White hand, black hand: A story of resilience.
White Hand, Black Hand
Thursday, 09 June 2011 13:38 Hrs
❝ Rule 1: Nobody gets left behind — Hal Moore

The bloke on the left is Moose, [0][1] the one on the right is Dave. Neither had met before but have more in common than most.

It’s the morning of day nine. Each morning follows the same routine: wake early, fuel up then start off. Dave despite his age has to be one of the fittest blokes I’ve met. While Moose and myself would leave very early and do a leisurely five to six kilometers per hour for the first fifteen to twenty kilometers.

❝ Dave was running twenty kilometers, every morning, for the entire trip.

We’d stop, have lunch then set off for another fifteen to twenty kilometers to finish the day. Dave was only one of two runners not to carry injury. We’d spent the previous night at a Ski-lodge in Perisher. There was nothing open on the mountain. We piled into the van and drove back the thirty kilometers to Jindabyne for dinner. Although late, I made the effort to find a supermarket and stock up for breakfast and any supplies I might need for the summit.

We’d completed the morning march. Dave has done is twenty for the morning. Moose and myself had split up. I’d tagged along with a ‛nOOb’ who’d was lagging at the back of the main group. I re-joined the main group at the car park, the mid point of the days march. Ahead was the summit. We waited, letting the rest ascend. Being the most experienced and level headed of the lot, Moose, Dave and myself bought up the rear, checking for stragglers.

In the build-up to the last day, I suspect most of the group had cast their eye on the wierd routines and specialised kit Moose and myself carried. Most of it was required only for the last leg. Dave stopped, dropped his kit and cracked it.

❝ The exhaustion of the previous two hundred or so kilometers was catching up.

I bent down, picked up Dave’s kit, whacked it on his back; gave him a smile and just reminded him it was only a few kilometers more. He paused, took it in and drove on. We turned the corner of the last curve and walked into a fifty kilometers per hour blast of cold wind. You couldn’t see five metres in front. There was zero cover.

If you sat down, the cold ate into your bones. Breathing hurt. These conditions continued all the way to the summit. Despite this, it was the ideal day to summit. No rain, no snow, just a bit of wind. When we got to the top, Dave understood why we’d persisted with our heavy packs. I got a cheeky smile, ‛so that’s why you wanted us to carry all this shit all this way!’. [2]

This story starts with a Professor, an Analyst and a lost bet and ended nine days and 240 kilometers away at the top of Mt. Koscuiszko. This trip made the New York Times. [3]


[0] seldomlogical, ‛Rules and resolutions‛, Rule #1 Nobody gets left behind [Last Accesse:d Monday 26th March, 2012]

[1] flickr, Images, stories, ‛Read more about Moose and ‛Renewin’ Strathewen’’ [Last Accessed: Monday 26th March, 2012]

[2] flickr, Image, ‛Some of the specialist kit I carried’ [Last Accessed: Monday 26th March, 2012]

[3] Meraiah Foley, New York Times, ‛Some See a Housing Bubble Down Under’, April 14, 2010 [Last Accessed: Monday 26th March, 2012]


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