In this collection of stories, I have recorded some of my adventures on the mountains of the world. I make no pretense to being anything other than an average hiker for, as the first stories tell, I came to enjoy the mountains quite late in life. But, like thousands before me, I was drawn increasingly toward the wilderness, partly because of the physical challenge at a time when all I had left was a native courage (some might say foolhardiness), and partly because of a desire to find the limits of my own frailty. As these stories tell, I think I found several such limits; there are some I am proud of and some I am not.
THE FAR SIDE OF THE SKY© Christopher Earls Brennen
Of course, there was also the grandeur and magnificience of the mountains. There is nothing quite to compare with the feeling that envelopes you when, after toiling for many hours looking at rock and dirt a few feet away, the world suddenly opens up and one can see for hundreds of miles in all directions. If I were a religious man, I would feel spirits in the wind, the waterfalls, the trees and the rock.
Many of these adventures would not have been possible without the marvellous companionship that I enjoyed along the way. Doug Hart was a frequent companion during the early adventures and I shall always count myself exceedingly fortunate to have travelled with him. Our spirits are forever bound together by the trials we faced together especially on the Mountain of the Devil. There were other companions too. Terry Jones was a most gracious host both in Oxford and on the slopes of Snowdon. In Japan, Yoichiro Matsumoto and Yoshi Tsujimoto were great companions. In Korea, I was touched by the watchful eye which Seung-Joon Lee kept on my wanderings.
And closer to home in California, my advancing years were graced by the company of a number of young fellow adventurers, among them Troy Sette who was born with the instinct for adventure, Clancy Rowley whose grace and kindness shone in all he did and Mark Duttweiler with whom hiking was always a pleasure. To Garrett Reisman who taught me to climb, I owe an enduring debt and the very best of good fortune in his adventures as a NASA astronaut. In later years, I was immensely fortunate to link up with the three more great companions, the Marquesa de Canyonette, Randi Poer, whose blithe spirit is reflected in several of these stories, Scott ``Seldom Seen'' Smith whose kindness is unsurpassed, and the ``Magnificient Marine'' John Perry, a man for all seasons. I shall treasure all of their friendships for the rest of my days. To them and to all the others, I am deeply grateful. Most especially to Doreen whose love and friendship traveled with me to every corner of the globe.
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Last updated 7/30/99.
Christopher E. Brennen