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BLOG: Doug Scott: No Robots at the Mountains of Madness

Now it may surprise you to hear that I was not one of the brave few that climbed Everest back in 1975, therefore I have no idea what they went through, but I will once I’ve been to Doug Scott’s talk (Thursday 10th October). So, as I sit next to an industrial radiator one afternoon in August, I have imagined a final diary entry recounting the events leading to the team reaching the summit. Forgive me, as I’m positive this will all be absolute drivel.

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Diary Entry 24 September 1975 Here I stand above the heavens. The mountains of madness breaching an ocean of white. The snow suffocating the endless sky. Everything hurts! My loins are awash with fire. I fear I may never feel my feet again. If the Terminator was sent back from the future to kill me (yes, I know James Cameron hadn’t directed the film yet, like I said before, drivel), the film would have been over in no time. Because this place is Hell, with nowhere to escape, and even a robot from the future would struggle. Could you imagine him going into a mountaineering shop at the start of the film? “Give me snow boots, rope, other essential climbing gear and a phased plasma rifle in the 40-Watt range.” “Hey, just what you see pal!” We had become the first to ascend towards the sun, though the closer I got to its golden drops, the further from its warming bosom I felt. An unattainable pleasure. All I could think of was getting home and installing on all the walls of my house the majestic blue lights of one hundred tanning beds – I’d never go cold again. Sweet Lord would I have such a radiant tan which would make the other mountaineers jealous. *Note to self, next year do a topless trek in the Caribbean and flash that tan, that would make Ranulph Fiennes jealous. My hands are broken. Even beneath the padding of the gloves I could feel the rope tugging and jarring against my skin, the friction causing a poisonous well of blood and sores. As I write this now, I daren’t take off my gloves for fear of the sight. My hands a brail tale of determination and heart, forever etched into my body. Think the evil Nazi from Indiana Jones, only remove the evil Nazi part; in-fact remove the Indiana Jones part. Oh, just scrap it all! We climbed the barren rock, each groove, each ancient edge, perfectly worn over the ages, destined for each one of our limbs to meander into. The howling wind an orchestral score to our journey as we push our bodies towards the precipice of their limits to reach the towering glory. The hours and days merge into one, like tears in rain… Even a robot from the future would struggle, and the replicant Roy Batty from Blade Runner with a short battery life would have a nightmare scaling this hellish rock (though if he truly had nightmares, they would have already been pre-programmed by the Tyrell Corporation, so again I apologies, utter drivel).

We had made it! I stretched my skinny icicle finger like an antenna to heaven. The desolate sky photographing the snow-blind Michelangelo painting of my triumph. *Note to self, I may get a better reception with this finger when I get home; the TV has been on the blink for some time and I just can’t miss another episode of The Waltons. We each stood in silence, no words needing to be said. I fear even if we had spoken, the words would have solidified mid-air only to remain a frozen effigy of our accomplishment. However, I strongly doubt it will be there in the future due to global warming. Even a robot from the future would struggle, so I very much doubt Paulie’s Robot Butler from Rocky 4 (I saw the hate in those glazed over reflective bulbs you masqueraded as eyes) would have made it up here and destroyed all recognition of man’s success. Dolph Lundgren on the other hand… Not as Ivan Drago but possibly as, you guessed it, Andrew Scott the Universal Solider.

For a moment we felt like the last men on earth. I wonder if any other lifeform is glaring back. Did they watch our adventure from the far reaches of space? Do they have a better TV signal than me? Though if something 65 million light years away was looking at this now, it would only see a land of dinosaurs, and I scarcely think even a dinosaur from our past, their alien present, would struggle. Even robot Mechagodzilla from the 1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla wouldn’t make it up here. I scrawl these final words into the paper, carving the nib deep, as I have run out of ink. I won’t take this diary entry home; I will plunge it deep within the catacombs of snow for other explorers to find. But no robots, because even a robot from the future would struggle. Number 5 from Short Circuit would never be able to make it up the ice-laden calluses of this colossal beast. I leave my words and a part of my soul planted in the snow and begin my arduous descent down from this desolate palace of pain and think to myself: pop a couple of skis on Number 5 and it would have no problem getting down, heck it would probably set a world record. Yeah, but just try getting up there you lump of cold steel, just try…

For those of you that are still here, I applaud you, for that was a cumbersome read and even a robot from the future would have struggled. But I guarantee the Hard Road to Everest talk by the legendary Doug Scott won’t be.

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