I knew Matt wanted to hike up the glacier, to feel the cold creep into his boots and to peer into the frightening ice chasms. And I knew he wanted to go there with me. The St. Elias Range looms beyond Kennicott, swathed in enormous sheets of ice and towering over the clouds and the birds and most bush planes at eighteen thousand feet high. It’s big enough to create its own weather, and mountaineers have come back from three-week trips with stories of white-outs and avalanches when it’s still summer in McCarthy. One day, as Matt and I stood at the bar smashing blood-bloated mosquitoes onto our forearms, I asked him on a date.
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