National Geographic : 2003 Jul
problem. Mindful of all the factors, Tom told us that hi goal was to reach the top of the third mountain in 1 hours, 30 minutes, more than an hour faster than Tean Perkins had ever finished before. Kelvin objected. Thai was too ambitious even for the experienced members of the team, he said, not to mention the rookie climber from America. As all eyes turned to me, I admitted sheepishly that my goal was to finish in 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds-and I wasn't sure I could make that. For a moment, I feared a nasty trans-Atlantic con tretemps. But that tough Chippenham crew proved to be adept at international diplomacy. Over prodigious quantities of beer, we worked out a mutually satisfac tory modus ascendi: The selfless Kelvin volunteered to form a sub-team with me. We would start up Ben Nevis a couple of hours earlier than the others, so as not to hold them back. On the following two mountains, we'd work out a similar accommodation. ist PHOTOGRAPHER'S NOTES I Was trying to get some rest on the van's floor. I wasn't succeed ing. Perhaps I was thinking about whether I'd ever get another assignment from the GEOGRAPHIC, considering that the high point of coverage so far involved getting a shot of a guy throwing up, and another of two guys peeing by the side of the road.