the Clamb, anus clenching adventure

Vincentoli Blanteev
Half Ass Expedition Guide

and G. Mount Da Gomerly


In ancient white trash writings the White Mountains are referred to as the power of all life. A weird fluke of weather history, in 1998 a weather pattern powered by El Nino blasted into the Great White North, and left behind destruction and broken dreams in it's wake.

In the early days of January, 1998, the nastiest ice storm since the blizzard of '78 blew into Maine and eastern Canada and lingered for more than a week. Twenty some-odd men and women, according to newspaper accounts, could not make it safely thru the storm, a storm that the HAE mountaineers were battling to get out safely from their high-altitude camp. Their hiking plans were not held up due to weather predictions, HAE was out bagging Mount Abrahams as the storm theater opened across a broad front of arctic air hitting warmed and moisture laden southern air. In virtual great white-north land, battered by gale-force winds strong enough to blow the president's cigar, the climbers stoked for their lives.

The two member HAE team have been caught in the Retch Zone, the elevations above 4000 ft. where this year the extended exposure to 100% humidity with sub-zero temperature zones with that special hae party scheme combine to killer levels, quickly.

As the climbers fought to stay party alive, they were often trashed to only seeing an arms length. Sometimes there were signs to secure and guide them. The level gauges on their booze tanks fell to zero, and the raging confusion of a heavy duty party began to conquer most rational arguments. The foretelling numbness of brain frost pushed the possibilities of lobotomies from the remoteness of a TV screen onto the perceptions of reality. In the dark and the screaming howl of Maine arctic wilderness the climbers began to bargain. My haebar for some dry socks? Fair enough; just let me piss this one quick.

Below the descent of the climbers, in a high-attitude camp later they were struggling to maintain any semblance of a party, an hae-mountianeer and cybah-spaced guide was fighting his own battle; yell-hurling, stumbling around like trash out of the trailer, pleading with other climbers to assist him in an effort to rescue what he thought was left on the mountain; lost above, in the storm.

Guanni Vincentoli Blanteev made a decision, one that some would later call quasi-moto lunatical. He decided to attempt to resuscitate a previously discussed foray into blasting the entire mountain cache once and for all, into the raging storm solo, into a pleating of blasting snow, into a lacerated landscape cut by the roar of "military jets screaming overhead" Blanteev's effort resulted in what the mountaineer and webmaster Timothy A. Novak would later call "one of the most amazing tales of half-ass adventure ever in the history of half-assed adventure!"

Right in the middle of the storm of '98, Blanteev travelled from Kingfield Maine to Redwood City, California where he hung out with some friends to recover from the ordeal by driving directly for the brew pubs of Palo Alto. Upon arriving he knew he would often have to transfer information to me, his nemesis keyboard conscience. Appearing at random hours late in the night, only to the glow of monitors, I have arranged for the disposition of reality to be twisted into the electronic domain with the utmost of distortion and entropy inducing noise.

Guanni Vincentoli Blanteev
Guanni Vincentoli Blanteev

I have seen .gif and .jpeg files of Blanteev that had been taken over past years expeditions. Lanky, red-faced, with a piercing gaze is how he normally walks around. His eyes reach out slowly to greet as he walks into the room. As he sits down to knock out my screensaver my digital vision scans his eyes. They are intense as if distantly lost in thought. Behind those eyes a it would appear that a complex dimensional multi-tasking array of information and thought were being executed in high speed real-time computation, yet only a small fraction of that computational load committed to the task of perceiving reality. He was distant, as if he'd had to move to keep what little attention he had from getting away.

Something about him was familiar - the disconnected vacancy- the eyes. As he tapped out on my keyboard I made the connection: in my memory a downloaded photo of the doughnut squad sitting in the passenger seats of a blue-light covered vehicle, a box of Happy D's cradled in greasy hands. He had the same look in his eyes, warning away any attempt to request a doughnut. It had been a disturbing download, not so much for the casualness with which photos are posted on the web, as for the uninterested stare he wore on his face.

Over the keyboard we talked. My attempts to revive my college Bostonian were useless, so Blanteev spoke English, fluid and understandable enough, but at an extremely rapid rate. He wanted to talk about Maine, not to tell his story, but to inquire out loud what had happened. He was trying to understand what he had just been talking about.

The next day he was on the keyboard again, and then the next, and the next we continued to communicate. Blanteev was having dreams at night, disturbing dreams about being lost in Maine in January, knowing that he had to get booze up to stranded partyers whom he could never find. He never keyboarded those dreams, but he did write about what had happened in Maine, how the HAE team got to the mountain, how he left in the first days in January. His stories were dramatically told and embellished. A brewed pot of hot toddies had far more rhetorical weight than being lost in the wilderness. I appreciated his forthrightness, his endless keyboard responses to my questions that were increasingly difficult and detailing. We began to save our work to tape-backup.

In early June 1998, Blanteev directed me to collaborate on this web page. I was interested sure, but as I signed on, I already knew I wanted range beyond his own experience and ask detailed questions. The idea of fully detailing everything appealed to his sense of completeness. He knew some pieces, but was missing others. For his own reason he was curious as I was to exactly how the HAE team stayed alive for a week of brutal Maine arctic winter.

Blanteev contributed his personal notes, maps, expedition logs and endless memories. He regained the twenty bucks he'd lost on Mt. Abrahams; the smiles returned as he typed away. I took it all into my digital memory, and have downloaded web news reports about those who did not survive the great Northeast storm of 1998. With the help of html coding, Gigabit hard drives, and gui software, and through the endless intervening levels of Quest, we have assembled this tale of...THE CLAMB.

- G. Mount Da Gomery, Redwood City, California

Chapter 1, Half Ass Expeditions... CLICK HERE

Copyright 2000 John Bellantoni