The vision of Mallory, questing repeatedly for the summit of Everest, which became his cenotaph, his immortality, disappearing into the mists at its peak, drove me deeper into the cirque at the base of the pyramidical summit, Mt. Rideout, which dominates the skyline to the south of Sunshine Valley, opening a vista which to my young mind encapsulated all of human achievement and desire.
If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. - Mallory.
Here, at the base of Mt. Rideout, If you listened with care, one was taken by the sheer weight of the deafening sound of silence. This was a window to those deep wells of rapture and awe whereby one becomes acutely aware of senses and perception that escape normal existence. Long are the hours that, in my mind, I plotted the course up its flanks. In winter, to stand here was to be among the abode of the gods, soft snow falling in silent reverie.
The path to and from the great cirque, this Narrow Road to the Deep North (Basho) was as though made for the wandering monk, who, staff in hand, sought enlightenment one footstep at a time. The sound of the roaring waters of the mighty Sumallo accompanies one for much of the way, before leaving one in silence at the gateway to the cirque. Waterfalls appear, under which in summer I would take cold meditative showers with my friends, as did, I imagined, the ancients.
Basho wrote of the ineffable quality which runs through the great artists of his day; the painters, the poets, a common thread he identified as the experience of man living in accordance with the four seasons. Something he called Fuga.
One cannot venture out into these places and remain unchanged, because one has touched the hand of god, has become a little more human, has come a little closer to understanding truth, the purpose of existence, and, thus effected, is ready to radiate that inarticulate message to all he encounters through sheer presence alone.