Guided by Voices

JUST FINISHED your April issue and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading all the stories Brad Wetzler compiled for "Base Camp Confidential," part of your "True Everest" special. I've never been there and I probably never will, but your magazine fills a need for traveling to high places like Mount Everest. Keep up the good work!
Vance Boeve
Nederland, Colorado

I ENJOYED your recent Everest retrospective. It brought back many fond memories. However, I was upset by your caption for one of my photographs. It shows Stacy Allison, Geoff Tabin, "and friend" at Base Camp in 1988. The "friend" in the photo is Peggy Luce (now Peggy Luce Gudgell), the second American woman to summit Mount Everest. Peggy reached the top on October 2, 1988, three days after Stacy. Through the silly American emphasis of rewarding only the very first, Stacy has gone on to fame and Peggy, late by three days, to obscurity.
Geoff "Zany" Tabin
Burlington, Vermont

Rules of Thumb

MARK JENKINS'S "Universal Guide to Hitchhiking" (The Hard Way, April) was an inspiring piece of writing and a powerful social commentary. I spent last year traveling abroad in Israel, where hitchhiking is the cultural norm. In a smaller country where everyone seems to know everyone else, it's rude to pass by somebody on the side of the road. I'm not sure what happened here in the States that took hitchhiking out of fashion, but it is a shame. Jenkins left a glimmer of hope out there on the interstate for those of us who are happy with being a trusted confidant, or with just getting a good lift.
Zach Geller
Medford, Massachusetts

Feet, Don't Fail

BEING A RESIDENT of the Northwest, I enjoyed Nick Heil's piece on ski mountaineering in my neck of the woods ("The Ring of Fire" package, March). I got all antsy reading it, as spring is here and the volcanoes are starting to go through their freeze-thaw cycle—in other words, corn production is revving up. But about the Review section, I have to say I've never had a problem climbing in telemark boots. Square toes kick a fine step when it's firm, and I've had no trouble using crampons with my telly boots. And given my status as a mere mortal, I doubt I wouldn't want to ski down anything I had to front-point up.
Will Kelley
Eugene, Oregon

Low Tech, High Times

CHARLES MCGRATH'S article, "Knocking off Tuckerman Ravine" (Field Notes, April), brought back memories from my first ski trip to Tuckerman, when I was a kid in high school in the midsixties. Using an army-surplus frame designed for light artillery, I rigged a backpack so I could lash on a rucksack, boots, and a pair of 205 Kneissel Red Stars. Like Charles McGrath, my brother and I were fueled by our dad's reminiscences about the headwall and making that first turn after going over the lip. Your story brings to mind the days when alpine skiing had more to do with mountaineering than with fashion and status. To quote the great Warren Miller: "Back then my face was smooth and my pants were baggy. Now my face is baggy and my pants are smooth."
Chris Knight
Allendale, New Jersey

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