Kiss Or Kill MTwight J Lowe Kangtega and Nuptse SE Spur 1986

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 19, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
A classic high and wild adventure ala Twight and Jello from Climbing October 1986. This particular article ushered in a new look for the magazine graphically.
These two stretched em out pretty good! Amazing!


Jeff descending to his pack on Nuptse SE Spur 7th day.







TYeary

Social climber
Huaraz, Peru
Sep 19, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Twight can't be beat for "Strum and Drang". He's, beyond a doubt one of the most brutily honest writers of his generation. Pointed, "up in your grill", and un-apologetic. His writing style was mirrored by his climbing style. Twight may have mellowed in recent years, but his example has rarely been equaled. Steve House among others has picked up the call and become the "future."
I will never forget meeting Twight and his advise," come back alive, come back still friends, go to the summit: in that order".
Tony
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 20, 2009 - 12:19am PT
I love these treasure trove postings.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Sep 20, 2009 - 03:25am PT
When I read this article I was absolutely blown away. The climbs Marc wrote about and the experience of Nepal sounded horrendous. Then I realised that I was there, too, with Marc!
My experience was entirely different: we did a nice warm-up climb on Lobuche, then went to Kangtega, where I wasn't feeling good on summit day so Tom Frost and I went to the lower Nw peak while Alison and Marc climbed the higher peak. Then Marc and I tried the South Pillar of Nuptse, which would have been a great climb if we had been strong enough to complete it.

But as a team, we lacked a coherence of shared perception of reality. What Marc found to be ugly or desperate, I found to be interesting or challenging. I've thought a lot about this over the years, and have concluded it was not fair to ask Marc to go on this cutting-edge Himalayan excursion with no prior experience.

-Jello
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 20, 2009 - 03:57am PT
Jello, that's very charitable of you. I suspect that if Marc had drunk less and talked more to the Sherpani in the photo for example, he would have had less of a hangover, more of a good time, and learned something.

It reminds me of the Buddhist saying, that we are not made unhappy by reality, but by our expectations of what it should be.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 20, 2009 - 10:24am PT
Jello,
Ah...the rest of the story, or at least the inklings of it.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 20, 2009 - 11:20am PT
Mellowed?

Nah...

http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=36

-Brian in SLC
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 20, 2009 - 12:11pm PT
Having read, with great amusement, most of Mark’s stuff over the years, was pretty interesting to pick up his book, "Kiss or Kill", especially for the reflections on the original articles.

Pertaining to this...his comments on the original article (last two paragraphs):

"2000 Author’s Note"

"But Jeff Lowe had some trouble with the article. He could not believe what had been going on in my head during that expedition. It was my third trip ever outside the USA; my first to a third world country. I was with people I did not know, and one was a climbing legend. The routes we planned to attempt were harder and higher that anything I could imagine doing. I was scared out of my mind and trying to cover it up. That fear, present for 24 hours a day until we began the trek out, filtered each experience. Even the ones I was equal to.

The expedition was an epiphany. I learned that I had talent. I also learned that I was not as good a climber as I thought I was. At the time, climbing the new route on Kantega was little consolution for the failure on Nuptse. Years afterword, I appreciate Kantega for the transformation it caused. I stepped out of the bush league up there. After Alison Hargreaves, my partner on the summit on Kantega, died, the mountain meant even more. That and Lobuche were the only two peaks we ever climbed together. Others found her too ambitious, but this was a trait I knew well and encouraged. She was incredibly strong, and delightful to be around in the mountains."

In the back of the book there’s a section called "What’s in a Title". With respect to the "Kiss or Kill" article, he says, "Shouted by Exene Cervenka in a song titled "We’re Desperate." It was my mantra, either you love what I say and do or hate it. I tried to live the all-or-nothing philosophy too. It didn’t work out very well."

I’ve always wondered if he painted himself in a corner with the whole "Dr. Doom" schtick.

-Brian in SLC
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 20, 2009 - 12:15pm PT
Compare and contrast Tom Frost and Marc Twight...LOL
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 20, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
There could not be two more different people in climbing.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 9, 2011 - 05:33pm PT
I just went through this article while working on the Kangtega chapter in the Frost book. Mighty Twightful! LOL
marv

Mountain climber
Bay Area
May 9, 2011 - 08:55pm PT
that's a cool line. I believe it has repelled all aspirants, much like Latok, no?
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
SoCal
May 10, 2011 - 02:06am PT
Fun article. I recall it well. Still have my copy.

Post punk techno alpinista from Seattle fails to find what he's looking for.

