To an Athlete Dying Young
I CELEBRATED AFTER reading Eric Hagerman's profile of Babu Chiri Sherpa ("He Ain't Your Sherpa," April). Just now I reread it, with a great lump in my chest, after learning that Babu's body was recovered from a crevasse outside Camp II. I first met Babu at Everest Base Camp in April 1998. Well aware of Babu's great reputation, my trekking partners and I asked him to stand with us for photos, a request he honored with a great smile, and then surprised us by asking for another picture using his own camera. I will never forget his beaming smile, his shy laugh, and his eagerness to help everyone around him. The world has lost an extraordinary man.
READING ABOUT a man with hopes for his people's future, and then reading soon afterward that he had passed away, reminds me how fleeting even heroism can be. Babu climbed to the highest point this earth had to offer, and now he has climbed to an even higher plane.
I ENJOYED YOUR history of monkeywrenching. But to say Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang "romanticizes ecoterrorism" is pretty misleading. There's a big difference between terrorism and sabotage. Abbey took great pains to point out the difference: "Sabotage is an act of force or violence against property or machinery in which life is not endangered, or should not be. Terrorism, on the other hand, is violence against living things." Terrorism is the last act Cactus Ed would have advocated.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I ADMIT IT. Reading your May issue I had to get the dictionary and look up "sangfroid" and "scrofulous." Where else can I enrich my word power while following Mark Jenkins to Ethiopia in pursuit of the elusive ibex or searching with Bryan Di Salvatore for trees full of shoes? What better way to gain insight into the lives of guides in the Simen Mountains or rogues at Bob's Biker Bar? For me, there is nowhere but Outside.
Hobe Sound, Florida
THREE CHEERS for Walter Ritte and his cohorts in their efforts to preserve Molokai's Hawaiian identity ("Arrested Development," May). I have visited five of the Hawaiian islands over the past seven years. Of them all, Molokai remains the most undeveloped, natural, and breathtakingly beautiful. Hawaii surely does not need another Honolulu.
ABOUT YOUR report on George W. Bush's environmental agenda, "The New Wild Order" (Dispatches, April): I am an avid lover of the outdoors and a conservation-minded citizen. The people who slam the president drive cars (oil and greenhouse gases), enjoy air-conditioning (ozone depletion), and put disposable diapers on their kids (landfill issues). When will these hypocrites wake up, stop complaining, and offer real solutions?
Wilmington, North Carolina
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To an Athlete Dying Young