If you able to watch GMA this morning, you probably saw our friend Karen James being interviewed by Dianne Sawyer. She has written a book telling the untold story of that fateful trip that ended all three climber's lives.
I am giving away her book to a commenter that would like to read more about this story. If you want to win the book, just tell me so in your comment. The drawing will be done over the weekend and the winner announced Monday, Dec 15th.
The book, "Holding Fast" is a fast easy read that lets you in on the emotions and circumstances that her and the kids were going through during the time of the search. It was very cathartic for me, as well as Rick. This has deeply effected my husband, which in return effects me and I would love to share that part of our life with you, my dear bloggy buddies.
I can only describe what was going on on my side.
It was two years ago yesterday when my husband Rick received the news that his oldest and best friend Kelly was missing on Mt. Hood. Rick answered his phone and I saw his face fall, the color draining out. He got up and went outside to talk. I followed, knowing something wasn't right, running a mental role call of the kids. He turns his back to me and I hear him say he will call them back when he gets to the airport.
"Kelly and Brian are lost on the mountain. We are all flying out today. It's on the news."
I watch him stand in shock and reach out to grab onto him, not exactly sure what "being lost" completely entailed. It was 60 degrees where we were and I had no idea what storm was literally brewing in Oregon.
Rick began to get the suitcases and I immediately had CNN turned on. I unknowingly would not turn off that TV or station until 6 days later.
As we sat and watched the sparsely patched bits of info being given, Rick was on the phone with all his climbing connections and scheduling his flight out to Oregon. I was calmly organizing his suitcase, truly unsure of the magnitude of what was actually transpiring.
It was all so unreal. Kelly was this Adonis specimen and Brian, his climbing partner, was even bigger and more super-human. I was thinking they would be found with everyone fine and we would be at their house for New Year's drinking wine and smoking cigars on their back patio and listening to this latest adventure that made CNN's Developing Story.
I was calm, as I usually am in a crises. All my ER training had prepared me for my meticulous organization and clear head. I was a machine. Until I saw Rick getting out his climbing gear.
"What the hell are you doing?!"
"Just taking my stuff in case I need to help find him."
"You can't climb. You haven't trained. You are not in shape. You will be lost, too."
"I am not going up alone."
I try to remain composed and realize I am about to burst open. As I make my way to the bathroom, I trip over a climbing rope. My sob escapes and I sit on the floor and cry like a baby.
"Promise me you won't go up there to find him!"
He has no response, and just continues to pack.
I now begin to scream, completely shocked at my reaction to seeing his climbing gear being packed.
"We have an anniversary on Wed. You cannot do this to me and the kids. This is stupid."
"I am not going to climb."
His words were flat and I knew he was lying.
At this point, we knew nothing except they were missing and teams of rescuers were being organized to go out in the morning.
I grabbed my phone and went outside to make a call to Sean, another climbing friend.
"Are you going to try to find him?"
"Kelly. Are you taking your climbing gear? Are you going to try to find him?"
"Promise me you won't let Rick climb. He isn't in shape. Even if you have to drug him, don't let him climb. Promise me, Sean."
"I promise. But I am not leaving until tomorrow."
I then called Barry and talked him into going to chaperon my husband. I booked his flight with Rick's and knew Barry would never let Rick climb. I had manipulated some sort of temporary peace for myself and was able to kiss him goodbye and tell him I loved him without completely falling apart.
At midnight I received word that Rick had made it to the Bed and Breakfast where Karen and the kids were staying and he had gotten a room.
"There are 4 news vans here. They keep wanting to talk to me. I have to stay with the kids or in my room. I will call you in the morning."
"Promise me, Rick."
"I love you, Jill. I won't climb."
"Say the words 'I promise'.
" I can't. He's my best friend. He would try to find me if that was me up there. I love you."
I don't think my 'I love you' was audible. It is too hard to talk when the air is knocked out of you.
I finally fell asleep to the droning of CNN reporting the search would resume in the morning and the weather was getting worse.
(To be continued)