28 January 2011
REI & The Eiger
(all images borrowed from internet)
I stumbled across this book, The White Spider, shortly after to moving to Colorado Springs in the '70s. It's been a long time but images from a failed attempt on the north face of the Eiger are still with me.
I finished the book and went straight to a rock formation overlooking Constitution Blvd. Only 40 feet high or so, I didn't waste anytime in falling and luckily landing on a ledge. Flat on my back and with the air knocked out of me, I lifted my head trying to breathe while I stared and swore at my Frye Dingo boots.
One pair of Vasque boots later I headed back. They were chocolate brown with red and black laces and soled in Vibram lugs. I wore them everywhere and in school they separated you from the Goat Ropers in Stetsons with a clipped corner of a hundred dollar bill stuck in the hat band. Or, the Stoners in their herb scented flannel shirts or the John Denver look alike in denim jeans and denim pearl snap shirts. I was a Waffle Stomper.
While my Vasque boots could be categorized as Waffle Stompers I do remember feeling they were more authentic. While certainly no ice climber -- my boots had purpose. Primary being not to fall and have that problem breathing again.
I became a life time member of REI Coop for $5 and obsessed over the catalog where images from White Spider dovetailed with REI equipment creating dreams of my journey to Kleine Scheidegg where I'd eat Toblerone and hit on cute blonde girls from West Germany.
It didn't happen. And that's okay. The north face of the Eiger might be too authentic for me. But some day...before I die...I'm gonna have a drink at this hotel and remember how I was moved by a sport and by the boots it stood on.