There is closure only because the woman dies in a climbing accident, but how awful must it be to be the wife that has to play the modern day Penelope while Wickwire unsuccessfully chases his Circe, and then goes and tells the world about it?
That Wickwire is an older climber offers an interesting perspective on the sport and attitudes through the years. If you are addicted to addicted to danger or climbing books, pick this up.
Jim Wickwire writes that the title of his memoir, Addicted to Danger, came to him as he recalled his repeated promises to stop climbing and his inability to follow through, despite small children at home and the deaths of several companions. He writes that falling made him a more careful climber, but "also left me with a heightened attraction to danger." So perhaps it isn't surprising that despite his close call on Mount Rainier, Wickwire became consumed with the desire to climb higher mountains. Stung by the criticism, Wickwire decided to do an extraordinary climb to "shut the critics up." This was the genesis of his decision to attempt to climb Mount McKinley in 1976 by a new route, solo. He decided his wife was right, doing the solo climb was an ego trip, and putting his life at such gret risk when he had five small children at home "was incredibly irresponsible and utterly foolish." Nonetheless, when he was invited to join the 1978 American expedition to K2, he eagerly accepted, racing home euphoric to throw his arms around his wife in celebration. He decided to get ready by climbing Mount McKinley by a new route up the Wickersham Wall. Again, Wickwire says he decided to stop climbing: "From now on I would live differently, my priorities would change -- I owed it to those I loved." He even went so far as to tell his wife he was going to withdraw from the Everest expedition. On that expedition, he met and started to fall in love with a young female climber, Marty Hoey, "the most competent woman climber I had ever known." Hoey, who was also a member of the 1982 Everest expedition, would end up being Wickwire's climbing partner on that trip, in his eyes, Chris Kerrebrock's "logical successor." At 26,000 feet, Wickwire was going to take some rope to two companions slightly higher up. After this, Wickwire says he once again considered calling it quits, but "in spite of Marty' death, I did not expect to look back on the expedition with negative feelings." Although he did not summit, he felt that "we had given it all we had." In 1984, Naomi Uemura, a famous Japanese climber and adventurer, and a close friend of Wickwire, died on Mount McKinley after having climbed it solo in winter. Also in that year, Wickwire again attempted unsuccessfully to climb Mount Everest. A year later, one of Wickwire's law partners was murdered, together with his wife and two children, and Wickwire began to think about death and risk once again. Nonetheless, when asked to join an Everest expedition set for 1993, and secretly decided return to climbing.
Like other mountain climbing books I've read, I'm again shocked by the risks and tragedies that occur.