Climbing Rainier with Venture Capitalists

Spoiler alert: We got weathered off near the summit. Before then, however, I got to experience what it’s like to be high on a volcano with Silicon Valley rain makers who prefer the awkwardness of asking if any one has an extra blue bag (for excrement) to schmoozing over chicken-on-a-stick at an office park on Sand Hill Road. Rather than witness that the birth of a company between a funder and entrepreneur roped up together, I instead eavesdropped on an a more painful decision: it was time to cut their losses and put a company down. Most importantly for me, I met photographer Pete McBride on this trip. Pete/Peter/Pedro had energy to burn at altitude, became the life of the climbing party, and his best work was still ahead of him. Among his far-ranging and superb camera work, two of my favorite projects are his stills from Antarctica like this one, and the film Delta Dawn, about the Colorado. Pete and Kevin Fedarko did a tremendous job, too, reporting together on the Sherpa who establish the route through the Khumbu Ice Fall on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest each Spring. Oh, and one more thing: my editor Jay Stowe wrote the last line (along, I’m certain, with any of the other better lines in this one). He couldn’t reach me to read it to me before press time because I was in Ryder truck crossing into Oklahoma, having quit Outside, or at least it’s Santa Fe office, for New York. So, it’s true: I quit—but not to lead the mountain life one might suspect from Jay’s kicker.