One of my heros.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 10, 2011 - 09:18am PT
So.... what ever happened to Exene Cervenka anyway?
sportcamper

Trad climber
NEW HAMPSHIRE
May 10, 2011 - 09:40am PT
^^^ MS unfortunately-
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 10, 2011 - 10:01am PT
I see that. bummer.

this is from her wiki:

On June 2, 2009, Cervenka released the following statement:

“ After some months of not feeling 100% healthy, I recently had some medical tests run and the prognosis is that I am suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Apparently, it has been affecting me for quite some time. Although this is obviously unfortunate news, I am choosing to see the positive in it. I, and X as a band, have supported the Sweet Relief charity since the mid-1990's; the irony of this is not lost on any of us. Sweet Relief was started as an aide to uninsured artists by musician Victoria Williams when she herself was diagnosed with MS in 1992. While this diagnosis will most certainly mean some changes for me, personally, it will not affect my commitments to the current X U.S. tour, nor will it affect my solo album that is slated for release this fall on Bloodshot Records. My focus will certainly be on maintaining my health — many people remain strong and continue to live their lives as productively as they had before an MS diagnosis and I plan to be one of those people.[4]

sorry for the drift but seeing howz we're talking about M Twight is likely on topic.

edit: come to think of it, I guess jello may find it relevant as well. Jeff, did you everlisten to X?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 29, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Is there a photo of a line they did on Kantega? Sounds like an interesting climb if it challenged them so much. I have read Kiss or Kill and enjoyed it. Nice to read about him opening up about his fears.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
The route on Kangtega is pretty complicated and involved a lot of thin ice work ala Jeff Lowe. I don't have a good shot of the line to post.

Buy the Frost book once I get it out and learn more about mighty Kangtega.

Tom asked Jeff if he thought their route would ever be popular and Jeff replied, "No, it is much too difficult."
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
Thank you for the reply!
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Cross posted from another Twight thread. Mark provided much fodder. Thanks again Mark. Hope you lurk on this silly site.

Credit: Tami
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Jan 29, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
those are some great quotes in that climbing article. glad to see Jello chime in too.

I have the Kiss or Kill book. Will have to go back and reread some tales.

as I said in the other thread, love him or hate him, you can't deny his climbing prowess, and his route "The Reality Bath" (WI6+?) remains unrepeated as far as I know*

* I think Uli Steck attempted it, but backed off.

The Reality Bath seems so dangerous as to be of little value exept to those suicidally inclined -Albi Sole
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 29, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
as I said in the other thread, love him or hate him, you can't deny his climbing prowess, and his route "The Reality Bath" (WI6+?) remains unrepeated as far as I know*

I think when you climb at that level you do not really care to repeat other people's suicidal routes. If you succeed, it's just a repeat. If you die...well no one will give you a cookie. Small reward for a great risk.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Blaque Jacque Serac!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 29, 2013 - 06:32pm PT
Good point Vitaliy. When it comes to serious alpine climbing, i, for one, have only been on one established climb- the Compressor Route on CT. I did that because my partner was a young German unfamiliar with alpine climbing.
To me, a major part of the alpine experience is exploring new ground in remote ranges. The only way to fulfill that "explorers urge" in the 21st Century.
There is still a surprising amount of untrodden real estate in the mountain realm if you are willing to dig a little.
micronut

Trad climber
Jan 29, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
Tami,

"Hypurconshis" is my new favorite word. What a riot.

I eat up every word Twight writes and I admire his gusto in the mountains from when he was really gettin at it. His perspective is his perspective. Love it or leave it. Kiss or kill.

Theres a fine line between salvation and drinking poison in the jungle. I have no idea what that means but I dig it. And I have the t-shirt. I'm such a tool.
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
May 17, 2013 - 02:32am PT
I have an old X t-shirt lying around here. My wife introduced my to them and she used to go their concerts. May have one of their playlists? She used to collect them. Sorry to hear about Exene and MS. It can be something you can work with. My brother in law has had it for quite a while now and he remains quite active and gets around a lot on foot (he can no longer drive). His mind is still super sharp too... his job is to play in a sandbox at Microsoft and invent sh#t.

I enjoy Twight's brutal honesty, and his ability, at least at times, to direct that toward himself. I also have enjoyed his writing, but find I like it in small doses, like single malt (to round it out and tie in Tami!). I love single malt, but am not going to pour half a bottle on my muesli every morning. If you do find me doing that, please put me on the ice floe straightaway.

It just came to me that Twight reminds me of Anthony Bourdain writing-wise. At least in the brutal, raw honesty department. Bourdain has a sense of humor, especially about himself at the end of the day. I'm not sure I've seen that in Twight. It might make him even more interesting to reveal that.

Eric
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