Making the Final Choice on Katahdin
Doug lives near Paul, working at a half dozen things at once, including building solar homes. Page went back to college, and in two years will be a veterinarian. Bob stopped climbing soon after the storm, his heart no longer in it; but he stayed active in the outdoors, continuing to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Michael lives in western Maine where he is an educator. He also leads outing club expeditions, where his goal among others is to show young people they can persevere, no matter what the circumstances.
They say there will always be traces of guilt in having left, yet they acknowledge there was nothing else they could have done. Bob Proudman looks his questioner in the face and asks, “What would you have done?”
They are the survivors of a night without heroes, though surviving that storm may be heroic enough; for the storm cut short all choices but the final one, between life and death – choices for which no rules exist, not for them, not for any of us on mountains of our own, in storms we cannot foresee, storms that catch us with no warning.
Yankee classic from February 1980