I've got a few more excerpts from Dancing in the White Room to Share. In this one, Mallory remembers what happened the first time Bell tried a descent down the West Rib of Denali. He's gone to try again, and Mallory is upset that he would. This is the reason why--
It’s been five years, and I can still hear Roddie’s voice. “We had to grapple him down. Copter’s won’t go that high. We’re shipping him off to Anchorage.” When I didn’t say anything, he added, “Hope I didn’t worry you, love.”
After we hung up, I called the airlines and booked the first flight to Anchorage. They had Bell in a room by the time I got there. He looked like he’d been the loser in a prizefight. One eye was swollen shut, one hand bandaged because of frostbite on two fingers.
I was trying at the time to unhinge an awful fear, the awful thought of Bell as fallible, as vulnerable. It sat in my head, reinforced by tape and bandages and the blistering on his face. It sat there and I couldn’t shake it. It still sits there, this heavy pulsing gravitational thought.
When I think of Bell on Denali, this is the picture I get. Bell vulnerable. Bell fallible.
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