From the darkness of a six foot by eight foot cell in solitary confinement to the top of the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, this is the captivating story of one man’s struggle to recover from a troubled past.
Charlie is known to his friends as an accomplished mountain climber and entertaining storyteller, retired from a successful career as a software consultant. Few know the story of his childhood, filled with neglect and abuse. Fewer still realize that he spent seven years of his youth in the shadow of juvenile detention and prison.
After relegating those painful memories to a place far from his current life, Charlie is confronted with his past as he tries to enter Canada for an ice climbing vacation with friends.
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” the Canadian Border Services Officer inquired. “No,” I responded with a straight face and sweaty palms. “Are you sure you’ve never been convicted of a felony?” he repeated. “Not since 1955,” I admitted, guiltily. So began my journey back in time to a place I thought I had forever left behind.
Charlie faces his past once again, finding strength in his unconquerable spirit, unique sense of humor, and the focus he’s found through his passion for mountaineering. He takes you from the tenements and alleys of pre-World War II Chicago through jails, reformatories, and the hell that was prison. From solitary confinement to the jungles of the Amazon, the heights of the Himalayas, the isolation of the desert Southwest, and many points in between. His story will move you, entertain you, frustrate you, and ultimately inspire you to turn the dark shadows of life into the triumphant shadows cast by the mountains you climb — whatever form they may take. Continue reading