Have no doubts, go higher

  • When in Doubt, Go Higher cover scan

  To have lived in the highlands has rendered the lowlands incomplete. My intellect rebels at such thoughts, but in my heart I feel it to be true. I am inflated by the mountain. Tendrils of perfection reach out from my past, usurping the present.

Randy LaChapelle
When In Doubt, Go Higher


I opened When In Doubt, Go Higher, a collection of essays from the Frisco, Colo.-based monthly magazine, The Mountain Gazette, rather reluctantly. I assumed the essays would be by testosterone-laden, muscle-headed mountain climbers, who write about things like what it’s like to gnaw your own toes off while trapped underneath a snowbank with only a headlamp and a mitten, after having attempted a solo ascent of some mountain I’ve never heard of.

Alas, I was wrong. The vast majority of stories reprinted in this anthology are written by people who weave great tales with self-deprecating good humor and a journalist’s eye for detail. And actually — though the Gazette’s editor, M. John Fayhee, might disagree — this is an anthology of love stories: love found on a ferry from Seattle, a love of high places and cold mountains, a love of the West and its freakshow litany of characters.

When In Doubt, Go Higher includes musings by many of the usual suspects in the Western canon, such as Ed Abbey, Galen Rowell, Doug Peacock, Katie Lee and John Nichols. But a handful of lesser-known writers are tossed in, and my favorite chapters include Lacey Storey’s ode to her high-altitude romps in Summit County and Jack Aley’s “Confessions of a Sauna Junkie.”

Even though Fayhee jokes in the introduction that his plan for the book was to “bind up all 80-some-odd issues of the Gazette, slap a huge pricetag upon the volume and proceed to rake in vast quantities of praise and money,” he actually has edited a thoughtful — and adventurous — anthology of stories about the West.

When In Doubt, Go Higher
edited by M. John Fayhee
355 pages, softcover. $20. Sports Press, 2002
High Country News Classifieds
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
  • HISTORIC HOTEL & CAFE
    For Sale, 600k, Centennial Wyoming, 6 suites plus 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. www.themountainviewhotel.com Make this your home or buy a turn key hotel [email protected]
  • MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Major Gifts Officer to join our...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.