seven summits – everest
This letter and painting commerate the multiyear effort of my friend Dave Mauro to climb the highest peaks of each continent including the ultimate one – Everest. He was gracious enough to sign this pigeon for me after coming home from Everest. Interestingly I painted a very similar painting of two climbers working their way upward… for his earlier climb of Vinson in Antarctica. Alas, a fellow climber admired the letter and Dave just up and gave it to him ! So I lost that pigeon completely : ) But I got some good karma,,,,,, Dave is officially listed as climber #387 to have completed all summits. He is a wonderful guy to be around….. full of energy and optimism. Just by interacting with him you get what I call an “immunization” which powers you along for a couple of weeks with his approach to life. If you could spend 10 minutes with this guy, you would just feel the energy radiating off of him. He has written a book about his climbs titled The Altitude Journals Plain Vermin Publishing 2017. I have read it cover to cover and it is a thrilling read— moves alot nicely but with a lot of emotion and insight. I highly recommend it !! Dave also couriered other pigeons for me including some on Elbrus for which he took a taxi into town to mail my stamps and get some toothpaste.
Visually in this painting —- I tried hard to convey the steepness but could not portray the lack of oxygen which would add tremendously to the feel of the steepness.
The left side of the envelope lists the seven summits of each continent and the year that Dave climbed them.
postmarked the day of him summiting Everest – May 20, 2013
AN EMAIL EXCHANGE:
Name: Dave Mauro
Comments: Hi Bruce! I very much enjoyed clicking through your site. I can tell you are having a lot of fun with it. Your art is so affecting and approachable, and your vehicle so unique that I have to imagine many others will likewise appreciate the effort you’ve put into this. Many thanks! Dave P.S. Thank you for the kind write-up that accompanies my photo and stamp.
Thank you Dave for allowing me to include your picture. It adds a lot to the value of the painting because it will slow people down who are clicking along at internet speed and they will go …..wait…wait…….who is this guy ??? and they will reread the description of you, then look again at the stamp……but this time they will see Dave struggling upward one step at a time on a steep, seemingly endless slope, postholing a bit ….with a storm building in the skies,the wind howling, the summit – out of sight above, safety – out of sight below, alone in his thoughts (if any) on a rope at altitude struggling for breath, fighting off quitting. It is one of my finest images, iconic……. like the penguins capturing the Zodiac. A snapshot from your life and alpine, big peak climbers.
BTW: the climber I gave that pigeon to in Antarctica was Neal Beidleman of Into Thin Air fame. A junior Guide at the time, he is credited with saving several lives that fateful day. Not sure if this merits inclusion in your post but I thought it might interest mountaineers.
All the best, Dave