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Book details
  • Genre:DRAMA
  • SubGenre:American / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:200
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667821801

Gray Skies and Blue Ice

by Alan Ewert

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A tragic mountaineering accident has occurred on Mt. Forbidden involving five climbers—four of whom were swept to their deaths in a deep crevasse high on the mountain. The fifth climber, the lone survivor Charlie, made it down to safety, but no one knew he had deliberately caused the accident. On his return to the mountain lodge below, Charlie came to realize his critical mistake, leaving behind a crucial piece of incriminating evidence at the site where the others met their brutal deaths. As the tragic events unfold, two of the deceased climbers' close friends, Elizabeth and Eric, decide to take on the arduous task of climbing Mt. Forbidden in order to reach the crevasse and bring a sense of closure surrounding the loss of their friends forever entombed in the blue ice. When Charlie learns of Eric and Elizabeth's intentions to climb to the site, he insists on going with them in a frantic effort to recover the evidence of his murderous deed. As the sky becomes gray and darkens, the climbers must confront an approaching storm looming on the mountain, as well as Elizabeth and Eric's growing apprehensions that their companion's intention for joining them may be dangerously riddled with lies and deceptions. While Charlie feels certain he can cover up his duplicitous actions, Mt. Forbidden deals him a fate he had not anticipated.
Gray Skies and Blue Ice is set on the beautiful yet challenging mountain of Mt. Forbidden, one of the highest peaks in the state of Oregon. Heavily glaciated with steep snow slopes and unpredictable weather, the summit of Mt. Forbidden represents a prize sought after by mountain climbers around the world. Four such climbers, accompanied by their guide Steve Ague, battled an incoming storm to reach the summit and then experienced a horrifying accident while crossing a crevasse via a snow bridge. The snow bridge collapsed and the guide, as well as three of the climbers perished from the fall. A fourth climber, Charlie Bronson, managed to survive the accident, but his miraculous escape was anything but luck or coincidence. One member of the climbing team that perished, Ed Novak, was the CEO of a new start-up company that developed web-based apps for a wide range of applications. As a project leader with that company, Charlie knew that Novak was beginning to suspect him of committing fraud and anticipated being charged with a crime upon returning from the trip, hence Ed Novak had to be eliminated. The others were considered collateral damage. After the "unfortunate" climbing accident, Charlie felt confident when he descended to the mountain lodge, knowing he had eliminated his main accuser of his unethical and illegal deeds. But what Charlie started to realize, as he climbed downward, preparing mentally for his version of the terrible incident, was that he had left behind a crucial piece of incriminating evidence at the edge of the crevasse. As information regarding the accident started to percolate among the media and families of the lost climbers, Eric Jackson and Elizabeth Atterly, friends of two of the deceased climbers, began the long drive up to Mt. Forbidden to collect any personal effects they left behind. They met at the lodge and after much soul-searching decided to try to climb Mt. Forbidden and dedicate that climb to their loved ones. Realizing that they needed training to safely achieve that task, they hired a guide, Curt Whitmeyer, to teach them the necessary climbing skills in order to reach the crevasse and summit high up on the mountain. Following their training weekend, they agreed to meet two weeks later and attempt their climb to the summit. In the meantime, the incriminating evidence carelessly left behind by Charlie Bronson started to gnaw at him. He decided to get back up to the crevasse and get it himself before anyone else discovered it and started asking questions. After finding out that Elizabeth and Eric were going to climb up to the crevasse he convinced them to let him become part of the climbing team, and somehow retrieve his evidence. The first day of the climb, their guide had to pull out at the last minute, leaving Elizabeth, Eric and Charlie to proceed without him. Before leaving, the guide mentioned that there might be a storm approaching on the mountain in two days' time, and they should try to be up and down before it arrived. Their first night was spent at a level campsite just below a steep rock rib. Getting through the rocky rib meant that the climbers would have to wind their way through a narrow gap in the rib before reaching their high camp at around 9000 feet. At high camp the group decided they should get to the crevasse and if possible, attempt to climb to the summit as a means of dedication to their lost loved ones. Summit day brought thickening clouds indicating that a storm front might be approaching. Nevertheless, the group made the decision to go for the crevasse and, if possible, the summit. As the weather deteriorates, they delicately crossed a snow bridge to reach the crevasse and took a moment to acknowledge their friends entombed below. Even with the increasing intensity of the storm the group decided to try for the summit. Eric was tied into the front of the rope and as he started up, he noticed a small piece of metal protruding from the snow. It was the picket that Charl
About the author
Alan Ewert has climbed in peaks around the world including Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Tibet, Nepal, Europe, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. He has also been an outdoor instructor for organization such as Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and Wilderness Inquiry. He is co-owner of a mountain guide company called Alpenglow Educational Consultants, LLD.