Nisqually – A Short Story

I pour my soul out to the mountain and all of my nothingness overflows down my cheeks until I am certain I am empty.

Down here in the crevasse, it is a still chill, and each drop burns a trail. The pain is at least a feeling, which I have very little of now. My legs are utterly numb and twisted below me, and all I can feel in my fingers is a light tingling. I’m not sure if I’ve been here minutes or hours. The blue glow is diffuse and I can’t see the sky.

All I know is that I’m screwed.

Solo alpinist climbing accidents are not resuces, they are recoveries.

Besides my mangled legs, I’m fairly certain that I’ve broken my back and I have no idea where my ice axe is. I can’t reach my boots. Hauling myself up with only my pocketknife and titanium spork seems as hopeless as it sounds.

Given where I’m at, I’ll likely be recovered in a decade or so when I pop out of the face of the glacier.

There are two options for me. I debate myself.

It’s a tie.

I don’t like that result, so I struggle to retrieve the first aid kit from my pack. It’s hard. It’s in the top, behind my head. My hands are trembling. I don’t know if it’s from the cold or the trauma. Probably both.

I fish for my canteen. Gone.


I dig through the kit and find what I’m looking for. The bottle. Ten pills. Perc-10s. For emergency use only.

This qualifies.

My feeble hands almost drop it trying to get a pill out.

I check my watch and then dry-swallow one. I think of my family. Of summer days swimming in the lake together. Birthdays. Smiles. Laughter. Tears. Love.

My time is slowing down in its rush to the end. Five minutes pass, and I swallow one more and then another, which I almost choke on because my throat is suddenly dry.

A note! I should leave a note!

I can’t reach the part of the pack with my notebook. I weep again for an age.

I check the time. I’m very woozy. It’s time.

I swallow each remaining pill in turn, and in time, the river swallows me.

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