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Cody Clare 11/12/97 Hero Myth Time was running out. It was our 5th day on Alpamayo Spire, an 8,000ft chunk of snow and ice that rises like a bad dream out of Peru's Cordella Blanco. Clouds to the south were flowing in like an oil slick. Winter was closing in. Huttling in a round dome tent which was creaking from the howling winds outside like an antique colonial rumble bed, we had a decision on our hands. "We are up to pitch 30, we should only have a half dozen left. Thats one more day, lets stay up here and see what happens." I added in the support of our progression. Other faces did not bleed the positive and arrogant vibes that I possessed. I was desperate to keep climbing. We were a team four men and one woman strong. Two of the men, Guiome and Frank were both from Chamonix, France. They were fine alpine climbers. This was not their first summit. Our ropeman and chef was Brian from New Jersey, again not a stranger to the mountains. Brian was a guide for IMECS(International Mountaineering Equipment Climbing School), and he was surely the counselor which we went to for the answers to the problems that developed during the trip. The lone woman on our crew was your regular Olympiad, a Triathlete as many woman climbers are. Nahaani was pure magic on the rock, like a spider on a web she would slide up a cliff in raw grace. Never once did I ever see her with a bit of doubt in her eye. At this point in time, we were all huttled under a layer of sleeping bags and around the hissing stove in the center which was attempting to melt snow. Our two tents were pinned to the bottom of a bowl on the northwest side to Mt Alpamayo. The bowl looked like the void after an ice cream scoop came and dragged out a dish full of the white fluffy snow. We were not in a good spot. And now we were living on borrowed time, and it looked as though it was about time for the gods to collect. A storm was melting up the valley below us like a black ooze of oil. Judging by the knife sharp storm front, we knew it was bringing snow. It was time for debate. Should we stay or should we go? Due to the nasty front coming in should we pack up the assault camp that we were at, and descend the 3,000ft to basecamp2. Back at base2 we could weather out the storm and ascend again when dry. Or should we hang tight and either weather out the storm at assault camp or split and leave the gear if it looks as though the storm will be a doozie. Everyone agrees that the latter would save at least three days, maybe more. However it would be safe, bottom line. And no matter how many long nights at the drawing table, arranging, buying, bribing, or the effort that you put into a climb- no peak is worth your life. Much easier said than done. As I was sitting in that tent, with the wind bowing in the tent walls. I could feel Alpamayo's grasp dragging me up the slope. It knew what I wanted, and sitting in that assault camp we had a whole lot clearer view of the summit spire then the others did back at basecamp. Unfortunately we also had a clear view of the storm. At that point we all laid out the choices, and with one look around the dome I knew it was a total consensus. At that point, we could block out all the the desire and lust that we felt connected to the summit, and again see through our own eyes once again. We all saw that there was no contest, we all knew we were going down. We had all trekked, climbed, and hiked four days to get to this point, using up every drop of love and energy that my soul had to offer to this mountain. Everything in my body said no, however I knew that it had to be done. To change from a normal man and into a hero there is a test which must be passed. It is a test of every quality, moral, and value that you possess. A hero is not a person who is strong, brave, or wise. A hero is not a good leader nor a good worker. A hero is not any specific type, kind or characteristic of a person. It is what fills that person's soul. It is what morals, qualities, and values that person possesses. Because although no single person is perfect, a person with sound morals, values and qualities can do no wrong. In myths what are the challenges to cross the bridge into being a hero? A strong temptation with sweet tasting wine, a battle with morality, or a fearless confrontation with a one eyed beast-a physical battle, a test of st

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