1-CoverStarShine

Preface

The following is a narrative of the first ascent of the ice flow down the North face of Whiteside Mountain in Western North Carolina, now famous as the route "Starshine." It is now ice climbing history in the Southeast because the route has been repeated many times and is a must to do among today’s ice climbers. The route is written up in the American Alpine Club publication and other guide books and has been the subject of a story in the magazine "Rock and Ice." This narrative gives a nostalgic picture of the state of ice climbing in the Southeast in 1978. The three men that put up the route first had quite a struggle with a climb that is today, although one of great challenge and exposure, expected to be routine for competent climbers.

The first ascent of Starshine lasted all day in part through stormy conditions and was completed after dark under clear star studded skies. The starlight was reflected back at the climbers in the ice. The climbers enjoyed a sweet celebration that night and the next morning after a giant breakfast returned to the mountain to retrieve their gear. One of the men slipped at the bottom of the ice-fall and fell two hundred feet to his death. The impact and details of the entire climb, triumph, and the tragedy of the next day are set forth in this narrative. The narrative includes a number of other descriptions of the state of ice climbing in the Southeast at that time and it is the story of these three men’s relationship, hopes, fears, past achievements and plans for the future.

This narrative was set down by one of the climbers over about a year following the events. He used his and his surviving partner’s journals and his memory of the then recent events to get it down with great accuracy and attention to detail. ┬áThe other surviving climber was at the time of the climb a member of the American Alpine Club in recognition of the many pioneering climbs he had already made, including a solo ascent to tile "Death Bivouac" on the North Face of the Eiger.