mountain" [Feb. 2], and I found it quite an interesting read. I've been a mountaineer for a good portion of my life, and I just wanted to point out a very dangerous comment made, and attitude revealed, in the closing paragraph by Brian Miller.

I've made numerous successful free-solo summits of both technical and big mountain peaks in North and South America. Admittedly, there were a couple times I really shouldn't have returned were it not for some of that good luck Miller talks about. But Miller comments, "Confident climbing demands an attitude of, 'I'm not going to fall. That's not going to happen to me.'" Rather than thinking that, any climber really should be thinking, "I am going to fall. That could absolutely happen to me."

Mountains command respect. Miller even quotes his father saying how mountains can be "very unforgiving." Embarking on any climbing trip and/or expedition with the kind of arrogant attitude he endorses is what gets people killed. Understanding that they are not invincible allows a climber to isolate every dangerous variable they can control—be it in route selection or just staying within one's abilities—and is what leads to safe, and therefore confident, climbing.

Doug Sipes


Hope on a Rope

Brian Miller's article really touched me ["Down From the Mountain," Feb. 2]. I am a mom to a wonderful, adventuring 21-year-old son. He, like Miller, loves the mountains and is an avid hiker and snowboarder. I am not an adventuring type of person. So, even though I've always admired those who are brave enough to do risky things, I've always been a little bit worried about some of the things my son does.

I absolutely adored Miller's story. It captivated me. In particular, the ending was simply divine. Yes, indeed, we are all connected. We do in fact need each other. Isn't it marvelous that a whole host of "strangers" came to Miller's aid and saved his life! His is a story that instills great hope. Especially in light of some of the news today—where it seems that so many are "out for themselves"—this is a story to help remind us that there are many wonderful, giving folks out there willing to lend a helping hand. It touched my heart.

If possible, Miller should try not to ponder too much "the route not taken." It is clear that he is a thoughtful person who always ventured off on climbs with a sense of focus, purpose, and common sense. In order to truly "heal" from this experience, it would help if he could let go of ruminating about his "mistake." Focusing on it will only keep him in the "gully."

Miller has been successfully climbing all of his life. Now he is successfully sharing his story and inspiring others. He's not a "loser" going to live with his parents. He is a lucky man who is bravely healing, with the help of his loving parents. I thank him for the gift of his article. May his healing be swift.

Adina Angle


Local Fascism?

That nobody can be found to run against Mayor Greg Nickels is a clear indicator of the powerlessness many Seattleites feel about running against our incumbent bellhop for Allen & Gates Inc. ["Mayoral Majority," Feb. 2]. The money backing Nickels is too daunting.

So we've accepted the fact that Nickels will run without a realistic challenger. But for those of us living in the cheap seats, the scary reality of the mayor's office running over City Council member Richard Conlin, and the fact that it's been reported that Allen's Vulcan Inc. desperately wants Nick Licata's scalp, starts to smack of local fascism at its finest.

Natives like myself are discontented over the many land giveaways to Paul and Bill, but much of our discontent stems from the fact that while driving down Elliott Avenue and Aurora, and certainly if we're driving through a tunnel, we no longer can see our fair city. But we can see, with 20/20 vision, who calls the shots for Nickels.

Steve Molnes


Paul Allen for Mayor!

George Howland Jr. appears to lament the lack of opposition to Mayor Greg Nickels' upcoming re-election ["Mayoral Majority," Feb. 2]. I see it as an opportunity to promote more efficient government. I think we should all write in Paul Allen for mayor and cut out the middleman.

John Crosby


Making Casey's Case

George Howland Jr.'s claim that Mayor Greg Nickels is "showing signs of executive hubris and overreach" is ludicrous ["Mayoral Majority," Feb. 2]. Evidence Howland pointed to included Casey Corr's decision to run for City Council. Howland seems to imply that Nickels recruited Corr to run. Is that what happens to anyone who has been involved with the city before running for elected office? Only brief mention was made of Corr's stated reasons for running, and scant attention was paid to such things as his background in organized labor. Howland should pay more attention to Corr's platform and message of change before painting him as a Team Nickels candidate.

Tyler Smith


Back Off, King Co.

Here's what one hears if one lives in unincorporated King County [Mossback, "Taking Secession Seriously," Feb. 2]: "You guys are so spread out, you cost us more in services than we can collect in taxes." Here is what we also hear: "Come, let your neighborhood be annexed into Issaquah (or Kent, or Kirkland, etc.), and your property taxes will go down." Are both of these correct? How do you resolve it? Does it make any sense for someone living near Skykomish to have their center of government in downtown Seattle? And, for that matter, why isn't the County Council headquartered in at least an unincorporated area?

Regarding the critical-areas ordinance: The interested parties who pushed this through will continually state that the rural residents' opposition is because we want to "develop" our property. Very few living in the rural zone of King County want to "develop" their property. Believe me, we have had our share of massive "self-contained" developments shoved down our throats. What we want is the ability to have pastures, grow fruit trees, garden, raise livestock, ride horses on our property, etc. Under Ron Sims' CAO rules, our options are severely limited. No rural person with half a brain would clear property with no regard for downhill neighbors. We can have ordinances that protect for these situations without restricting every property with one broad stroke.

Shelly Navarre


Sweet Threesome

In his review of Tres Chicas' Sweetwater [CD Reviews, Feb. 2], Mikael Wood compares the female alt-country trio to the male pop trio the Thorns. This comparison is way too convenient and horribly off base, in my opinion. Just because they're each trios, and hail from opposite gender camps, doesn't mean they deserve to be measured up and dismissed along the same lines. A closer look at the bands reveals Tres Chicas' bona fides to be far more compelling than the Thorns'. And I'm not buying that the fact that the Chicas have Chris Stamey in common with Matthew Sweet adds any more credence to Wood's argument. Wood knocks the Chicas for—what?—sounding great, then states that he'd rather listen to the ongoing train wreck that is Ashlee Simpson.

Mike Seely

St. Louis, MO

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