This is a trilogy about three separate epic climbs. Climbs that are difficult enough by themselves, but were made more grueling by the common thread of life-threatening heat. The insidious sun sucking energy, water, and even your willpower from a well-conditioned man made the hard climbs a more arduous task. Included in these stories are many other true-to-life adventures and narrow escapes for the author. Three Days of the Condor talks about camaraderie and the accomplishment of doing something difficult that few could accomplish. According to Jeff Lowe, “There is a certain purity in engaging in what some would call a useless activity. When the climber confronts the overhang, he does so with the knowledge that no material gain will result from the competition of the task. He is confident that when he is done, the satisfaction will outweigh the effort.” I have always returned to the mountains for introspection. It must be at least partially genetic for man to seek the “high ground,” for protection, exploration, or an attempt at communion with a higher power. Occasionally, the only reason is “because it’s there,” but even Mallory expanded on this when he explained, “It is the struggle of life itself, forever upward. What we get from this adventure is sheer joy.” But if we can look down on ourselves from above, from the proverbial mountaintop, often we may be more objectiveif not more rational. The ensuing vignettes recount the pursuit of my pilgrimage, my coming-of-age. It seemed like my endeavor for the exceptional view, and my own independencetruly a phenomenal golden period in my life. I learned how I felt about my own survival when on many of those summits. In these stories I strive to return to those times and mountains, in search of truth on the rocky temples. This is the visionary perspective I seek. These accounts of rock climbing are more than about climbing rocksit is about that one thing in life that truly sets you free.
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About the Author
Randy Lippincott was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska. He attended a one-room country schoolhouse until the ninth grade. Lippincott was trained as a Special Forces medic in the Army during the Vietnam War era. He started skydiving in 1969 and made one thousand free falls (both demonstration and competition) in Europe while serving with the Seventh Army Parachute Team, 1971–72. Lippincott began flying airplanes when he was sixteen years old and has been at it for forty-seven years. He took a four-year hiatus from orthopedic surgery in Alaska and flew five thousand hours as a bush pilot. His initial operating experience was flying with Ryan Air out of Kotzebue, Alaska, on the Bering Sea the winter of 1989. Ultimately, he earned his multiengine airline transport pilot certificate. After moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, Randy started downhill skiing in 1974. His first NASTAR medal was bronze that same year. He earned a silver medal in 2002 and gold in 2008. His fastest recorded downhill speed was 66.3 mph; greatest cumulative total for one day documented on his Epic Pass was 61,668 vertical feet in 2013. Randy started rock and ice climbing in the Wasatch Range during the 1970s with Terry Loboschefsky. He graduated from the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program in 1976 when it was a pilot program. Later he went back and earned his BS in health science from the University of Utah in 1982 and a master’s in 1999 from the University of Nebraska. His other interests are sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, fly-fishing, hunting, shooting, reloading, mountain biking, rollerblading, photography, cross-country skiing, and flying throughout Alaska and the intermountain west.